Progress of the Seasons Journal: 30 May – 5 June, 1827-1862.


Here’s a summary of seasonal events from the archives. Perhaps more than some other periods, this seems to be a week that illustrates the wide ‘mood swings’ in the data even here in Columbia County, from Spring-like Apple flowering to early Summer-like ripe Peas.

One possible use for data like these is to evaluate past climatic patterns and one purported pattern now under renewed inspection is the so-called Little Ice Age, a history-twisting cold snap said to have lasted from roughly 1350 to 1850 (for more detail, see this or this).

Some scientists are now suggesting that, while there was some undeniably rough weather during this period, it was nothing that stood apart from the weather of much of the preceding period. They further propose that the large historical effects (e.g., decline of the Vikings, European crop changes) attributed to it are not borne out by inspection. Our data certainly won’t settle that question, but it would be interesting to see if our data from 1827-1850 differ markedly from those of 1850-1862. Not there yet….

A Wild Indigo Duskywing rests on the flowers of Birdsfoot Trefoil. A somewhat rare species a century or so ago (how many times have you seen Wild Indigo?), this is now one of our most common Duskywings given its acceptance of Crown Vetch as caterpillar food. CLICK TO ENLARGE

A Wild Indigo Duskywing rests on the flowers of Birdsfoot Trefoil. A somewhat rare species a century or so ago (how many times have you seen Wild Indigo?), this is now one of our most common Duskywings given its acceptance of Crown Vetch as caterpillar food.


A pair of Longhorned beetles court on flowering Grey Dogwood. CLICK TO ENLARGE

A pair of Longhorned beetles court on flowering Grey Dogwood.


A fresh Question Mark butterfly rests in the sun. Caterpillars feed on Elm and other plants. CLICK TO ENLARGE

A fresh Question Mark butterfly rests in the sun. Caterpillars feed on Elm and other plants.


A Tree Swallow peeks from what was probably meant as a Bluebird house. Swallows frequently take over such houses, but putting up paired houses can apparently help because the Swallows will not tolerate other Swallow neighbors but are less concerned about having Bluebirds next door. CLICK TO ENLARGE

A Tree Swallow peeks from what was probably meant as a Bluebird house. Swallows frequently take over such houses, but putting up paired houses can apparently help because the Swallows will not tolerate other Swallow neighbors but are less concerned about having Bluebirds next door.



A sharp Hobomok Skipper. We find these most often in edgy areas where forest meets field. Caterpillars feed on a variety of grasses. CLICK TO ENLARGE

A sharp Hobomok Skipper. We find these most often in edgy areas where forest meets field. Caterpillars feed on a variety of grasses.



Mayapple in bloom. Fruits, which can be poisonous to humans when green, are apparently a favored Box Turtle food. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Mayapple in bloom. Fruits, which can be poisonous to humans when green, are apparently a favored Box Turtle food.



A juvenile Red-tailed Hawk surveys the field. The surrounding song birds seemed none too concerned about this visitor, perhaps because song birds don't top the diet of this species and because this individual's lackadaisical grooming suggested it was none too hungry. CLICK TO ENLARGE

A juvenile Red-tailed Hawk surveys the field. The surrounding song birds seemed none too concerned about this visitor, perhaps because song birds don’t top the diet of this species and because this individual’s lackadaisical grooming suggested it was not particularly hungry.


A Unicorn Clubtail at CLC's Greenport Conservation Public Area rests after being visited by our net and some snoopy biologists. While not an uncommon dragonfly in the State, we've only recorded it once before. CLICK TO ENLARGE

A Unicorn Clubtail at CLC’s Greenport Conservation Public Area rests after being visited by our net and some snoopy biologists. While not an uncommon dragonfly in the State, we’ve only recorded it once before in the County.

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Progress of the Seasons Journal: Late May, 1827-1862.


Spring is arriving head over heals and plunging on into Summer. No attempts here to make sense of it, just a mix of historical data for the last days of May combined with a mish-mash of photographs showing what we’re currently seeing hereabouts and nowabouts.

Solomon's seal

Solomon’s Seal is now at full steam. CLICK TO ENLARGE.


A Juniper Hairstreak form Dutchess County, look for these beautiful butterflies around Red Cedar.

A Juniper Hairstreak form Dutchess County, look for these beautiful butterflies around Red Cedar. CLICK TO ENLARGE.


