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Environment & Outdoors
Phenology with local naturalist Larry Weber every Friday morning at 8:20 on Northland Morning.

Backyard Almanac: Maybe spring will really hit its stride in May.

MourningCloakByLakeHarriet_AugustSchwerdfeger_20200405.jpg
August Schwerdfeger [via Flickr, commercial use allowed]
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Nymphalis antiopa, a butterfly commonly called the mourning cloak

Larry Weber noted several interesting phenological events to wrap up the month of April. However, he says, "'Ice out' was not one of them." The month will conclude with an average temperature nearly seven degrees below the usual April average of 40°F. Many area lakes are still covered with ice. We're now getting over fourteen hours of daylight, so things will change soon.

Bird migration is ongoing. Larry continues to see raptors passing through on their way north, as well as geese, swans, mergansers, pelicans, and ducks. As of last week, Larry hadn't yet seen six songbirds that he usually sees much earlier - the yellow-rumped warbler, the yellow-belly sapsucker, the northern flicker, the (eastern) phoebe, the tree swallow, and the hermit thrush. Well, they have now appeared just in time to end the month, as well as the white-throated sparrow and the ruby-crowned kinglet. He's heard ruffed grouse and red-winged blackbirds too.

Spring is coming along, bit by bit, and here's some proof: (1) Larry finally saw his first butterfly of the year, a mourning cloak, emerging from hibernation. And (2) he heard his first frogs of the year - the chorus frog and the wood frog – making it just in time before the month's end.