Archives for The Nature of Phenology

The Nature of Phenology 7/20/19: Pickerelweed Blooming

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

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

In my book, the plentiful pickerelweed need no more virtue than being abundant and beautiful during the dog days of summer. The lavender flower spikes may be the most conspicuous feature on this small aquatic plant, but every bit of this plant is spectacular.

The Nature of Phenology 7/13/19: Great Horned Owls

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

Great Horned Owls 7/13/19

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

I distinctly remember my first owl observation as a child: I watched a great horned owl soar across my backyard river in broad daylight, then perch on a branch and stare right back at me. This time of year provides a heightened chance for just that kind of owl observation because great horned owls are busily out hunting more than usual to feed their growing chicks.

The Nature of Phenology 7/6/19: Japanese Beetles

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

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

At this point in the year, you may have already started to notice the handiwork of Japanese beetles. While they can be a nuisance, Japanese beetles might be tied with the electric blue six-spotted tiger beetle in a beauty contest of Maine beetles.

The Nature of Phenology 6/29/19: Milkweed

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

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

Why should this small unassuming plant create something so beautiful and so sweetly scented? The theologist may argue that it’s proof of a greater divine plan. The ecologist may argue that it is an enticing indicator of nectar meant to reward diligent pollinators that aid in milkweed reproduction. The honeybee would eschew such idle speculation and remind us that it’s time to get back to work before the flowers pass with the season.

The Nature of Phenology 6/22/19: Great Blue Herons

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

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

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to watch a solitary heron seeking food, you know that they are the epitome of patience. Long, thin legs and neck provide an ideal vantage point from which the bird can wait motionless in shallow fresh or saltwater as a dagger-like bill points at unsuspecting prey. Their wispy pale blue-gray feathers always match the background, whether it’s a cloudy sky, a stormy sea, or a placid pond.

The Nature of Phenology 6/15/19: Milbridge 3rd Graders Share Spring Phenology

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

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

Since the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, I have been taking some students and their teachers at Milbridge Elementary School outside each week to learn about nature here in Downeast Maine. This spring, they were excited about paying attention to phenology and sharing what they observed with you since there are so many exciting things going on during spring. They practiced their observation, writing, and reading skills outdoors all spring and on May 9th we sat under a spruce tree together behind their school where I recorded them sharing their writing.

The Nature of Phenology 6/8/19: Phoebes

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

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

It seems like nearly everyone who lives in Maine has had a phoebe nest on or very near their home. They are easy to identify by ear because phoebes yell their own name. But they are also quite easy to identify by sight due to their habit of bobbing their tail up and down when perched and their characteristic short flights to snatch their insect prey with their small bills adapted perfectly for the job.

The Nature of Phenology 6/8/19: Nutrient Cycling

Producers: Hazel Stark & Joe Horn
Host: Hazel Stark

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

At one point in time the matter that makes up the coffee you are drinking right now was probably a blade of grass, or a cow, or even a dinosaur. This process is intimately familiar to the organic farmer who spends their time worrying about composting food as much as they do about growing it. I find this nutrient cycling to be profoundly comforting because it is so tangible. I can sink my hands into a pile of well-rotted compost, feel the warmth, and apply it to a bed of carrots and know that this year’s carrots will grow from last year’s scraps.