Phenology Log 2017

Fall 2017

We are thankful for a cooler than normal September over Missouri, but sad that it is due in part to weather patterns that created back-to-back devastating hurricanes in Texas and Florida.

  • Sept. 22 – Several days of record high temperatures in the mid 90’s as Fall officially begins.
  • Sept. 20 – While leaves are falling prematurely, not nearly as many acorns and nuts as last year’s great mast event.
  • Sept. 18 – An extra-large turkey family of 11 is frequently seen around Konstanz Lake.
  • Sept. 16 – Temperatures reach 90 degrees, yet many maple leaves are turning yellow. Huge brown dry sycamore leaves have fallen. Somewhat smaller cottonwood leaves have turned bright yellow.
  • Sept. 15 – Dry dogwood leaves are now plum red. Some maple leaves falling prematurely due to near drought conditions.
  • Sept. 11 – Much sumac turning burnt red. Sassafras leaves starting to turn red. Some sycamore tree leaves turning gold. This seems several week early compared to recent years. Other leaves falling prematurely due to dry weather.

Spring 2017

It’s sad but true that with climate change what usually are Spring-related events are now occurring in Winter.  So we are starting our Spring log in January.

  • May 16 – Monarch butterfly cocoons or pupae are appearing early this year.
  • May 15 – Tiny green caterpillars float off the oak tree leaves in the wind.
  • May 14 – So great to see milkweed blooming all around Innsbrook.
  • May 13 – Paddlefish seen swimming just below the water’s surface. Perch begin fanning gravel in lake shallows to lay their nests.
  • May 12 – Sadly, dozens of blue bird chicks have died in their nest during the past 2 weeks. It is thought the heavy rains and wet nests must have taken a toll on their food supply and health.
  • May 10 – Barred owls heard hooting it up in mating calls, sounding like chimps.
  • May 9 – Woodchucks are seen inhabiting last year’s fox den.
  • May 1 – Nearly 7 inches of rain fell on Innsbrook this weekend turning dam spillways into white water rapids. Yet another extreme weather event that brings record 500-year level flooding to Missouri every 2 years.
  • April 25 – The floral orange fragrance of Locust tree flowers fills the air on hikes.
  • April 24 – It starts to rain down Oak tree fronds, also called catkins, the exact same day as last year.
  • April 23 – The Konstanz Trail reports over 29 bluebird chicks in 10 nests. They are the size of a big thumb but their mouths seem to be 90% of their little fragile bodies.
  • April 18 – The forest trees and plants have become so lush that you can no longer see through the forest to the floor.
  • April 17 – A sea of white dandelion seed heads have sprouted all over just one night.
  • April 16 – Beetles have appeared, more turtles sunning themselves on logs, every tree in the forest is now blooming, and the morning forest is so loud in the cacophony of birds celebrating Spring on this Easter Sunday.
  • April 15 – Dogwoods are at their peak this weekend, and this year they have been more bountiful and beautiful than recent years.
  • April 14 – So many young small squirrels are seen in the middle of the road, oblivious to the danger
  • April 12 – The first butterflies and flying insects have appeared
  • April 11 – Tall stately mature forest oaks now blooming
  • April 11 – Some forest floors are now covered in a sea of mayapple umbrellas.
  • April 10 – First morning where pollen had collected and covered in the coves and corners of our lake.
  • April 10 – The forest is full of delicate white blooms of flowering hawthorn and dogwoods, seemingly competing with other understory flora that usually bloom after these early Spring leaders.
  • April 9 – First wild forest mushroom spotted, a shiitake.
  • April 9 – First box turtle of the season observed crossing a road.
  • April 8 – First baby snake seen
  • April 7 – Foxes heard yipping in the middle of the night
  • April 6 – First bass and carp seen near the lake surface.
  • April 4 – The forest understory is just days from exploding in new growth and color
  • April 3 – Walnut, willows and hickory buds have appeared, along with a few young oaks who don’t yet know the wisdom of their elders in waiting just a bit longer.
  • April 2 – Umbrella looking mayapples begin popping up in the forest; morel mushrooms won’t be far behind!
  • March 30 – Wild onions on forest floors are particularly plentiful this year.
  • March 26 – First white dogwood blooms seen after much-needed rain.
  • March 25 – First redbud trees blooming with magenta buds.
  • March 23 – First spring peeper frogs heard singing across Innsbrook on our morning walk
  • March 21 – First snails are spotted crossing the roads of Innsbrook. Tops of some forest trees are budding.
  • March 20 – First day of spring feels like first day of summer with a record breaking 85 degrees. I wonder and worry how flora and fauna survives the drastic ups and downs like those of the past week.
  • March 18 – First yellow dandelions spotted along shoulders of roads
  • March 17 – Purple wild vinca flowering
  • March 14 – A cold hard freeze with a temp at IBK of 13 degrees has surely done damage to so many blooming plants and trees that experienced a February with April like weather.
  • March 12 – First tick of the season found on pet
  • March 11 – One of the few snows of the winter comes late along with much colder temperatures expected the next few days that threaten to damage so much of the flora that bloomed too early.
  • March 10 – White spirea blooming.
  • March 9 – Knockout roses start to leaf out
  • March 6 – Many forest understory plants and bushes are budding along with a few trees.
  • March 4 – Bush honeysuckle is blooming (but we wish it wasn’t).
  • March 3 – First bluebird house on Konstanz Trail being prepared by its new inhabitants almost 2 weeks ahead of last year.
  • March 2 – Because there was so little heavy snow and moisture to pack down the fallen leaves this winter, the forest floor is still thick and crunchy with leaves from last fall. Squirrels running across it still sound like a moose!
  • March 1 – February has ended as being a record warm month. It has also been a winter without the winter. We have only had 1 inch of snow up to now.
  • Feb. 28 – Our garden daffodils are now blooming. Snails seen on the roads. Colder weather of the weekend may have slowed tree budding, which is a good thing.
  • Feb. 26 – Wild forest edge daffodils are blooming at least 3 weeks earlier.
  • Feb. 20 – Record warm for Feb. continues. We broke a record today that was broken just last year. Green stink bugs are out a month in advance. I wonder what bugs or birds that eat them, and keep them in check, are messed up by the strange weather?
  • Feb. 19 – Forest edge and understory bushes are starting to bud. Wild onions in the forest have sprouted. Bulb flowers now 2 inches high. Moths and flies are out. This is so unreal for winter, but maybe the new Missouri norm with climate change.
  • Feb. 18 – Record winter warmth continues.
  • Feb. 17 – I feel the forests and animals moan from the anti-environmentalist Scott Pruitt being confirmed as head of the EPA, nominated by a President who said climate change was a hoax and that we should dismantle the EPA.
  • Feb. 14 – Just in time for Valentine’s Day I witness the first set of geese pairing up on Lake Konstanz, almost a month ahead of last year.
  • Feb. 13 – Skunks have come out of the winter abode and are on the prowl leaving their foul.
  • Feb. 11 – Record temperatures in the 70’s across the area. Annual bulb flowers are already 1 inch tall above the beds as the ground has not been frozen in weeks. Croci are seen blooming! Moths and gnats are flying around.
  • Feb. 6 – Still only 1 inch of snow for the entire winter so far
  • Jan. 21 – With the unseasonably warm and wet weather, we saw worms on the road in January and flies buzzing the windows.