2019 List of Topics

Phenology year - A December dance - Posted December 2019

The final month and the final decade of 2019. December brings an abundance of birds, silent wings of owls, brief encounters with wildlife in twilight hours, activity of winter animals within the grasslands, the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Winter has begun. Happy New Year to everyone.

Phenology year - November nuance - Posted November 2019

The colors of fall brings great contrast to the out-of-doors. Migration continues, mammals are continuing to gorge and cache foods for the winter ahead. November is a time to reacquaint yourself with the woodlands and discover the life on the forest floor. It's also time to prepare for feeding the birds to enjoy, learn, and spend good family moments.

Phenology year - autumn is awesome - Posted October 2019

The prairie colors are fading and the big bluestem and Indiangrass are making their colorful statements. Long distance migrants begin their south-bound journey. Insect ‘retirement’ is occurring, monarchs have headed to Mexico, but other butterflies are being seen. The orb weaver spiders are in abundance and the snakes are in peak migration.

Phenology year - fall is around the corner - Posted September 2019

The month of August is a mad rush of preparing for fall. Prairies are blooming with yellows and golds. The Iowa State bird, the goldfinch, is nesting and hatch year bald eagles are gaining confidence. Rose mallow, common boneset, great blue lobelia are blooming and rough blazing star is reaching from the cliffs. August is a great month for butterflies, especially the red-spotted purple. Shorebirds are gathering and muskrats are caching food.

Phenology year - summer winding down - Posted August 2019

The month of July was a hot one. Young bald eagles of the year are trying out their wings and hunting skills. Monarchs eggs and caterpillars are continuing into their second generation. Numerous butterflies and moths are out and about gathering nectar. The prairies are getting brighter with color and our Iowa's state bird, the American Goldfinch begins its nesting at the end of the month.

Phenology year - and it's summer - Posted July 2019

As we gear up for the summer blooms of the prairie, we see antlers covered in velvet about to reach their full growth, frogs emerging, young birds learning new skills, eagles testing their wings, butterflies galore, and find plans for building a toad house!

Phenology year - gear up for grasslands - Posted June 2019

Wildlife young are growing up FAST! Eagle young are branching and testing out their abilities around their home base. Young turkeys and pheasants are being seen parading through their areas. Monarch eggs, caterpillars and butterflies are being located, fruits and nuts are beginning to appear in our wild areas, and the grasslands are beginning to flourish.

Phenology year - blink and you missed something - Posted May 2019

May is a huge migration month in Central Iowa. Woodpeckers, kinglets, great blue herons, purple martins, blackbirds, and many species of sparrows have all been bringing our area back to life. Pollinators are beginning to locate first spring wildflowers. Henry’s elfin butterflies were located as well as many other spring butterflies. Redbud trees are in bloom.

Phenology year - did you see that? - Posted April 2019

April brought hundreds of bald eagles to Lake Red Rock. The adult pelicans passed through the area on the way to their northern breeding grounds. Turkey vultures begin making their return to Iowa. Snow trillium is blooming and great-horned owlets are getting big! Resident eagles’ eggs are hatching. The boreal chorus frogs are singing loudly!

Phenology year - who's ready for March? - Posted March 2019

March brought noticeable seasonal changes. The snow and ice have left us and the migration of breeding birds like American white pelicans, snow geese, greater white-fronted geese, common mergansers, and goldeneye will be here and gone. Great Horned Owlets and eaglets are growing. Early spring wildflowers are blooming. Pollination has begun. Time to get outside!

Phenology year - the beauties and beasts of winter - Posted February 2019

The month of February brought more sporadic weather events to the Midwest… snow, cold, ice, and rain. This month brings longer days, the first of egg laying for Midwest bald eagles, courtship songs, and glimpses of winter visitors from the north.

A phenology year - Posted January 2019

For each month of 2019, we’re going to follow the same format… looking at changes in the landscape through photos, looking back at what we’ve seen the last month, looking closer at something for greater understanding, an activity to help us dig deeper, and a look ahead for what we expect to observe. For January we had sun dogs, magnificent sunsets, winter survival in an arctic blast, great horned owls preparing to nest, eagles securing their territory, a winter activity to try and a weekly challenge of change in our landscape.