Ragged Robin, a sporadic non-native in our fields.  CLICK TO ENLARGE.

Ragged Robin, a sporadic non-native in our fields.


Palmate-leafed Violet, now flowering at a rocky area near you.  CLICK TO ENLARGE.

Palmate-leafed Violet, now flowering at a rocky area near you.

Eleagnus (Russian and Summer Olive) is now in sweet-scented bloom in many hedgerows. CLICK TO ENLARGE.
Eleagnus (Russian and Summer Olive) is now in sweet-scented bloom in many hedgerows.


The somewhat spent flowers of Bladdernut; this plant tends to occur on lime areas in our region. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

The somewhat spent flowers of Bladdernut; this plant tends to occur on lime areas in our region.


The most common native butterfly now about is probably the Pearl Crescent. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

The most common native butterfly now about is probably the Pearl Crescent.

Oh yeah, Eastern Tent Caterpillar is also setting up camp, preferably on Cherries. CLICK TO ENLARGE.
Oh yeah, Eastern Tent Caterpillar is also setting up camp, preferably on Cherries.


Forest Tent caterpillar, notice the dotted line along the back as opposed to the Eastern Tent's solid line. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

Forest Tent caterpillar, notice the dotted line along the back as opposed to the Eastern Tent’s solid line.

A Common Yellow Throat, one of our relatively recent warbler arrivals.... Witchity... Witchity.. CLICK TO ENLARGE.
A Common Yellow Throat, one of our relatively recent warbler arrivals…. Witchity… Witchity..


A probable Cabbage White caterpillar making a meal of Garlic Mustard. These two non-natives have probably 'known' each other for eons. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

A probable Cabbage White caterpillar making a meal of Garlic Mustard. These two non-natives have probably ‘known’ each other for eons.

A Beaver Pond Baskettail, amongst our early-flying dragonflies. CLICK TO ENLARGE.
A Beaver Pond Baskettail, amongst our early-flying dragonflies.


A Mayfly who appeared at the time befitting its name. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

A Mayfly who appeared at the time befitting its name.

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Progress of the Seasons Journal: 15 May, 1832-1862.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS THE LAST OF OUR REGULAR PROGRESS OF THE SEASON BLOGS FOR THIS SPRING. The great flush is passing and our own fieldwork is picking up so we will go to a more irregular schedule. We will try to post at least weekly summaries. Thanks for following us this far!

Current Columbia County Phenological Events for 2015: Lily of the Valley and Cypress Spurge near Sheffield, American Wild Currant in Claverack. Dragonflies and butterflies (including Duskywings and Black Swallowtails) popping.


Studer's Birds of North America 1878

A cluster of Passenger Pigeons, from Studer’s “The Birds of North America”. One of not so many contemporary images of multiple roosting Passenger Pigeons, even though this is probably how they spent much of their time.

The Story behind the Headlines:
Alexander Coventry lived just south of the mouth of Stockport Creek in the late 1700s. His detailed dairy is a engrossing to read. Amongst accounts of his days are several references to “pigeon” hunting. Presumably he is referring to Passenger Pigeons. On April 6th, 1789 he reports, “Vast quantities of pigeons in the morning; got nigh a flock with upwards of a 1000”. Earlier, in Sept of 1787, he mentions another hunt in which some people killed as many as 20 a piece near a patch of salty clay where the birds liked to congregate.

Passenger Pigeons were part of the County fauna as they were of the NY fauna. In our phenology data, there are more than 100 notes of “pigeon” arrivals. These are never referred to as “Passenger Pigeons”, that name was not in common use at the time. They are occasionally referred to as “Wild Pigeons”; the then-frequent name for Passenger Pigeons. It seems likely that most if not all of our Pigeon reports are of what we today call Passenger Pigeons. Domestic Pigeons, given their year-around presence, would almost certainly not be tallied in the accounts (and would have probably been called “Doves”). The other possibility is Mourning Doves, but these were apparently commonly referred to as Carolina Doves or, sometimes, Carolina Pigeons. However, there is no reference to such birds, nor to many other common birds, in the data. The dramatic arrival of the roaming Pigeon flocks would certainly have been worthy of note, and so, while I may still be proven wrong and while some errors may have snuck in, I am currently assuming all of our “pigeon” reports in our data refer to this species.

