Friday Phenology 20 April 2012

Happy Friday! Time for a Friday Phenology report for the Pikes Peak Region:

The White Breasted Nuthatches are definitely on eggs, and there are definitely three of them working on that. The largest of the three, I’m assuming an older male – he’s actually quite a bit larger than the others generally takes up his post on top of the bird box, often dozing there. The other afternoon when Mike drove in the driveway, it caught him napping and he generally acted like someone saying, “I’m awake! I’m awake…where am I? What’s going on?” I’ve also had to rush out in the morning to check what landed overnight under the shop light because he’s out there already. So far this year, not a whole lot of variety of moths, and they all look like the same variety. Some mornings there are one or two, others seven to ten. The nuthatches are also finding some moths in the bark on the trunk of a tree next to that mercury vapor light, but no matter how hard I look, I’m not seeing them. Whatever they find, though, they share with one on the nest.

The insects are increasing in number, so the amount of food consumed at the bird feeder has dropped rather significantly. I’m down to the last of the birdseed and likely will let it be the last bag as the neighbor mentioned one of her dogs reacted the other night with the “I’m going to eat you!” bark she saves for bears. Normally it’s not a big deal for them when she does this in the middle of the night (other than waking them up), but over the winter she’s learned how to open the sliding glass door with her mouth (she’s a BIG dog) and this time they were racing her to the door.

I have put up the hummingbird feeder, but have yet to hear any. I even checked eBird this morning and there hasn’t been one report in Colorado yet. It does seem like the rush to spring this year has slowed its pace a bit. The earliest my phenology records for the first hummingbird heard was last year, on April 21. Next earliest is on April 25 for both 1993 and 2003. First in 2007 was on April 27 and in 2000 the first was heard on April 28. So, we’re definitely in the first part of the window of opportunity to hear the first scouts coming in.

Last weekend we had a good wet, spring snow. On the deck we had about 7″ total, but the ground had less since it’s already warmed up so much. That snow melted through the week working  it’s magic like a color wash – as it melts, it leaves behind a slightly deeper green tint to the fields. The moisture has numerous pasque flowers showing up as well as a ton of candy tuft and a couple of flowers I’ve yet to identify – one so very tiny I’m going to have to sketch as a macro shot with the camera won’t show it clearly, though I’ll give it a try. Dandelions opened up all over this week and almost every one had a fly or insect on it. Looking closer, I did find an open bloom of Kinnikinnik as well.

The deer around here are starting to lose their winter coats, not heavily, but they definitely have a rough quality to them with hair starting to stick out at odd angles. But I guess that’s part of the waking up for summer look they have. I’ve also not seen one with antlers this week, but we mainly have a small group of does that hang out here right now. There are some bucks that hang out a few roads over – I’ll have to head over there sometime this week to see if they’ve shed their antlers.

So what’s happening in your neck of the woods? Link to a blog post or leave a comment!

(This post also shared on the Rural Thursday Blog Hop)



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