Phenology Log 2019

Spring 2019

  • June 20 – On the last day of a very wet Spring we spot tiny cricket frogs jumping across the road.
  • June 17 – Red Mulberry trees are dropping their red fruit berries.
  • June 16 – One of the wettest Springs in recent history continues across the Midwest with rain occurring more days than not. The forest is as lush as we remember ever seeing it at Innsbrook.
  • June 15 – We have seen only one set of twin deer fawns this year when compared to recent years there were more multiple births. Perhaps nature has a way of correcting for our overabundance of deer?
  • June 14 – Squirrels seem to be more plentiful, hungrier, and aggressive this year when searching out food sources. Our bird feeder is always under surveillance if not attacked and seed bins behind garage doors get sacked when they are left open.
  • June 13 – Butterfly-friendly milkweed has started blooming this week all around Innsbrook
  • June 10 – Yucca plants are blooming and more striking that recent years.
  • June 8 – Wild prairie roses begin to bloom with petite buds and fragile-looking pink petals.
  • June 6 – Freak storm blowing out of the north with gusts over 50 mph takes out three giant oaks on our property that were an estimated 80 years old.
  • June 5 – First speckled new born fawns of the season seen looking very so clumsy crossing our roads chasing after mama.
  • June 4 – Regional rivers are cresting at near their all time high water marks.
  • June 1 – First firefly seen in the evening dusk.
  • May 28 – Roadkill of wildlife seems to be worse this year. On the same morning walk along an IBK road after the Memorial Day crowds have left we find both a large mature turtle run over by a vehicle as well as an ever so small juvenile crushed. Next we encounter a snake that experienced the same fate. So sad as it is so easy to avoid wildlife on our roads if you are driving safe speeds and paying attention.
  • May 27 – The Midwest and South continues to experience historic record setting rainfalls, floods, tornadoes, and river levels with whole states declared to be under a public emergency.
  • May 25 – A few smooth Blackberry bushes are showing ever so small clusters of fruit, fewer in number than recent years. But this is after a season with few flowers. Hum, are they just not being pollinated this year?
  • May 19 – School of huge paddlefish active on our lake, swimming alongside our kayak!
  • May 18 – Petite grapes are appearing on some woody vines providing yet another Spring food source for birds and mammals.
  • May 17 – First goslings of the season seen on our lake about a week earlier than last year.
  • May 16 – Butterfly-friendly milkweed plants are about a foot tall along IBK trails.
  • May 15 – Temps have gone from being 15 degrees below normal last week to a new record of 15 degrees above normal in the low 90’s.
  • May 14 – Hawthorne bush now blooming white petals with fragile yellow flowers, belying its sticky thorns behind green leaves.
  • May 12 – First bluebird chicks fledged their nest this past week.
  • May 11 – The white flowers of dogwoods are now gone, but replaced earlier this week by the dangling white flowers of the black locust tree.
  • May 9 – A few more turtles seen this week on IBK roads as well as surrounding Warren County , but unfortunately some of them have been run over by careless drivers.
  • May 8 – Wingnut looking seed pods of maple trees twirling down.
  • May 7 – A skim of green pollen covers our lake, about 3 days later than last year. First May Beetles seen walking clumsily across roads about one week later than last year.
  • May 6 – Rabbits are very active in the forest past few days, probably feeling safer moving around with the foliage protecting them from flying predators.
  • May 5 – First hummingbird seen buzzing around our garden.
  • May 4 – About half of the dogwood white flowers have fallen leaving behind fresh green leaves.
  • May 3 – Falling oak tree fronds are at their peak.
  • May 2 – Fewer turtle sightings this year, perhaps due to the non-stop rains we have had this Spring.
  • April 29 – Oak tree fronds or catkins start falling within two days of last year, but a week later than two years ago.
  • April 28 – First mosquito on our deck sighted coinciding with the first bat found hanging from under our closed patio table umbrella that can eat thousands of them in one night!
  • April 26 – The purple redbud trees have now started to turn to green.
  • April 25 – Morel mushrooms are more plentiful this year, perhaps due to all the rain. Seed pods of dandelions are out and blowing in the wind…..and yards.
  • April 22 – The dogwoods have peaked and were even more stunning this year as they came a bit later, meaning that the backdrop for all the bright white flowers was the greening lower forest that normally would have been afterwards. Goldenrods and yarrow are in full bloom along rural roadside. Near record highs of summer-like 86 degrees.
  • April 21-  It was a day for all the “B’s” to emerge: butterflies, bumble bees, and bats are all sighted! With leaves on the branches the wind now has its summer sound back. Some lakes, which thankfully are full, are looking more cloudy if not muddy, likely due to all the recent heavy rains.
  • April 20 – All forest trees – old and young, tall and short – are budding or leafing out now. The fragile-looking heart-shaped leaves of cottonwoods appear to be the furthest along. Our neighborhood ever-so-talkative red-cooper hawk sighted with a mate swooping just above the canopy tops.
