Wildflowers

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.

Gale Oxley/Minnesota Mycological Society

Could it be?

We're halfway between the June solstice and the autumnal equinox?

Lisa Johnson/JR Kelsey

July has lost its crack at record-setting heat for the month, and its regained a couple of inches on the rainfall deficit.

But what it's losing in hours of daylight and birdsong in the morning, it's more than making up for in young birds and animals, the next batch of wildflowers, and, of course, berries.

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Remember that 21-inch snowstorm we got last Thanksgiving?

You know; the one that shut everything down and people had to work from home and school was closed and we were shut up with our families and couldn't get out ... wow.

Lisa Johnson

Next week at this time, we'll be celebrating the longest day of the year with almost 16 hours of light, and the first day of summer.

If you want to celebrate now, though, go ahead; Larry calls it summer when the wildflowers out in the open outnumber the ones in the woods.

Trees are blooming, birds are raising babies, infant turtles are being threatened by infant racoons, love is in the air for mink and green frogs ... now if it would just rain.  About five inches worth would catch us up nicely - just not all at once.

©Lisa Johnson

For June to stay on track, precipitation-wise, we'd need to get about an inch of rain per week, and that's not counting the deficit we're carrying over from May.

The not-great news is that some vernal ponds are already evaporating due to the dryness.

The good news?  Fireflies and lady's-slippers!

Lisa Johnson

Anyone bemoaning the cool temperatures (despite the bright sunshine) need only remember last year at this time; although you may have blocvked it from your memory.

May 9, 2019: 8" in snow at the National Weather Service in Duluth: an all-time record for May.

Susanne Nilsson/Flickr

This final episode of Backyard Almanac for April reveals so far, the month was cooler, drier, and less snowy than uual.

We're seeing upwards of 14 hours of daylight these days,  ice is out (as are bumblebee queens), warblers are back and hepatica is up.

Puppies: PentaxianK1ii/Flickr, Plants: Markus Spiske/Unsplash

If you want to share the miracle of life with your kids, you don't need to let them watch the birth of puppies or kittens.  You can get them set up to watch brand new seeds sprouting quickly and inexpensively - and tiny plant shoots don't claw the couch!

55Laney69/Flickr

So far, August is shaping up to be July ... at 50% intensity, or something.

It's been warmer than normal (but not as much as last month) and drier than normal (but not as much as last month).

"Awesome August," as Larry calls it, does have it's own unique charms, too: like it's own wildflowers, the earlier wildflowers going to seed, and an abundance of animals, birds and insects on the move.

Michael Podger/Unsplash

The universe's answer to broadcasting's "seven second delay" is aphelion and perihelion.

The sun is closest to Earth about two weeks after the winter solstice in December (perihelion) and furthest from the earth about two weeks after the summer solstice.

©Bryan French. Used with permission.

Maybe you can't leave right away to look for wildflowers with Larry Weber (or Bryan French, for that matter!), but here is a slideshow of many of the flowers Larry mentioned on his show today to tide you over.

Bryan French is a phenologist, photographer and the founder of the Duluth Phenology group on Facebook.

Lorie Shaull [via Flickr]

Naturalist Larry Weber reports the astonishing statistic that we've had more snow in May 2019 than either January 2019 or March 2019. 

Mrdorkesq [via Flickr]

August was awesome, but Naturalist and author Larry Weber explains why September is wonderful. too.  Among many things to note: Bird migration is underway and next week will be a prime week to view raptors at Hawk Ridge.  It's also "turtle time," with baby snapping turtles emerging from their nests.  Leaves are starting to change and some late-season wildflowers are blooming too.

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