Naturalist News – March 2011

Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)

Finally, winter is almost over. I like winter, but enough already. I had to shovel one to many snowstorms, to really enjoy the snow. It was too much snow. I modest 4 – 6 (all winter) inches would have been plenty, instead of the double digits we had.

Have you noticed the first signs of spring? I saw my first flock of Robins this week. In the Philadelphia area American Robins retreat (migrate) to the shelter of woodlands. They don’t really migrate to another area, they just move a short distance.

Nature Calendar: March

Nature in Spring: An overview of the season.

Spring Equinox – spring begins March 20th

New Moon – March 4th
First Quarter Moon- March 12th
Full Moon Moon- March 19th
Last Quarter Moon- March 26th

Animals: Chipmunks emerge from hibernation

Birds: Waterfowl begin northward migration, Early nesting species begin breeding, you begin to hear birds songs

Flowers: In bloom – Skunk Cabbage, Snow Trillium, Marsh Marigold, Spicebush, American Hazelnut

Trees: Tree buds swell, pollen released

What to Observe (and sketch and photograph) Right Now

Weather and Ecosystems

  1. Is it really rainy? How many rainy days are there?
  2. If there is a vernal pond near you, record the changes and happenings there.
  3. If you travel out of your region, notice what is happening in places away from your home.
  4. Keep track of the lengthening days. What time does the sun rise and set?
Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)
Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)
Plants
  1. Draw or photograph the new buds on trees.
  2. Keep a nature calendar of blooming flowers. Learn about blooming sequences and phenology.
  3. How many wind-pollinated trees are in your neighborhood?
  4. Draw the parts and structure of flowers.

Animals

  1. Keep an eye out for road kills. Road kills can tell you what animals share your home area with you.
  2. Keep a list and draw the first butterflies. When do they emerge? Study their life cycles using butterfly identification and natural history guides.
  3. What insects emerge first?
  4. Listen for the first chorus of frogs
  5. Learn the differences between bumblebees, honey bees and other bees and wasps.

Birds

  1. Keep track of which migrating birds arrive first.
  2. Listen for the start of bird song. Try to learn the songs of two or three species.
  3. Take notice of the shrubs and trees where birds build their nests and establish territory.
  4. Watch birds has they go about their life cycle of migration, courtship and raising young.

Weather and Ecosystems

  1. Is it really rainy? How many rainy days are there?
  2. If there is a vernal pond near you, record the changes and happenings there.
  3. If you travel out of your region, notice what is happening in places away from your home.
  4. Keep track of the lengthening days. What time does the sun rise and set?


Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (female)
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (female)

Citizen Science to Participate In:

Project Feederwatch
Project Feederwatch is still going on. It ends the first Friday in April and you can still participate. I have been entering my data all winter. I like the feeling of helping out the birds by monitoring their abundance. http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/index.html


Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2011 Migration
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird have been spotted in Northern Florida. This is the only species of hummingbird regularly seen in our area. In several weeks they will be in our area. Hummingbird,net has a map which shows where the birds have been spotted.http://www.hummingbirds.net/map.html

Migration Northward has Begun
You can keep
an eye on the process of spring at The Journey North. The program is for students K-12. It focuses on observing the progress of animal migration and seasonal change. http://www.learner.org/jnorth/


Until next month, Enjoy the beauty.

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