Backyard Almanac

Plant Image Library [Via Flickr]

Early spring leaves are beginning to emerge, but the forest floor wildflowers are soaking up as much sun as they can before being shaded by the leaf canopy. Warblers are beginning to return north in search of caterpillars, their spring food source, but the early leaf growth may cause caterpillars to cocoon before the warblers arrive. And a notable lack of rain yet in May has put the Northland back into a fire hazard condition.

Sabishī/Flickr

If Larry has one piece of advice as April warms into May, it's: take a walk.  Every. Single. Day.

Janet Riegle (tree swallows), JR Kelsey (hermit thrush, leopard frog), Lisa Johnson (pelicans, maple, sweet coltsfoot)

Despite days of clouds, rain, and even snow showers, the second half of unpredictable April has been a little short of precipitation.

Luckily, we got a great day yesterday to see all kinds of flora and fauna, and starting today we go back to cool, cloudy, and a chance of rain or snow into next week.

Peter Stenzel, John Munt, Philip Bouchard/Flickr

The first of the spring ephemerals have popped up in the woods, the vernal ponds are flourishing and things are greening and budding all over.

Larry Weber says the walk you take today won't be the same as yesterday's or tomorrow, so you'd better make sure to get out as often as possible.

Copyright JR Kelsey. Used with permission.

Close to a week of wind, rain, hail (!) and clouds is enough to dampen the mood of just about anyone.

Until, of course, you hear what Larry has to say about what these days have wrought in our world outside.

Fyn Kynd/Flickr

Welcome to Win-sprin, that strange little time of year between the melting of the snow and the greening of the forest floor.

Charles (Chuck) Peterson/Flickr

March 2021 will appear on the books as a little warmer than "normal": closer to 34° than 26°.  The precipitation is above normal not only for the month but for 2021 as a whole so far, and the only "below normal" is snowfall. Larry's quick to remind us, though, that in April of 2013, we got 51" of snow!

In other news, a cloudy, 25°-ish day with no wind, might not seem too exciting, but that's only if you're looking, and not listening.

Casper Johansson/Unsplash

The low humidity and high winds forecast for today and tomorrow have prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Fire Weather Watch for the area.

Before the rain moves in on Sunday, the minimum RH dropping below 15 percent today combined with winds gusting to 20 mph today and over 35 mph on Saturday will cause near-critical fire weather conditions today and possibly exceeding critical fire weather conditions on Saturday.

Sharon Mollerus. Used with permission.

Whether it's a record-breaking 55° or snowflakes the size of drink coasters, March in the Northland is anything but full.

Lisa Johnson

One month ago today, the temps took a nose dive to below zero - and stayed there.

Now we've got temps in the 50s forecast; Daylight Saving Time is nine days away; Jupiter, Saturn and Mercury are hanging out in the early-morning eastern sky (and it's clear enough to see them) and even some early migrants are starting to show up.

And in the woods, it's getting a little spring-y there, too.

©Lisa Johnson. All rights reserved.

All around us are signs of spring - kinda.

Meteorological winter ends Sunday, Daylight Saving Time starts Sunday, March 14 and the vernal equinox is Saturday, March 20.

But it's hard to predict what will happen in a month that's famous for blizzards and 70˚ days in the same four-week period.

Twelve days of an average temp of  -12˚.

250 straight hours of temps that never got above -2˚.

And while we only got two measly record temps out of the cold snap, on the 13th and 14th, Larry Weber says it was still pretty impressive.

Not only does he enthuse "I wouldn't have wanted to miss it!", Larry knows that when we're sweating through an afternoon on the beach or looking for some shade to park a lawn chair, these days will be the stuff of stories and legend.

©Lisa Johnson

Larry Weber calls the 213 hours out of 216 we'll spend below zero "fascinating."

©Lisa Johnson. All rights reserved.

For Larry Weber, winter is about to arrive.

Air temperatures won't break zero through the end of the weekend, overnight lows will be in the double digits below, and the windchill index will hover around that strange point where the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales reach agreement: -40.

But there is a silver lining: Larry point out that these cold snaps usually only last about four days.  So that's a mere 100 hours of "polar vortex."

Audrey/Flickr

There's romance in the air if you're a wolf, coyote, fox, or squirrel.

If you're a groundhog, you want to be left strictly alone on Tuesday - no exceptions.

And for the rest of us who pay attention to such things, we're about halfway through that period of time between the December solstice (December 21; shortest day of the year) and the vernal equinox (March 21; day and night are of equal length).

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