Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Space is time in #phenology

A couple of years ago I came across a year-round daily phenology calendar on the Aldo Leopold Foundation web site. At least that' where I think I found it. It doesn't seem to be there anymore, although there's some interesting phenology coverage, as you'd, or at least I'd, expect. I'm glad I downloaded and saved a copy. That's the source of today's comparison.

bluebird, April 1, 2017
bluebird, April 1, 2017
Photo by J. Harrington

The Leopold Foundation Center, and Leopold's famous shack, are about 150 miles south of our property in Minnesota. Today is May 3. Here's the extensive list of possible first occurrences in that area for today.

Possible First Occurrences May 3

If we use a rule of thumb that Spring moves North at a pace of about 15 miles per day, then where we are should be the equivalent of the first occurrences about April 24. Here's that somewhat shorter list.

Possible First Occurrences April 24

Obviously, there's a lot of overlap between the two lists, although, interestingly, neither includes bluebirds. Their last first possible occurrence was March 30 and I think they showed up around here about the beginning of April, so maybe the 150 mile distance doesn't always become a week or ten day lag.

I've been remiss in checking the status of local wildflower bloomings, but this morning I again saw a few dark-eyed juncos. No snakes have been sighted yet, nor tree frogs seen, although peepers have been heard in the evening. No mosquitos yet!, but a painted turtle was seen crossing the road last week. Rose-brested grosbeaks, both male and female, have been around for a few days, but no signs of bats yet. All told, Spring seems to be on or slightly behind schedule, losing ground, so to speak, as it moves North.

It will do my phenology reportings, and my blood pressure, some good if I spend much more time the rest of this week focused on the goings on in some local fields and woodlots rather than what's happening in St. Paul and Washington, D.C. Time to get my balance balanced.

Song on May Morning


John Milton, 1608 - 1674


Now the bright morning Star, Dayes harbinger,
  Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her
  The Flowry May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow Cowslip, and the pale Primrose.
  Hail bounteous May that dost inspire 
  Mirth and youth, and warm desire,
  Woods and Groves, are of thy dressing,
  Hill and Dale, doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early Song,
And welcom thee, and wish thee long.  


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