There, caveats aside, I will plunge on.

passenger pigeon from phenology2

The geographical distribution of ‘Pigeon’ records in our phenological data. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

First, it is interesting to use the data to get a NYS Passenger Pigeon distribution map. These roaming birds likely visited almost every part of the State during their periods of greatest abundance (even by the 1800s, they were probably ebbing), so, if anything, our map highlights areas of relatively high use, rather than outlining the species’ complete distribution. Use seems patchy with the Catskills, Adirondacks and central Finger Lakes regions reporting few Pigeon sightings, and the area just west of the Adirondacks appearing to be relatively commonly used.


The geographical distribution of Passenger Pigeon records from Schorger’s 1955 “The Passenger Pigeon”, as tabulated by CLICK TO ENLARGE.

Conveniently, we have another map against which to make comparisons. In 1955, A.W. Shorger did an exhaustive summary of the records of Passenger Pigeon occurrence, and this has since been tabulated on the web by Project Passenger Pigeon. One can also summarize those data for the same period of years and present that as a map. While not identical, that map shows similar ‘holes’ in the birds’ occurrences in the Finger Lakes and Adirondacks regions. Again, this is not a complete map, I only included Schorger’s specific, tabulated county records for the 1832-1860 time period. It’s incomplete; for example, Schorger himself reports great “Hudson Valley” flights and, as already noted, we have explicit earlier records from here in Columbia County.

We can only speculate on what might have helped create the patchy pattern. Reportedly, the birds were often mast eaters, and so presumably would have favored forested areas with ample Oak, Beech, Hickory or Chestnut. They may have thus skirted areas of evergreen forest or extensive farmland. However, they also ate berries and cultivated grains during their seasons, and there are reports of them roosting in evergreens (see for example our accompanying image from Studer).

schorger vs phenology

The relative number of Pigeon records by year in our phenology data (green) and Shorger’s book (black). Certainly not identical, but perhaps some vague parallels. See text. The relative height of records from late in the period are somewhat suspect as the number of participating academies dipped in our sample and as any Passenger Pigeon sighting became more of a news item. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

Passenger Pigeons were erratic, and so our last graph is of the data from the phenology records and Schorger’s publication, summarizing the abundance of records for the period 1832 – 1860. In the phenology data, the number of bird-watching academies varied substantially across this period. To try to control for this somewhat, the phonological data presented are actually based on (Number of Pigeon Sightings) / (Number of Robin Arrival Records). The two data sets, Schorger’s collection of 19th century records and our phenology data, were standardized by dividing the observed value for a given year by the maximum observed value from throughout the whole period. In other words, the % value on the graph is present of maximum observed annual occurrence.

Again, the patterns from the two sources are not identical but they do hint at some patterns. For example, throughout the 1840s, Pigeons seemed rare in the State. This was followed by an uptick in the early 1850s, and possibly, a subsequent drop. Interestingly however there are not clear ‘Pigeon Years’ evidenced by comparing the two data sets. The last few years of the phenology data are suspect because so few stations were still participating in the record keeping.

The graphs are perhaps cold ways to chart an extinct species’ ecology; but I can’t help but imagine the conversation that may have occurred in some of the academies when Pigeon flocks arrived. No doubt some talk of hunting, but perhaps also a general excitement at witnessing such a feat of Nature.


Painted by eyewitness Charles H. Shearer, this reproduction appears in J.C. French’s 1919 book “The Passenger Pigeon in Pennsylvania”. However, I’ve not been able to find a color image of the painting. Any leads appreciated!



royal fern

Perky young Royal Ferns in Sheffield, MA.

Herbs: In 1851, New Lebanon reported blooming Windflower (Wood Anemone). Spencertown observed flowering Huckleberry and Dandelion in 1855.

Woodies: In Fishkill Landing, Tree of Heaven and Mountain Laurel leafed in 1857, their Lilac flowered in 1858 and blooming Horse Chestnut was observed in 1859. In Spencertown, 1855, Spice Bushes, American Elms and Locusts were in leaf and flowering Wild Black Cherries were also reported. In New Lebanon, Honeysuckle blossomed in 1851.

Birds: Year’s first Catbirds appeared in Spencertown in 1855.

Other Critters: In 1855, reports of first appeared Toads in Spencertown.


A Spring Azure in search of sustenance.

