Weekly Notes ~ Phenomena of Phenology

Phenomena of Phenology

Red-winged Blackbird

I am always amazed at how nature is both patient and persistent.  A lesson that I suppose we humans could learn from.  Like many folks, I am not feeling too patient about the persistence of winter weather hanging on.  Many sugar houses didn’t have enough sap to boil for Maple Sunday last week.  If you had told me a month ago that the frogs would still be under the ice in the southernmost parts of the state, I wouldn’t have believed you.  I am reminded that the calendar is a human invention that doesn’t account for the phenomena of phenology, ….more below.

If you have been keeping a nature journal as I suggested on March 2nd, then you may have noticed that during the New Moon phase from March 1st, until today, March 30th, the sun is indeed rising earlier and setting later each day.  You might also have noticed that the stars are in a different location in the sky when observed at the same time each night.  These events remind me of my mother’s optimism, when she would say, “have patience, we’re gaining!”

While the frogs wait for the ice to melt and the snowy owls linger, many species have begun migration northward.  We humans have to make an effort to observe the changes but plants and animals instinctively follow the seasonal patterns.  Over the next month, you may want to journal the changes observed in the new growth of plants and arrival of birds or movement of the animals.

The picture above is of a Red-winged blackbird.  They have been reported as far north as Augusta.  Being a wetland species, they will forage for insects and forb seeds that appear along the melted edges of fresh and saltwater marshes.

Journey North is a citizen science website that helps to explain the phenomena of phenology. The phe-who of phe-what ?  It is the survival and reproductive instincts of plants and animals that follow the changes of each season.  Click on the link to find webcams and maps that help to unravel the mysteries of patience and persistence in nature.  You can even participate by reporting your sightings.

In other news, IF&W has issued a press release explaining the change in regulation that allows ice-fishing on some bodies of water after April 1st.  Click here for details..

In the photo gallery, nature observer Jeff S. from So. Berwick shared pictures of a porcupine den in his backyard.  An interesting note, in April or May, porcupine give birth to just one young called a porcupette.  It will be born with its eyes open and covered with fur and soft quills which harden within hours after birth.

Hopefully Maine Nature News has given you something to think about on this cold, wet, snow and rain soaked end-of-March day.  As mom would say, “cheer up, better days are coming” and I am certain they are on their way.  Enjoy!