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Phenology Talkbacks: Fledgling bird bonanza

A Tree Swallow parent feeds its baby in Comfort Township, Minnesota on June 26, 2024. The fledgling is perched on a power wire and is flapping its wings and extending its neck. The parent is landing on next to it and leaning toward the fledgling.
Contributed
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iNaturalist user laterlars
A Tree Swallow parent feeds its baby in Comfort Township, Minnesota on June 26, 2024.
Please share your observations, nature tales and insights! Send them to me (cmitchell@kaxe.org), John Latimer (jlatimer@kaxe.org), or text us at 218-326-1234.

Charlie near Stillwater

Charlie phenology report: July 2, 2024

“During our canoe excursions this week, my wife and I discovered that the floods have wrought some impressive changes to the river. In our area, the St. Croix River runs from a third to a half-mile wide. The main channel is just a tenth of a mile wide here, so most of the river’s area is comprised of islands and backwaters.

“Many small channels weave through the island and backwaters. Hayley and I have our favorites, which we travel frequently. One of them is a fast, S-shaped stream that leads to a gorgeous backwater, filled with all sorts of critters. When we headed that way this weekend, we discovered that a whole portion of land had sunk under and washed away; the S-shape is now just a thin squiggle.

“The currents running through the area have completely changed. Where once it ran fast, sometimes going in the opposite direction of the main channel, the area is now a slow-moving pool. It’s disconcerting but also interesting to see geology happening on a small scale right in front of me.

“The floodwaters have nearly eliminated the shallow areas that arrowheads, cattails, and lily pads grew last year. I’ve been wondering what happens to all the small fishes, frogs, dragonflies, and other critters that are usually found in those habitats.

“The last thing I wanted to mention is the flood of fledglings that have emerged over the last week. We now have active families of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, chickadees, Hairy, Downy, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, and cardinals visiting our feeders! We also have multiple families of House Wrens building nests nearby.

“That’s all for me! This has been Charlie Mitchell, going hither and thither on the St. Croix River.”

Season Watch Facebook feature

Season Watch Facebook feature: July 2, 2024

On the Season Watch Facebook page, people have observed young orioles feeding at fruit and jelly feeders, fuzzy cygnets swimming with their parents, and a beautiful crab spider sitting on a lady-slipper.  

Some of Charlie’s favorites included Don Gunderson’s photos of a grey fox and an incredible set of close-up images of colorful fungi near Bemidji, taken by the aptly named Josh Sporre.

Three tiny purple stem-and-cap mushrooms grow near Bemidji on June 29, 2024.
Contributed
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Josh Sporre via the KAXE-KBXE Season Watch Facebook group
Three tiny purple stem-and-cap mushrooms grow near Bemidji on June 29, 2024.

Carol from Eveleth: Plants and pollinators at the Sax-Zim Bog

Carol from Eveleth: Plants and pollinators at the Sax-Zim Bog

Wanda: Robin nest survival

Wanda nest success: July 2, 2024

What have you seen out there? Let us know: email us at comments@kaxe.org or text us at 218-326-1234.

That does it for this week! For more phenology, subscribe to our Season Watch Newsletter or visit the Season Watch Facebook page.

Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).

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Charlie Mitchell (she/they) joined KAXE in February of 2022. Charlie creates the Season Watch Newsletter, produces the Phenology Talkbacks show, coordinates the Phenology in the Classroom program, and writes nature-related stories for KAXE's website. Essentailly, Charlie is John Latimer's faithful sidekick and makes sure all of KAXE's nature/phenology programs find a second life online and in podcast form.<br/><br/><br/>With a background in ecology and evolutionary biology, Charlie enjoys learning a little bit about everything, whether it's plants, mushrooms, or the star-nosed mole. (Fun fact: Moles store fat in their tails, so they don't outgrow their tunnels every time conditions are good.)