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Spring 2005 Phenology by Naturalist Jim Gilbert

March

1   Declaring their territories, Northern Cardinals whistle loud and clear.

6   First day we reach 60 degrees this year. Smells like spring; a wet, earthy smell. In the Twin Cities area, land is approximately 90 percent snow-free. Up north, between Finland and Grand Marais three feet of snow covers the ground. Canada Geese are returning and Great Horned Owls are busy feeding their nestlings. Red-tailed Hawks are beginning to build nests.

8   Red-winged Blackbirds are heard singing in Rollingstone; a sure sign of spring.

12   Saw first woodchuck above ground

16   First American Woodcock sighted. Our snowfall total in the Twin Cities area is only 20” of snow so far in 2004/2005 winter.

17   Lake Superior Shipping Season begins: first vessel left Superior Harbor today.

18   First migrating American Robins return. Largest snowfall of season in southern Minnesota: 5.3” in Chanhassen, 8” in Mankato, 16.8” in Rochester, 21” in Kiester and 24” in Lyle.

21   First crocuses blooming.

23   First Wood Ducks return

26   First Song Sparrows

28   Twin Cities golf courses open. Tugs and barges out on the Mississippi .

29   Air temperature hits 70 degrees, first Eastern Phoebe arrive.

31   Chorus Frogs, also called Swamp Cricket Frogs, begin calling.

April

3    Silver Maple trees blooming. South-facing slopes are showing green grass. Female Canada Geese incubating eggs and Wood Frogs begin calling.

5   Tundra Swans are migrating through.

6   Ice-out date for both Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriett in Minneapolis

8   Lawn-mowing begins here at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.

9   Official ice-out date for Lake Minnetonka. First pelicans back on Lake Waconia and Tree Swallows are checking out nesting boxes.

10  Magnolia trees and forsythia shrubs blooming nicely. First leaves out on the Common Purple Lilacs.

15  Field work begins on Carver County farms.


17  Pulled the first Rhubarb for sauce. First Yellow-headed Blackbirds arrive.

18  First 80 degree day of the year. Warmth encouraged leaves to pop out on Red and Bur Oaks, Basswood and Sugar Maple trees.

22  Sighted the first House Wren of the spring

24  Wild Plums, tulips, daffodils and hyacinths are all blooming

27  Birdbath iced this morning

29  Purple Lilacs are blooming

30  Crabapples are blooming

May

1   Windy, cold day with some snow showers. American Robins eggs have begun hatching.

3   Frosty and 29 degrees this morning. Sighted first Canada Goose goslings. At Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, 18 species of wildflowers are blooming.

4   High of 66 degrees today. That’s the warmest we’ve had since April 19. Sighted first Baltimore Oriole.

5   First Ruby-throated Hummingbird sighted and first Common Tree Frogs heard calling

6   Big influx of Purple Martins.

11  Morel Mushrooms have risen

13  Bobolinks are here

14  Minnesota’s Fishing Opener; water on Lake Waconia is 53 degrees F, walleye are biting

15  First White-tail Deer fawn. Barn Swallows are gathering mud and constructing nests.

18  Peak of warbler migration, 21 species seen

21  Indigo Buntings are visiting feeders

24  Time to enjoy the fragrance of Lily-of-the Valley. First Monarch Butterfly arrived. Common Grackles are fledged already.

29  Eastern Cottonwood Trees are shedding their seeds

31  High of 70 degree today; the Twin Cities didn’t hit 80 degrees during the month of May.