Photo by Corey Husic

Monday, April 25, 2011

Phenology Notes - April 22-25th in Kunkletown, PA

The changes here in the southwest corner of Monroe County just north of the Kittatinny Ridge come later than they do in Bethlehem.  Because I drive to the Lehigh Valley for work each day, it is as if I get to observe spring coming twice!

Over the past few weeks, a male kestrel has been seen hunting over our field and perched in snags and trees along the edges of the field.  This past weekend, perhaps a gift for Earth Day weekend, a female appeared.  It would be great to have a breeding pair -- a first on our property since we moved here in 1995.  This species is in decline in the eastern U.S., so this would be a good sign.

On April 24th, the first Black-and-white Warblers and Ovenbirds appeared on our property.  The Black-and-whites show up along the edges of the woods and in our fruit trees while the Ovenbirds are in the forest.

Ovenbird (Photo by Corey Husic)
Today, we saw and heard the first Prairie Warblers of the season!  Black-throated Green Warblers have been seen as well.

Prairie Warbler (Photo by Corey Husic)

The Field Sparrows, Eastern Towhees, Chipping Sparrows, House Finches and Goldfinches have been singing away today - joining the Robins, Cardinals, Phoebes, Crows, Tree Swallows, etc.  I saw barn swallows flying around and the Ruby-throated Hummingbird has been hanging around for a few days now.  (I first heard of one spotted in the Lehigh Valley - south of Easton on April 15th.)  The American Toads have been noisy all day as well.

Last fall when I brought in some plants that I store indoors for the winter, an unexpected guest came along for the ride - a Northern Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor).  He basically hibernated in the dirt all winter, sometimes opening his eyes when we watered the plant!  Over the weekend, Corey heard the treefrogs calling so he decided it was time to release our basement dweller.  He loved the warm humid weather and rain.
Our winter basement inhabitant (Photo by H. David Husic)
You can hear the song at

The violets are now in bloom all around the yard having first bloomed on April 22nd. 

On April 24th, the first Red Maple leaves were spotted (although still small) and the large Serviceberrys in the woods showed their first flowers and today, a day later, they appear to be in full bloom.  Our young Serviceberry planted near one of our native plant gardens is a bit farther behind.  The leaves are also starting to appear. 

Amelanchier sp. flower buds and first leaves

At their peak, I can look out at the Kittatinny Ridge from our deck and see the white "clouds" of flowers scattered along the ridge. This is not the case yet on the north side of the mountain.

Below are some additional pictures of our yard today, April 25th.

Our weeping cherry.  You can't hear them, but hundreds of bees and wasps are buzzing around the flowers.

The Solomon's Seal are up about 8 inches.

The hostas are up to around 5 inches.

The forsythia are reaching their peak and the spirea are getting leaves.  No sign of buds on the sour cherry yet.
While many daffodils began to bloom some time ago, these peach colored ones are later blooming.
Close-up of the weeping cherry flowers.

In the woods, the fiddleheads for hay-scented fern are up and around the house, the cinnamon fern fiddleheads are about a foot high.  The apple trees are starting to leaf out and blossom buds are forming.

I love this time of year!

1 comment:

  1. I love this time of year too! The House Wrens have returned and are eagerly stuffing all of the nest boxes full. My Wood Poppies are blooming as is the Dogwood, and my Trilliums are poking their heads above the leaf litter. Life is good :)