Friday, March 10, 2017

Phenology Report

Phenology Report 3/7/2017: 

Its been 2 weeks since I have written a report and WOW how things can change so fast. The phrase of the week is "Don't like the weather in Minnesota? Wait a couple of minutes, it will change!" Yesterday was a perfect example of this....Coming home from work it was about 65F outside, with a severe thunderstorm warning in effect. At about 1:00AM, while letting the puppy out for his nightly escapade, I was hit in the face with huge snow flakes and the temps around 25F! That is March in southern MN.
These temp changes are somewhat harsh to us, but nature is well adapted and can "weather" these changes with seemingly little concern. For the last two weeks, migratory waterfowl have been holding up on the large wetland east of the farm - giving up both enjoyable evenings seeing hundreds of birds swarming around the area getting ready to settle for the night, while in the mornings I am often greeted with single flocks of geese (snows, blue, Canada, and Lesser Canadians) and swans passing overhead and chirping while I complete the morning chores. I wish every morning were like this! Most of the ice has receded from area lakes and these waterfowl are taking up their usual nesting spots - Brooke noted that the swans are back on Linden Lake looking for the proper muskrat hut to lay their eggs. This is an annual sighting on Linden - and one we always enjoy. One neat thing about Linden that I have always found interesting is that it seems to be a hot spot for Canvasback ducks - they are a rather elusive large duck that not common for the area, or the state for that matter, but we see them every spring and fall on their annual migration.
Canvasback ducks
Last note on our bird friends - the Killdeer have returned! Brooke and I love these upland shorebirds (oxymoron). Seeing their little babies later in the spring can really bring up the spirits if you have a bad day! I mean, who cannot chuckle and little cotton ball looking chicks on stilts chasing after mom and dad down the gravel road. Hahaha:)
On the plant side of things here is what I am seeing: Lilac buds are green and ready to burst. I hope these cool temp swings do not hurt the flowering buds. Nettles are starting to poke up, soon enough we will be collecting the young shoots for the animals as well as drying some for ourselves.

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