Agriculture: Spencertown noted blooming Cherries, Pears and Plums in 1855 and Raspberry leafed out a year later on the same day. In 1843, Kinderhook reported flowering Cherries and in 1832, blooming Apple trees. Bloomed Currants noted in Amenia in 1849.

Herbs: Appeared blooming were Pawpaws, Wild Geranium, Mayapples and Peonies.

swamp currant

Flowers of Wild Black Currant (Ribes americanum), a native, wetland species, flowering in Claverack. Those glandular bumps on the leaves are apparently distinctive.

Woodies: Observed in leaf in single reports included Flowering Dogwood, Tree of Heaven, Choke Cherry, Spicebush, Black Locust, American Elm, Grape, and two reports for leafed Basswood. Specimens bloomed were Lilacs and Dogwoods in four reports; Sugar Maples, American Bladder Nut, Honeysuckle, Mountain Ash, Laburnum, Elm and Hawthorn in lone reports; three reports of bloomed Horse Chestnut.

Birds: Bobolinks, Martins and Whippoorwills had first appeared.

Agriculture: Pears bloomed in two reports and six reports of flowered Apple trees; Tomatoes also bloomed and Strawberries first appeared in markets.



The first Blackswallowtail I’ve seen this year, a male (given the wide band of yellow) from yesterday in Claverack.

Agriculture: Bloomed Strawberries reported.


Woodies: In leaf were Sugar Maples, Elderberry and Red Maples; Shadbush, Sugar Maple and Lilac were reported as in flower.

Agriculture: Apples had produced leaves and Currants flowered.

foam flower

The head of Foam Flower. Now flowering in Sheffield, MA.

Herbs: Paired reports of bloomed Dandelion. Tulips and Myrtle also blossomed.

Woodies: Shadbush and Dogwood had flowered.

Birds: Two reported first arriving Bobolinks; Hummingbirds and Whippoorwills also appeared.

Agriculture: Cherries, Plums and Apples had flowered in two reports each; Also bloomed were Strawberries and Currants; Plum trees put forth leaves.

Herbs: Dandelion noted as flowered in paired reports.

Other: Year’s first Butterflies arrived in Hamilton, 1843.

tiger beetle

A Six-spotted Tiger Beetle stalking prey. Photo from Sheffield, but have seen them here too in recent days.

Agriculture: Plums and Currants bloomed in two reports; six observed flowering of Cherry trees; Apples bloomed in three reports; also blossomed were Strawberries.

Herbs: Lilly of the Valley, Saxifrage, Dandelion and Meadow Rue flowered.

Woodies: Elderberry and Butternut flowered; Sugar Maple and Red Maple produced leaves.

Birds: First arrived Barn Swallows.

lily of the valley

The exotic Lily of the Valley is now in flower in Sheffield.

Agriculture: Nine reports for blooming Apple trees; Cherries bloomed in six; Plums blossomed hosted two reports; observed flowering Peaches and Gooseberries.

Herbs: Wild Columbine reported as blooming.

Woodies: White Oak leafed out in two reports and Snowdrop also produced leaves; Shadbush bloomed noted in two locales.

Birds: Hummingbirds arrived in two reports and Bobolinks appeared.

Agriculture: Apples flowered in four reports; three reports for planted Corn, blossomed Plum and bloomed Strawberry; two reports for bloomed Cherries, Gooseberries and Currants; six reports of bloomed Peaches; in leaf were Apples and Blackberry.


A resting Clubtail (possible a Lancet Clubtail), several were flying yesterday in Sheffield, MA.

Herbs: Two reports of blooming Two-Leaved Bishop’s Cap; three for the flowered Violets; Chickweed, Wild Columbine, Trillium, Meadow Rue and Foam Flower were also observed in blossom.

Woodies: In leaf were Locusts, Hawthorn and Flowering Dogwood; reported as bloomed were Horse Chestnuts, Birches, Hop Hornbeam, Elderberry and Shadbush.

Birds: Bobolinks, Chimney Swallows and Cat Birds reported as arriving.

Agriculture: Strawberry, Peach and Pear all bloomed in two reports; three noted flowering of Plums; Apples and Cherries were also observed blooming.



A Baskettail Dragonfly, also from nearby Sheffield, MA.

Woodies: Lilac reported as in bloom in one locale.

Birds: First Whippoorwill of the year heard in Gaines, 1840.

Agriculture: Currants showing leaves reported.

Herbs: Showy Orchis reported as blossoming.

