Wednesday, April 13, 2016

#Phenology update: blossoms and birds and...

The roadsides on the way to the launch area in William O'Brien state park showed no signs of marsh marigolds yesterday. Nor bloodroot, nor any other wildflower I might recognize. The St. Croix River is running bank full plus or minus. With the warmth forecast for the rest of this week, and a little help from some rain drops, things should start popping from the ground soon.

sandhill cranes in corn stubble
sandhill cranes in corn stubble
Photo by J. Harrington

I saw some of the first local farmers working their fields as I was on my way back from Stillwater. Several of the corn stubbled fields had pairs or small flocks of foraging sandhill cranes. Others had a few Canada geese gleaning whatever they could find. The signs of Spring (such as it is) in Minnesota are growing by the day. (pun intended) I hope you can arrange you life to get out and enjoy some of this all to rare warming Springtime and watch the buds burst into blossoms for bees.

a tank full of trout parr
a tank full of trout parr
Photo by J. Harrington

When I was in grammar school, back in the previous millennium, we never had anything as cool as a fish tank in our classrooms. In fact, I recall the nun's fussing about lilac bouquets in May because they made everyone sleepy. The photo above is of a tankful of trout parr that are part of Trout Unlimited's Trout in the Classroom program. I was a helper again yesterday as we went through fish species, emphasis on trout, fishing regulations and fly casting and knot-tying lessons. Doing what little I can to help overcome nature deficit disorder is a real pleasure. Trout Unlimited also teams up in Minnesota with Pheasants Forever to offer T.U.N.E Summer camp for youth ages 11 - 17. It includes archery, fly-fishing and conservation. As far as I'm concerned, something like that beats wallet-making any day.


By Kathryn Starbuck

I do my best
to keep pointlessness
at bay. But here,
wet above my
knees, I let it fly.
Here, hot and cold,
fingers thick with
thinking, I try to
tie the fly and look
for the net, loosening
the philosophical   
knot of why I came
here today, not yet
knowing whether
I’ll free or fry
the rainbows
and browns once
they’re mine.

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