Arb Sightings 10/14/10

Posted on October 14th, 2010 by

As our Indian Summer begins to taper off this weekend, temperatures will become more October-like. The forecast for next week shows highs in the mid-50’s to low 60’s, and lows might reach the low 30’s and give us a few frosty mornings here in southern Minnesota. It appears that this current dry spell that only amounted to 0.01 inches of rain last Saturday morning will continue through next weekend as well, with only a small chance of rain early next week.

These unseasonably warm temperatures are having an observable effect on Mother Nature. On Tuesday 10/12, a couple Monarch butterflies were seen nectaring in the gardens around the Interpretive Center; this is almost a week later than observations of the last ones last year, and this year’s individuals seemed in no hurry to push south. Many songbirds, particularly American Robins and Eastern Bluebirds, have begun singing snippets of their spring songs again; during fall migration the younger birds are known to do this to some extent, but adults have also been adding to the repertoire this week. Thirteen-lined Ground-Squirrels are still very common around the Arb as they actively forage for seeds; usually at this time of year they are becoming a bit more wary as they prepare for winter hibernation. Amphibians–including Gray Treefrogs, Northern Leopard Frogs, and American Toads–can still be easily found around the Interpretive Center; usually by now these creatures are seeking out spots for hibernation if not already there. Finally, flowers are still blooming with great vigor in nearly all the gardens surrounding the Interpretive Center, as even the annuals have yet to be touched by the first killing frost.

Here are some other highlights from this week in the Arb:

– ‘Stella d’Oro’ Daylilies still blooming in Thornberg Garden on east side of Interpretive Center 10/14

– Winter Wren foraging in conifer meditation area on west side of Jones Northern Forest Ponds 10/13

– Eastern Black Swallowtail nectaring on New England Aster in Thornberg Garden 10/13

– Baseball-sized American Toad foraging in grass north of Interpretive Center parking lot 10/12

– 19 migrant Le Conte’s Sparrows (a new species for the Arb) foraging in southern half of Coneflower Prairie 10/11

One of 19 migrant Le Conte's Sparrows foraging in southern half of Coneflower Prairie, 10/11/10.


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