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

Backyard Almanac: Larry assures us that spring is actually happening

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Tom Koerner/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [via Flickr, commercial use allowed]
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Wilson's snipe (Gallinago delicata)

Spring has been a nebulous and furtive season so far; winter keeps reclaiming itself. But Larry Weber says spring is finally happening. Larry refers to May as the "greening month." This month the leaves will emerge, and grasses will start to grow.

And after a remarkably chilly April, May is already warming up. "Ice out" finally occurred at the lake outside Larry's house this week (the third latest ice out in the last decade), and within a couple days he spotted some western painted turtles warming themselves on a log. The chorus frog and the wood frogs Larry heard last week quieted down on the colder days but when warm temps returned, they were joined by the spring peeper – the third of the trio of "early spring frogs."

Bird migration continues, and in the last couple of nights Larry has heard the "winnowing of the snipe." The Wilson's snipe (Gallinago delicata) is a small wading bird with a long bill, and the male's mating ritual involves an elaborate flight where the tail feathers create a whirling noise, called "winnowing."