Woodies: Snowball Viburnum (or Guelder Rose) and Lilac had flowered.

azure bluet

An Aurora Damselfly from Sheffield, MA.

Birds: Arrival of Whippoorwills reported.

Agriculture: Cherry, Plum, Raspberry and Strawberry reported as blooming.

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Progress of the Seasons Journal: 14 May, 1832-1862.

Current Columbia County Phenological Events for 2015: Celandine, Barberry, and Wild Cicely all seen blooming along the Hudson

Here is the penultimate regular historical phenology report from the ‘Progress of the Seasons Project’ for May 14. After Friday, we will go to a more periodic schedule – time to leave the computer and dig into other work!


Story Behind the Headlines:

26 japanese barberry IMG_6836

Japanese Barberry’s appealing side – jolly fruits and lively autumnal color.

Barberry is not really a popular plant at the moment. When we think of it at all, it’s usually as a non-native we have too much of, something we try to remove if we can. But Barberry was once so popular that it was introduced not once, but twice.

Barberry seems to have appealed to settlers for a variety of reasons, including a somewhat attractive appearance, berries that were good for jams and preserves, and bark and wood that was used in dyeing and even tanning. European Barberry was established relatively early. Seventeenth century reports are known; and Jefferson raised it a Monticello. In our mid-19th century phenology records, it is reported from such far-flung counties as Oneida, Westchester, Monroe and St. Lawrence.

This plant seems to have slowly come into disrepute as farmers noticed an apparent connection between it and a decimating rust of wheat. This prompted some New England states to outlaw the plants in the mid 1700s. Although many 19th century scientists seemed to discredit the Barberry/Wheat rust connection, it was finally proven that European Barberry was, in fact, a secondary rust host.

By the early 1900s, eradication programs and European Barberry bans were reducing the abundance of this species. By 1927, for example, the USDA estimated that more than 14,000,000 barberry bushes had been destroyed around the country. Unfortunately, the native American Barberry also hosts the wheat rust and its numbers were also severely reduced. The native species, however, so far as I can tell, has never been known from NY state, occurring instead farther south in the Appalachians.

Japanese Barberry's small, smooth-margined leaves.

Japanese Barberry’s small, smooth-margined leaves.

However, Barberry fans were not going to be denied, and Japanese Barberry began to be widely sold and planted in the late 1800s. Although it appears as if some strains of this species do, in at least certain locations, (notice all the qualifiers?), host wheat rust, most apparently do not, and this species has been widely planted, in part for its beautiful autumn foliage.

Unfortunately, Barberry’s prickly branches, which help protect it from browsing; its quick growth, combined with bird-facilitated dispersal; and its relative shade tolerance have led to its current reputation as an invasive species. Barberry removal is again occurring, although largely for ecological reasons. Today in Columbia County, both European and Japanese Barberry coexist in forests along the Hudson; a reflection of our history, painted in plants.

Euro barberry2

European Barberry’s larger, slightly toothed leaves.

Euro barberry

A dangle of European Barberry flowers.


Herbs: Wild Columbine flowered in New Lebanon, 1852.

Woodies: Leafing Sweet Chestnut was reported from Spencertown in 1853. In 1846, Lilac flowered in Poughkeepsie.

Agriculture: In Kinderhook, Plums and Cherries had bloomed in 1837. In 1851, Blackberry blossomed in Chatham and in 1852 their Apple trees flowered. Poughkeepsie noted blossomed Peas in 1846. Apple flowered in 1853 in New Lebanon. Bloomed Flowering Almond reported from Fishkill Landing in 1857.

Wild Cicely IMG_2582

Sweet Cicely in flower yesterday near the Hudson.

Herbs: Yellow Clover, Solomon’s Seal, Buttercup, Mayapple, Wild Pepper Grass, Spring Beauty, Wild Sarsaparilla and Trillium had all bloomed in single reports.

Woodies: Three reported bloomed Lilac. Bittercress, Butternut, Whortleberry, Dogwood, Rhododendron, Shadbush, Nannyberry and White Ash had flowered. Showing leaves were Sycamores, Rhododendron, White Ash and Trumpet Creeper. European Barberry flowering.

Birds: Observed in single reports were Hummingbirds, Goldfinches, Swallows and Whippoorwills.

