Friday Phenology 11 May 2012

Ok, well, yes – it is Saturday. Life just got in the way yesterday, but without further adieu, here’s the phenology seen this last week:

The White-Breasted Nuthatches are still feeding the babies and still competing with me to be the first to get to the moths in the morning. The pace of feeding has picked up considerably this week. I can hear at least one baby in there, and possibly more.

We had snow again this week – bringing wonderful moisture and greening things up at a rapid pace. The spring snows melt at a pace the ground can usually soak up, making them welcome pauses in the speeding up to summer. The power did go out for a few hours – likely a tree or branch fell on the lines somewhere. At least it’s not the days like it used to be when we moved out here in the late 1980s. The aspen leaves continue to open during warm days and pause when it’s cold. The snow hasn’t damaged them at all. In fact, the temperatures hover right around freezing or slightly above. The hummingbirds – mainly male broad tailed hummingbirds – have enjoyed the warm (not hot) fresh food I put out for them on the colder mornings. Their numbers have increased, but not dramatically yet.

We know the Clark’s Nutcrackers (AKA Camp Robbers) successfully nested this year as they brought two fledgelings around that we and the neighbors have chuckled at. The youngsters don’t yet have white rings around their eyes and are comical to say the least – acting helpless when adults are around, begging to be fed and squawking up a storm, yet managing fine on their own when the adults fly off. On Thursday, one of them sat on the deck railing opposite the window I look out while at the computer – just watching me for quite some time. A juvenile squirrel does the same when zooming along the top rail toward the feeder. In both cases, we regard each other for a bit, then get on to the business at hand.

On the warm nights, the frogs can be heard even louder than they were before, and combine with the crickets to make the most delicious white noise to drift off to sleep by. One ridge over is about the perfect distance.

Mike saw a group of four bull elk on the way to work one day this week. He said they were all in velvet, but one had brow tines already almost a foot long and the main antler stems still growing out sideways almost two feet with no sign of being ready to curve upward yet – that’s a big boy!  Mike said it’s one of the largest ones he’s seen in this area excluding the herd on the Fossil Beds. One of the other three was also a nice size, with antlers going out about as wide, but his were already starting to curve upward. The other two were quite a bit smaller. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a camera with him at the time. With the deer, nobody in the neighborhood has seen any fawns yet, but all of them look pretty ragged as they shed their winter fur.

Driving up Ute Pass the other day, I noticed the lilacs and chokecherry bushes were all in bloom as high up as Cascade. That’s nice to know that they both bloom around the same time – at least this year – I’ll have to pay attention to that in coming years to see if that combination continues to happen. It’s nice to know when to start scouting for chokecherry bushes to note for harvest later on in the summer. It makes the best jelly!

The Douglas Fir trees are in bloom, sporting either magenta or chartreuse blooms. And the Ponderosa trees have the blooms starting to form – they are the ones that make my hayfever so miserable, but that’s still a few weeks away.

Have a great weekend! No formal link share this week – but do share your observations (and links to any posts you might have made) on what’s happening in your neck of the woods.

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