As one might expect, April threw a little bit of everything at us, from rain & hail to deep freeze to hot dry days to absurdly splendid ones. Lots of birds showing up, lots of animals becoming active, lots of plants and trees springing to life. It’s a good month for photography and outdoor distraction, so this will be a fun photo essay of things we’ve seen as part of our normal lives working the land.
April began with some heavy rain, almost 4″ in 24 hours, though far less than the nearly 7″ received in southern Boone County. Falling on cold, dormant soil, this caused some impressive erosion in the woods, but our permanent beds with mulch and sod aisles held up pretty well. The network of vole tunnels provided a form of tiling, with several holes pumping out water like a spring!
It may not feel like it, but the month continues our long-running dry trend, particularly in terms of soil moisture. The early heavy rain mostly ran off toward the Gulf rather than soaking in, and up here we haven’t received much else. Technically it was an above-average month, but that obscures an on-the-ground reality that greening trees & grasses are quickly absorbing the “just-average” precipitation without changing the 5+ month drought we’re in. We finished with a series of drizzly days that felt wet, but actually didn’t produce much accumulation. Don’t be fooled; drought is still here for many farmers, especially those who weren’t right under the various paths of thunderstorms.
Then we had the deep freeze, a night which went well into the 20s and did some minor crop damage while forcing us to put in a bunch of effort covering/uncovering crops to avoid more impact. In the end, it scared us more than it hurt us and left some pretty ice crystals on flowers and pear tree buds.
Spring finally began to arrive with the first wildflowers, though some early plants also suffered from the hard freeze.
Interesting insects began to appear.
Snakes have been really active in the last half of this month, including the Prairie Kingsnake and Yellow-Bellied Racer seen below. Other observed species include Black Rat Snake, Prairie Ring-necked Snake, and more.
Other critters are getting down to business, like this poorly-located Carolina Wren nest, and this resplendent male Three-Toed Box Turtle.
A few hours spent exploring our stream with some friends’ families produced a few marvelous discoveries, including a crayfish and these two tropically-colored darters.
A somewhat low bird count for this month likely reflects the cold spring. Many species actually arrived a bit earlier than last year, but others we never saw at all.
|Great Blue Heron||x||x||x||x|
|Great Horned Owl||x|
|Black-Throated Green Warbler||4/27||4/30|
|American Tree Sparrow||x|