Agriculture: Quinces, Plums and Peas had bloomed in two reports. Five reported blossomed Apple trees. Ripened Cherries and flowered Cherries both reported. Bloomed Flowering Almond and Gooseberry observed.



The introduced Morrow’s Honeysuckle in bloom.

Woodies: Bloomed were Chestnuts, Lilac and Black Walnut.

Woodies: Leafed Elderberry and Flowered Shadbush reported.

Agriculture: Blackberry had put forth leaves; two reports that Currants had bloomed

Herbs: Dutchman’s Breeches, Wild Columbine and Solomon’s Seal had bloomed.

Woodies: Aspen reported as having leafed.

Birds: Two reports of arrived Barn Swallows.

Agriculture: Three reported bloomed Currants. Solo reports that Apples, Strawberries and Cherries had blossomed.

celandine IMG_2572

Celandine, also a non-native, in bloom.

Herbs: Dandelion bloomed.

Woodies: Reported flowering Lilac.

Agriculture: Bloomed Plums in five reports; four observed flowered Currants; Apples blossomed in two reports and Strawberries were also in bloom.

Herbs: Pink Corydalis reported as in bloom.

Woodies: One report of Leatherwood flowered.

Agriculture: Apples and Currants bloomed in single reports. Two reported flowering of Plums; Corn planting was commenced.

Herbs: Mayapple had bloomed.

Woodies: Three reported flowering Lilac; two for the bloomed Shadbush. Tartarian Honeysuckle and Mockernut Hickory had flowered.

hickory IMG_2551

The male (pendant catkins) and female (upright, spikey globules above and to right of catkin cluster) flowers of a hickory.

Birds: Arrived were Barn Swallows, Whippoorwills and Martins.

Agriculture: A solo report for bloomed Pear; Peaches, Cherries, Currants and Strawberries flowered in two reports; flowered Plums noted in three.

Herbs: Bellwort, Thapsia, Sheep’s Sorrel, Mayapple, Goji Berry, Wildd Geranium, Softleaf Sedge and Wild Columbine flowered.

Woodies: Twice reported in bloom were Rhododendron and Butternuts.

Birds: Rochester reports arrived Bobolinks in 1843 and 1850.

Agriculture: In two reports were observed flowered Peaches, Currants and Apples. Gooseberries and Cherries had also bloomed.

Herbs: A solo report for blossomed Dandelion.

Woodies: Flowered Snowball and Lilac.

Birds: In 1840, Bobolinks arrived in Springville.

Agriculture: Bloomed Currants and Apricots in two reports. Cherries, Plums, Strawberries and Apples also flowered. In leaf were Cherries and Plums.

Ribes IMG_2580

A young Gooseberry forming.

Herbs: Solomon’s Seal, Wild Columbine, Marsh Marigold and Spotted Geranium bloomed.

Agriculture: Two reports of bloomed Apples and Peaches. Currants flowered in one report.

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Progress of the Seasons Journal: 13 May, 1832-1862.

Current Columbia County Phenological Events for 2015: I think that I forgot to mention that the Thrushs, Hermit and Wood, have been back since last week. Tree Frogs calling two days ago. Else, who can keep up?

Here is the historical phenology report from the ‘Progress of the Seasons Project’ for May 13.


Story Behind the Headlines:

Bobolinks are so brazenly Spring that I can’t avoid coming back to them. Their arrivals are now subsiding, but they are in today’s records and deserve at least some parting consideration. If you’ve never seen or watched Bobolinks, here’s a great video from bird song aficionado Land Elliot, just to get you in the mood. A couple of days ago, I believe I was listening to a Catbird try to imitate a Bobolink – talk about a mixed up song!

Bobolinks are birds primarily of late-cut hay fields; they make their nests . Although I found one historical mention of them using grain fields, they are mainly a bird of grasses rather than grains (although, of course, strictly those are one and the same).

bobo all year

Counties reporting Bobolinks in our historical phenology data. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

In today’s blog, I present six maps: Bobolink occurrence in our data vs. 1850 improved farmland; Bobolink occurrence in Eaton’s data (Birds of New York, 1914) vs. 1900 improved farmland; and ebird’s modern Bobolink distribution matched with some improved farmland stats from the late 1990s.

improved farm 1850

Percent Improved Farmland, 1850. US census data. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

In our arrival data, Bobolinks seem to have three areas of particular abundance: the Hudson Valley, the central  Finger Lakish region, and in and around the Niagara Frontier. Surely, they occurred elsewhere, but perhaps this is where they were the most ‘in your face’.

