Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Voting one early Spring #phenology

Happy Valentine's Day. In addition to flowers and candy and cards and poems and all that stuff, some of us were lucky enough to be able to go and vote in a Special Election because our former Republican state representative was found to not live in the district he was supposed to represent. The district went heavily for #45 during last November's elections so I'll be fascinated to see how this turns out. We were represented by a Democrat two or three terms ago.

February 12, 2017 early Spring leaf out map

I'm not going to try to explore any phenology themes about Spring versus Autumn voting patterns, but I will share the following observations:
  • Despite our extended spell of unseasonably warm weather, goldfinches haven't yet taken on Spring colors.
  • There's no open water yet in the Carlos Avery Sunrise River pools. This weekend may bring that about.
  • A small seam of open water has developed at the pond north of the house.
  • There's no sign of red-wing blackbirds yet.
  • I tried a Google search about triggers for Spring waterbird migration (ducks, geese, cranes, etc.). There seems to be very limited information about whether our "early Spring" may trigger early migration. If photoperiod is the major trigger, then arrival dates shouldn't be much affected. We'll watch carefully this year.
  • A more likely event would be the early emergence of skunk cabbage in the wetlands west of the property. We'll look for that late this week or the coming weekend.
  • Another sign of Spring did arrive this week. The county has started this year's road repairs. I think they're working on a number of bumpy frost heaves across on of the major east-west thoroughfares.

skunk cabbage, early April 2015
skunk cabbage, early April 2015
Photo by J. Harrington

Thinking about phenology and migration, I don't recall reading much about how, if at all, migration patterns fit bioregionalism patterns. Time, perhaps, to research how much of that may be either known unknowns or unknown unknowns.

Lines Written in Early Spring


By William Wordsworth


I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:—
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?


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