Frogs

Shelby L Bell [via Flickr]

Naturalist, author and educator Larry Weber, always a keen observer of what is, acknowledges an important anniversary.  

Seabamirium [via Flickr]

Larry Weber is an educator, author and naturalist and he joins us every Friday for Backyard Almanac.

Less than a month ago, there was still ice and snow on the ground.

Which means, despite a weekend forecast of mid to upper 80s, the season for spring ephemerals is a little more ephemeral than usual.

Susan Worner [via Flickr]

Naturalist larry Weber observes that following the 5th coldest April on record we moved into a warm start to May, then colder again.  Some much needed rain finally arrived (not much, but a good start), and many plants and blooms are beginning to emerge.  We've now reached over 15 hours of daylight.  Frogs and turtles are awakening, and many birds are returning.

©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.

Larry Weber with a wrap up of April stats (three times as much snow, but precipitation still below normal), the migrants who've shown up just in the last week, and happy news on the frog front.

©Bryan French. Used with permission.

Larry Weber's already looking forward to what he calls "Awesome August," but he's not done enjoying the cricket-sized little spring peepers, wood frogs and American toads yet, either.

And milkweed and fireweed, he says, "own July."

April's first half is running about six degrees warmer than usual ... the greening has begun ... and you can hear the early spring trio (chorus frogs, spring peepers and wood frogs) around the Northland.

squamatologist/Flickr

Larry reminds us that April 9 of last year broke an overnight low temperature record, silver maples have gone bloomin' crazy, the lake effect is slowing the progress of spring the closer you get to it, and he's celebrating over twenty years of tracking frog and toad populations in northeastern Minnesota.

You can find out more about the Minnesota DNR's Frog and Toad Calling survey, plus find a number of helpful links right here.

Paul VerDerWerf [via Flickr]

After an abundance of rain in recent days, naturalist Larry Weber says the weekend should be a fine time to get out and find mushrooms.  Late summer and early fall brings the beginning of fall colors, and many birds are starting to take wing, including hawks, flickers, blue jays, thrushes and turkeys. Even as temps start to turn cooler, many insects are still abundant, including green darner dragonflies, bees and butterflies. Larry has been hearing spring peepers and gray tree frogs in the woods, and the other day witnessed a new baby snapping turtle searching for the water.

Michael Kensinger, Jeff Hahn

For the first time in 14 months - since February 2015 - we've had a month that's cooler than normal.

Ian Griffiths/Flickr

Frogs are calling, red maples are flowering, painted turtles are crowding logs to bask in the (scarce) sun ... 

and it's raining and cold.  Again.

Seabrooke Leckie/Flickr

Larry Weber says the brakes Mother Nature put on spring so far this month are a three-part blessing:

1) the snow lessens the danger of fire, which is usually a problem in April

2) the snow slows down the ticks, which also begin to create problems in April

3) the wet snows create a lot of moisture which flows into vernal ponds, making frogs - and Larry - very happy!

Biodiversity Heritage Library

  Author and naturalist Larry Weber talks about the heat, the Heat, and the HEAT. The days are getting shorter, so he has noticed the beginning of fall bird migration, including chimney swifts and nighthawks.  Gray tree frogs are calling, goldenrod and asters are in bloom, and the blackberries are ripe.  Not many mushrooms, unfortunately, even though we received some rain over the past week.

Tom Tetzner/Flickr

After a year underwater, the frog eggs of last summer have matured to tadpoles and beyond.  Author and naturalist Larry Weber says finally,  the Frogs of Summer are all grown up.

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