Archives for Mainely Phenology

Mainely Phenology 4/21/18

Producers/Hosts: Hazel Stark and Joe Horn

Smelts

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at mainelyphenology.wordpress.com

While we humans spent the last month shaking off the four Nor’easters that swept across New England week after week, the little silvery smelts were ponderously ascending tidal rivers across the state. By the third week in March, the tiny fish—often only six to twelve inches long—found themselves at the head of the tide in the larger rivers.

Mainely Phenology 4/14/18

Producers/Hosts: Hazel Stark and Joe Horn

Wood Frogs

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at mainelyphenology.wordpress.com

While winter helped us hone our sense of sight as we looked for the rare sign of lengthening days, once the snow has mostly melted, the ice on brooks and streams has melted and flowed away, and the mats of autumn’s dropped leaves have finally begun to yield to the new green life insisting on bursting through, our ears become piqued to the new sounds of the season. One of my favorite signs of spring is the not at all melodious sound of the wood frog’s vernal chorus.

Mainely Phenology 4/7/18

Producers/Hosts: Hazel Stark and Joe Horn

Poplar Buds

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at mainelyphenology.wordpress.com

Poplar, quaking aspen, popple… call them what you will. Long before the snow has completely melted out of the forests and fields of Maine, before the wood frogs wake up and sing their unmelodious tunes, and while other tree buds are just beginning to plump with verdant life, the fast growing poplar tree’s buds are swollen, fluffy, and will burst at any moment. They are one of the earliest trees in our Northern tier forests to shake off the cold and snow of winter and begin to take advantage of the increasing light, warmth and moisture of early spring.

Mainely Phenology 3/31/18

Producers/Hosts: Hazel Stark and Joe Horn

Ravens

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at mainelyphenology.wordpress.com

January and February had owls calling solemnly to mates in the deep freezes of winter nights and coyotes courting in secluded dens of forest and field. For ravens, this process takes months of congregating, pairing off, courting, rebuilding old nests, and then eventually laying and caring for a clutch of eggs and young. This time of year, ravens are revisiting their old haunts to spruce up their old nests and preparing for laying eggs.

Mainely Phenology 3/24/18

Producers/Hosts: Hazel Stark and Joe Horn

Early Stoneflies

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at mainelyphenology.wordpress.com

The young wiggle their twin tails, do a series of pushups with their many legs, and begin creeping over the stones and rocks of their watery domain. One by one they inch their way with grapnel-like claws up a sheer rock face and emerge into frigid air. Appearing to pause to catch their breath, their back begins to heave, stretch, and then bursts open. As the skin-like shell of this beast ruptures, out pops an eye, an antenna, a twisted damp wing, a leg… and then 5 more legs.

Mainely Phenology 3/17/18

Producers/Hosts: Hazel Stark and Joe Horn

Skunk Cabbage

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at mainelyphenology.wordpress.com

Differences between cold-blooded and warm-blooded animals seem pretty clear: there are those rely on their surroundings to keep them warm enough whereas there are those, like ourselves, that are able to create their own heat through metabolic processes. But what about the living things that aren’t animals? Do they, can they, will they create their own heat? In the case of skunk cabbages, the answer is yes. Not only do they flower early, but also they are so eager to bloom that the tip of their curled shoot can be found melting its way through the last of our slushy hard-packed snow.

Mainely Phenology 3/10/18

Producers/Hosts: Hazel Stark and Joe Horn

Snow Fleas

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at mainelyphenology.wordpress.com

Don’t get too disdainful of snow yet, because this is a prime time of year to keep an eye out for the silent surprising appearance of hopping pepper-like specks: snow fleas. I’m sure you’ve seen them, but if you haven’t seen them, they’ve definitely seen you.

Mainely Phenology 3/3/18

Producers/Hosts: Hazel Stark and Joe Horn

Maple Sugar

Photos, a full transcript, references, contact information, and more available at mainelyphenology.wordpress.com

There has always been something special about maple snow. The delicate wild flavor of the maple syrup is not masked by a toasty pancake, nor hidden by a pasty pile of oats. Snow adds almost no flavor to compete with the maple—assuming you stick with the fresh pure white stuff. Although our changing climate has complicated the timing of the harvest from year to year, late February and early March is typically the season for tapping maple trees, boiling down sap, and making perfection by the jugful.