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NORTHWOODS NATURE JOURNAL: The sweet sounds, sights of spring

Spring peepers are chorusing and some trees and plants are blooming, like sweet coltsfoot, hepaticas, leatherwoods, poplars, maples and hazels.

From his dock on Shingobee Lake this week, Dallas Hudson watched this pair of loons at sunrise.

As I am writing this, it is April 26, and I do not have one thing on my list that is early. I do not recall this ever happening before; let alone that a month ago, on average, we were two weeks early.

Let me back up. February we got a blast of near record cold. Then March came in like a lamb and well-above =0average temperatures and lots of stuff started showing up. A fair bit of it was early, but after the first couple days of April the brakes slammed on and hard.

My 25-year trends show this as a normal, even with March trending warmer and April cooler, but not at this extreme. I’m afraid this may become more of a concern than any warming we may see.

We are within a half degree Celsius of Shingobee surface water temps the day the ice went out 20 days ago on April 6. What is that going to do to spawning for pike and walleye? Frogs? And ground-nesting birds, like geese and mallards?

Some lakes and the small ponds even refroze, then thawed again.


Yet we still have some plants in bloom – sweet coltsfoot, hepaticas, leatherwoods, and I have seen one marsh marigold.

Poplars, maples and hazels are in bloom.

Some days the wood and chorus frogs are calling and a few spring peepers.

I have seen a few overwintering butterflies, but no dragonflies yet.

We should soon see painted turtles sunning on banks and logs, or garter snakes. We’ll soon hear the sweet, sad song of the white-throated sparrow and that of the veery and hermit thrush – all such wonderful singers. Dragonflies soon will take wing, and green leaves appear on poplars. The next few days should bring in the next wave of birds and lots of greening and flowers. It’s a wonderful time of year to get out and enjoy nature.

An outdoorsman all his life, Dallas Hudson grew up in Akeley. He tracks the birds, animals, insects, plants of northern Minnesota in his daily journals. Hudson shares his nature observations and photos with KAXE’s Season Watch, the Minnesota Phenology Network and the Park Rapids Enterprise. He works at an official field camp of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on Shingobee Lake, near Akeley.

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