Sunday, February 19, 2017

Driftless Area Amphibian Breeding #Phenology

Signs of Spring continue to arrive. A pair of purple finches arrived at the feeder this morning. We're near the northern edge of their migration corridor between wintering and breeding grounds, haven't seen any at the feeders all Winter, so I'm going to take a wild guess that they're migrating north, lured by our warm spell and lack of snow cover.

purple finches at feeder
purple finches at feeder
Photo by J. Harrington

Yesterday's mail brought the February edition of the Minnesota Trout Unlimited Newsletter, with lots of coverage of fly fishing opportunities for 2017 and reminders of the upcoming Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo at Hamline University March 17 -- 19. If you've ever wanted to try casting a fly, there'll be free instructions Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It's MNTU's major fundraiser for the year so, in addition to offering information and fun, getting tickets and attending helps support the mission "to conserve, protect, restore, and sustain Minnesota’s cold water fisheries and their watersheds." Stop by if you can. You might get hooked. (Sorry, I couldn't resist. This Spring weather is making me giddy.)

Part of watershed restoration often involves creating or improving habitat for creatures such as amphibians. They have their own breeding phenology, similar to the one for the Driftless Area of Minnesota and Wisconsin shown below. If Spring continues its journey north three weeks ahead of normal this year, the mid- to late-March breeding beginnings might move up to near the start of next month. Ever since I can remember, the sounds of Spring Peepers, or Pinkletinks, has been a sound of Spring coming through the screen door.

Amphibian Breeding Phenology Calendar
from: Nongame Wildlife Habitat Guide:
Complimentary Opportunities for Stream Restoration Projects

Orfordville

Jonah found
a frog in the currants
thirsty, he said, so we flicked water on it
& it sat still    throat pulsing
bright-greener than the stem, feet spread, attached to the stem 
Three people one frog thousands of currants
Basho, anyone, why write it down


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