  • April 19 – Just when I was ready to give up on a bountiful dogwood season, in one day the forest understory has erupted with all the shades of green imaginable and cloud bursts of white dogwood flowers deep into the forests. This is one of our favorite sights of Spring at Innsbrook.
  • April 18 – The first catkins come raining down from hickory trees. Another turtle helped crossing the road.
  • April 17 – Pollen season has started in earnest.
  • April 16 – A high today of summer-like 85 is 50 degrees above the 35 degree snow of only two days ago. How does wildlife deal with these huge swings? The elder oaks towering over Innsbrook forests, which are usually the last to leaf out, have started popping out buds about a week earlier than last year and a week later than two years ago. Redbud trees are at their peak violet color. Spotted the first water snake of the season.
  • April 15 – The dogwoods have still not flowered yet. Mayapples have risen 6-10 inches above the forest floor of leaves.
  • April 14 – On our cold early morning walk worms crossing the roads due to heavy rains are covered by a Spring snow. Daytime temps are in the 30’s only one week after they were in the 80’s. Dozens of yellow finches crowd our bird feeder on this windy cold day.
  • April 10 – First turtle (a western painted) spotted (and helped) crossing the road almost to the day from last year’s first sighting. White blooms of Spirea out just a few days earlier than last year. First green shoots of pampas grass rise above the mulch a week earlier than last year. Barred owls hooting and courting each other overnight. First insects smashed on the windshield – a good sign of a healthy ecosystem.
  • April 9 – Continued weather with temps 10 degrees warmer than average have the first ticks of the season finding us and Kyp on a hike along the Tyrolean Trail. First violet buds of Eastern Redbud trees. Bush honeysuckle has been in bloom for about 2 weeks now, earlier than last but later than previous two years.
  • April 8 – The Spring firsts keep coming in one day. The first yellow dandelions seen about 2 weeks later than 2 years ago. The first bumble bee pollinating tulips. The first hint of green at the top of older forest walnut, hickories and maples. The first mayapple plants coming out on the forest floor signaling that mushrooms won’t be far behind. Snails and slugs are out in large numbers. And the first bike ride to witness it all!
  • April 7 – With near record temps the first time into the 80’s there is an explosion of Spring in just one day. Some lower story maples are leafing out. Spring peepers frogs can be heard signing for the first time this year. First few dogwoods begin to bloom white about a week earlier than last year but 10 days later than 2 years ago. First blue bird eggs found in a nest.
  • April 6 – First day with temps over 70 degrees. First wasps seen. Old leaves frozen on trees from an early freeze last Fall are falling off.
  • April 5 – Caterpillar tent moths sparkle in the morning dew
  • April 4 – First snail of the spring seen slowly crossing a road
  • April 3 – The forest understory seems slow to come alive this spring.
  • April 2 – Watched largest herd of deer we have ever seen grazing together, 9 in total
  • April 1 – First nats flying out and around
  • March 31 – Daffodils looking sad after overnight temps into the 20’s
  • March 31 – The petite purple buds of wild vinca are now showing on the forest floor a week earlier than last year
  • March 30 – First worms and slugs out in great numbers crossing our roads during heavy rains
  • March 29 – The lakes are at full level for the first time in over a year
  • March 28 – Wild thorny gooseberry blooming
  • March 27 – Garden forsythia plants are one of the first to bloom this year
  • March 23 – A large group of rare Lesser Scaup ducks are floating our lake in pairs.
  • March 22 – First spider seen scurrying across a road.
  • March 22 – Buds appearing on red maples.
  • March 21 – First daffodils spotted opening up, about a week later than last year.
  • March 17 – Birds searching for mates and defending their territory have started flying into windows to fight their own reflection.
  • March 16 – First wild onions of the forest edges coming up through ground cover of leaves
  • March 15 – First small buds seen on forest bushes and ornamental trees.
  • March 13 – First hint of green in along the edges of forests with wild onions seen peeking up, a week later than last year.
  • March 10 – First pairs of geese seen together looking for areas to nest.
  • March 7 – First worm seen on a road after a rain.
  • March 5 – Dead box turtle found. Did he come out of hibernation too early and caught in the cold of the past week?
  • March 3 – March begins with near record-breaking cold weather near zero, and more snow and ice on the ground. More than two feet of snow has fallen this year, much greater than previous years. What must all the wildlife be doing compared to previous years where the temps were unseasonably warm already.
  • Feb. 23 – Despite the long cold winter, daffodils and other bulb perennials have risen about an inch above their mulch beds.
  • Feb. 16 – Another weekend winter snow so unlike the past few years; last year it was in the 70’s already with daffodils already popping up
  • Feb. 14 – First group of blue birds found on Valentine’s Day at bird feeders as an extra snowy winter continues on