Migration

©Steve Kolbe. Used with permission

August, announced Larry Weber this morning, is one of his 12 favorite months.

He talked migration at Hawk Ridge, where the counters are hard at work, the fabulousness of spiders, how a mayfly hatch is a good indicator of clean water, and how come he's the guy driving so slowly and gawking at the goldenrod by the side of the road.

©Lisa Johnson

Some things that fly are starting to think about migration (bird, monarchs), some are thinking about starting families (goldfinches), some things with leaves (sumac, Virginia creeper) are thinking about fall color and some things that like walks (Larry Weber) are starting to think about spiders, shorter days and berries.

green heron: Tommy P. World/Flickr, sora: Becky Matsubara/Flickr, bittern: cuatrok77/Flickr

Who woulda thunk, in the midst of the April 15 blizzard, that a month later we'd hit a record-breaking 88 degrees?

In fact, who woulda thunk on Wednesday that we'd plummet from 88 to 52 by Thursday?

Yup.  It's May in the Northland.

©MN Department of Natural Resources

April left and took the snow with her, says Larry Weber.

But the lack of moisture in many spots, plus the breezy conditions, means a high fire danger.

Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory

Maybe it's not as warm as Hawk Ridge in September.

But Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory Count Interpreter John Richardson says it's a lot more exciting.

The counters are headquartered at Enger Tower for spring migration, and even if a piece of West Skyline Parkway is closed and you have to park and walk in,  Richardson says there are a lot of species to be seen.

©Tone Coughlin Photography. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

The first half of April ended in a most dramatic fashion: record-breaking (low) temperatures, high winds, crashing waves and a record snowfall.

And while it certainly wasn't appreciated by everyone, Larry Weber says it was still fascinating.

Torn between longing for signs of spring and the excitement of a winter snowstorm, Northlanders can find a little something to make everyone happy.

Lisa Johnson

A year ago today, Duluth broke the record high temperature with 64 degrees.

Today, the National Weather Service reports a new low temperature for November 10 with -5.

If you don't decide to make tracks somewhere warmer, Larry Weber says you should get outside and LOOK AT tracks.

©Lisa Johnson

Spiders ballooning, raptors migrating, some lingering butterflies and the World Series moths fluttering ...

And all this before Larry Weber's favorite season of aut-win!

©Tara Smith, Wildwoods. Used with permission.

A couple of sick, skinny peregrine falcons have been brought into Wildwoods Wildlife Rehabilitation recently ... one didn't live to be transported to The Raptor Center but the one pictured at left did.

©Sparky Stensaas. Used with permission.

"I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw." ~ Wm. Shakespeare, "Hamlet"

Whether or not Hamlet had spent any time at Hawk Ridge is a question for another time, but experienced birders know a northwesterly wind is best for seeing birds at what has become an internationally-recognized place to see migration.

Between the fall wildflowers, the 45 different kinds of goldenrod that grow in Minnesota and the blackberries, suffice it to say that when he's out driving, Larry Weber's attention is everywhere BUT the road!

United States map showing locations where hummingbirds have been seen so far
Hummingbird.net

This morning, Laura Erickson drew our attention to this cool map - a Ruby-throated hummingbird ETA, of sorts.   You can find out more here:

And you can listen to Laura's show from this morning here:

Chrissine Cairns Rios/Flickr

Larry Weber almost never takes a vacation ... so when he requested a little time off, we dug into the archives for this program from October 9, 2015.  Have a listen to find out what it was like last year at this time!

Sneezeweed is still blooming in spots around the Northland.

Seriously.

Sneezeweed.

Brenda Dobbs/Flickr

A thousand hawks migrating over Hawk Ridge, the leaves changing color - those are signs of the season that are easy to see.  But Larry Weber says if you're paying attention, you can find things like eyelash fungus on downed logs and something called pinwheel fungus that he's seen sprout out of a single pine needle!

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