Friday, February 10, 2017

Discovering the Minnesota #Phenology Network

It's nineteen days until the March 1 beginning of meteorological Spring. The weather forecast for the next ten days has daytime highs above freezing for 9 of those days. I hereby concede both Phil and I were wrong about six more weeks of Winter in the southern half of Minnesota. (The way this year has been going, I now am likely to have to apologize for a slew of "unseasonable" blizzards and ice storms during the first six weeks of Spring.)

Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebird
Photo by J. Harrington

If you don't mind, I'm going to use this space off and on over the next week or so to explore the intricacies of becoming an observer in/for the Minnesota Phenology Network, which is affiliated or partners with the USA Phenology Network. It may be past time to bring a little more rigor and structure to my phenological observations. Who knows, it may even lead me to turn over a new leaf and, perhaps, even look under some rocks in a local trout stream.

The Minnesota Phenology Network is interested particularly in these seven species:

  • Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

  • Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

  • Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)

  • Common Loon (Gavia immer)

  • Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)

  • Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)

  • Tamarack (Larix larcina)

Ruby-Throated hummingbird, male
Ruby-Throated hummingbird, male
Photo by J. Harrington

Common loons are heard around here only very rarely; monarchs are occasionally seen on our milkweed; ruby-throated hummingbirds often arrive at our feeders; red maples grow on the property and bluebirds use our nesting box. Common lilac and tamarack grow in profusion nearby. That seems to leave us in pretty good shape for species of interest.

Next time we'll explore participating in Nature's Notebook, a project of the USA  Phenology Network. I'm a little nervous about this because, since I joined a herpetology network to report seeing a rare snake, I've not seen many snakes or turtles around here.

The Bluebird 

Charles Bukowski 

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I'm not going
to let anybody see
you. 
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
he's
in there. 
there's a bluebird in my heart that .
wants to get out.
but I'm too tough for him,.
I say,.
stay down, do you want to mess.
me up?
you want to screw up the.
works?
you want to blow my book sales in .
Europe? 
there's a bluebird in my heart that.
wants to get out
but I'm too clever, I only let him out.
at night sometimes.
when everybody's asleep..
I say, I know that you're there,.
so don't be
sad.

then I put him back,
but he's singing a little
in there, I haven't quite let him
die
and we sleep together like
that
with our
secret pact
and it's nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don't
weep, do
you?

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