Here in Philadelphia…the temperature is fluctuating as it does in spring. Today (Friday, March 24th) is chilly and rainy. The sky is covered with stratus clouds. The sky is covered with these low foggy clouds. Rain has been drizzling down all morning. Stratus clouds are only 10,000 feet or less above the ground.
I am busy planting seeds, caring for seedlings in anticipation of the growing season. I look through last year’s garden journal to hopefully, learn from last years failures and successes.
I’m looking forward to going on field trips with my birding group, In Color Birding. I’m really for another challenging year trying to identify warblers.
Last year I learned to identify Yellow Warblers (as opposed to all the other yellow colored warblers). Also I learned Black-and-white, Cerulean, Northern Parula, and Blackburnian Warblers. I started with the warblers that are distinctive form the rest. And this is restricted the the males. Female warblers often yellow or olive colored. I don’t want to drive myself insane.
Birding for Beginners at Bethany Beach Nature Center
I’m scheduled to hold a talk and walk for new birders at the Bethany Beach Nature Center on April, 15, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. The session will teach birders how to use their binoculars, how to find and communicate the location of birds, and how to prepare for a field trip. If you are in the area, come join us.
Do You Know What Insects are the Earliest Fliers in Spring?
On February 26, I was outside starting vegetable seeds, and tiny flying insects hovered around my head, curiously checking me out. I wondered who is this hardy little soul who is flying in this chilly 40 degree F?. The birds must be elated. If the insects are flying can insect-eating birds be far behind?
Stoneflies are usually the first insects to fly in late winter and early spring. Adult stoneflies only live for a wek or two and spend most of their time mating and breeding. The females deposit egg masses into the cold running water of streams. The larvae live at the bottom of lakes and streams feeding on living and dead plant material.
Stoneflies mature larvae crawl onto rocks and metamorphosize into adults. The adults are weak fliers. Adults feed on algae, lichens, pollen, or nectar. We still don’t know the food preferences of most adult stonefly species.
The flying insects along streams and lakes during spring, these are very likely some of the 600 species of stoneflies north of Mexico. Stoneflies are classified in Order Plecoptera.There are about 2,000 species known worldwide.
Season Dates for April 2023
Vernal (Spring) Equinox March 20th to June 20th
Summer Solstice June 21st to September 22nd
In the Moon in April 2023
- March 21st – New Pink Moon (Budding or When Geese Lay Eggs Moon)
- April 6th – Full Pink Moon – Full Moon always rises near sunset
- April 13th – Last Quarter Pink Moon – Last Quarter rises near midnight
- April 20th – New Planting Moon (also Flower Moon) – New moon always rises near sunrise
- April 27th – First Quarter Planting Moon – First Quarter rises near noon
- Moonrise occurs about 50 minutes later each day
The Pink Moon is named for the flowering of pink colored phlox flowers. These are among the earliest of the spring flowers to bloom.
The Budding Moon is when the buds of trees, shrubs, and flowers birst open and bloom.
When Geese Lay Eggs means the mating and breeding season has begun. We wouldn’t want to hunt geese now as they are busy making more geese.
The Planting Moon corresponds with the disappearance of the Pleiades star cluster in the night sky. The time for freezing frosts is over. It’s during this Moon that gardener’s can plant the corps that need to be planted once the danger of frost has passed. These dates are different depending where you live.
Find your frost dates on National Gardening Association website.
Nature Journaling Prompts for April 2023
Create a Flower Clock
Flowers bloom in a predictable sequence every year. In my garden I know the first flowers to bloom are Snowdrops. Then daffodils, grape hyacinths then tulips. These are all bulbs and none are indigenous to North America. Except for the daffodils, all were planted by a former neighbor. Record the sequence of bloom in your garden or local park.
Northward Bird Migration
The Neotropical birds are on the move northward to their breeding grounds. Now is a great time to grab a pair of binoculars and head over to a local park to see what species you can spot. What species will you see first?
A big event for birders, is about to begin. Warblers, those little quick-moving birds will soon arrive to frustrate and enchant birders again this spring. Warblers like most songbirds migrate at night and stopover during the day to refuel by eating insects and insect eggs. The males will be in full breeding plumage of strong colors (plenty of yellows), blues, and high contrast black and white. Get outside and enjoy the spectacle.
That’s it for this issue. Look for the next issue before May 1, 2023.