Backyard Almanac

Phenology with local naturalist Larry Weber every Friday morning at 8:20 on Northland Morning. Have a question for Larry Weber? Email us and you might hear his answer on the show!

 

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For the first time in over a year, we have a month - May - where the temperature was cooler than normal.

But if anyone can find the silver lining in a cool, wet May, it would be Larry Weber.

Guy Sander (used with permission)

Larry Weber says the 2 1/2 inches of rain at his place this week means things are greening almost visibly.

Fiddlehead ferns that were just poking their heads from the soil last week are knee-high now, and if you have the time and patience, you'll be rewarded with good views of warblers.

In addition, Larry says he heard a visitor he hasn't heard at his place in over 20 years.

Jack Pearce [via Flickr]

Naturalist Larry Weber talks about these mid-May mornings that are "beyond description" with so much happening as nature awakes.  Also, because leaves have not fully grown out yet, it is a greater opportunity to see both flora in fauna as you explore the woods of northern Minnesota.

This week's warmup has spring things bustin' out all over, from frogs calling to dragonfly and spider web sightings, to new migrants, spring wildflowers and white pelicans hanging out on the St. Louis River before they head north.

Lisa Johnson

April is unpredictable, says Larry Weber.  It went along predictably enough, lulling us into a false sense of security and then, predictably, it became ... unpredictable.

We're finally caught up on moisture for the month; yes, snow in April is "normal;" we'll have 14 hours of daylight come Sunday and the white pelicans have returned to the St. Louis River.

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.

Another for-certain sign of spring is pledge drive time at KUMD -- and as always, we're offering a copy of Larry Weber's day by day look at the year, Backyard Almanac, for new and renewing members.

Barbara Friedman/Flickr

Just when you think you've had it with the gray, sleety weather, Larry Weber reminds us of crocuses and vernal ponds.

©Lisa Johnson

We're seeing the "effect" in "lake effect" this week ... but late season snows make it tough on birds and animals, returning migrants and winter-long residents.

Fyn Kynd Photography [via Flickr]

Larry Weber talks about the return of the cold temperatures - not really as unseasonable as people may think - as well as the return of many migrating birds, and other signs that, regardless of the cold snap, spring will be here soon.

"It's the 'Arctic Riviera,'" says the executive director of Friends of Sax-Zim Bog. "There's a new cast of characters every winter."

Sparky Stensaas subs for Larry Weber this morning, and talks boreal chickadees ("they sound like regular chickadees with a cold"), some upcoming programs that will extend past the Visitor Center's regular season, and why an apparent absence of owls is a good thing.

This week:

  • the snowstorm that wasn't
  • some early migrants to look for
  • one month before the vernal equinox and
  • only two weeks to Daylight Savings Time!

Len Blumin/Flickr

Larry says the weekend's predicted mild temperatures are perfect for seeing melty "tree circles" around deciduous trees, bright red red osier dogwood, pussy willow and quaking aspen buds and maybe even a horned lark.

Meanwhile ... the maple sap is flowing!

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