Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Phenology for 5/25/11

Foggy morning; humid, but mostly sunny day. As usually happens when a tornado warning is issued, we got a thunderstorm; some very heavy rain, but the thunder and lightning seemed mostly on the other side of the mountain.

Birds: A native sparrow, smaller and more reddish-brown than the usual English sparrows, was perched on the side of the woodshed when I went out this morning. On the way to the computer center I had good clear views of a bluejay and a pair of mourningdoves, as well as the usual starlings, crows, and pigeons. (Gate City has a thriving population of Central Park type pigeons; they like to flock on the courthouse roof.)

Flowers: Wild white roses are almost gone; wild red roses haven't bloomed yet. This has been a very strange year for wildflowers, with warm sunny days coaxing some of them to bloom early and late frosts keeping others from blooming. Some people's irises in town have bloomed on schedule. My yellow bearded iris, which usually blooms late, sometimes in July, started blooming in the first week of May, has lost several blooms to frosts and storms, and is still budding and blooming. My blue bearded iris haven't started blooming yet, giant iris hasn't put forth a bud either, and Japanese Dwarf irises don't seem to be doing anything this year. Vetch, clover, and honeysuckle are blooming profusely now.

Butterflies: Species that are common year-round actually have multiple generations in a season. On schedule, most of the Tiger Swallowtails are gone. Whites are now predominant. I saw the first Fritillary of the season this morning. One large, dark butterfly had a drab color and tired look, and might have been the last Tiger Swallowtail. More about Tiger Swallowtails forthcoming.