To a substantial degree, this seems to correspond with the extent of farming at this period, as shown by our second map. Not all farm fields supported Bobolinks but, in this era of grass-based livestock for traction and food, “improved farmland” probably was proportional to suitable hay fields.

eaton bobo

Bobolink abundance data presented in Elon Eton’s Birds of New York (1910-1914). Data were no doubt collected earlier. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

Our next abundance map, one that is much more complete, comes from Eaton’s Birds of New York. Don’t let the abundance of green convince you that in 1900 Bobolinks were more common than in 1850. They probably weren’t, the observers were just much more diligent. So look more at the patterns of abundance indicated in this 1900 Bobolink map.

While the 1900 map is not so different from that of 1850, relative abundance in the far west seems higher, and the Finger Lakish center of abundance seems to have moved north.

improved farm 1900

Improved Farmland, ca 1900. US census data. CLICK TO ENLARGE.


2011 Bobolink abundance in NYS (lighter = more birds) from Cornell’s ebird. Presented at CLICK TO ENLARGE.

This can now be compared to the improved farmland image from roughly the same time period. While that map doesn’t precisely explain the differences just noted, it is clear that western NY agriculture has expanded and, perhaps, Bobolink habitat along with it. Although, as we’ll describe in a moment, not all of that new habitat was as good as the old habitat.

Finally, what about the modern era. Today, there is Bobolink abundance data that those earlier ornithologists could only have drooled over, thanks to efforts like Cornell’s ebird. Our next image, derived from ebird, comes from this site.

This map provides much more detail than what was available earlier, making clear the ‘doughnut hole’ of the Adirondacks, and the relative lack of birds in the Catskills, Rensselaer Plateau and certain other wooded uplands.

improved farm 1997

Improved farmland 1997. US census data. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

Again, however, don’t let the apparent completeness of the Bobolink distribution convince you that they are anywhere near as common today as a century or two earlier. Looking at our farmland map shows you one reason why. Although much of this agriculture is not grass-based and so does not provide good Bobolink habitat, the match is still surprisingly good. Look, for example, at how Columbia and Washington Counties are relative hotbeds of farming in the eastern part of the State and how they are likewise Bobolink havens.

haying schedule

Haying dates as derived from various Columbia County sources. Note that the vertical axis shows the percent of all haying in the given data set which occurred during the particular period. Modern haying (black) is more spread out and starts earlier. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

phenological haying

Our historical phenology data on the beginning of haying around NYS from 1832 to 1862. Note again that most haying didn’t begin until after the first of July (and haying by hand was much slower than haying by tractor). CLICK TO ENLARGE.

One cannot close this discussion without mentioning another change in Bobolink summer habitat (winter habitat changes are also crucial but are beyond our geographic scope). In the mid 1900s, hay fields were generally cut but once and that after the beginning of July. Today, given new technologies for dealing with green hay (for example, those plastic-wrapped round bales of baleage), first cut might come in May and some fields may be cut thrice. Our multi-color figure (taken from The Nature of the Place) shows how modern hay cutting is more evenly spread across the year. Our  historical phenology data includes date of first hay cut, that figure emphasizes that the majority of haying did not start until after the beginning of July.


Table of NYS bird fledging dates, mainly derived from John Bull’s Birds of New York State, 1974. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

This aside on the history of hay cutting is important because of our last image, a table showing the timing of bird fledging dates. “Fledging” refers to when the young birds leave the nest. Clearly, given their in-field nests, if a hay field is cut before the young birds have left the nest, there is little chance that they will survive. This is probably even more true today than in the days of scythe cutting. Compare our table to the preceding figures. Notice how a July hay cut, as typical of the 19th century, would let many birds fledge. As haying edged further into June and now even into May, successful fledging became less likely, especially since fields are, as mentioned, often re-cut.

All this to say that historical phenology data cannot only help you understand where you’ve been but also where you are!



feral cherry

Feral domestic Cherry getting towards the tail end of its flowering.

Herbs: In 1852, the first Violets bloomed in Chatham.

Woodies: Shadbush bloomed in Kinderhook in 1838. In 1853, New Lebanon noted first blossomed Horse Chestnuts.

Birds: Barn Swallows first seen in Kinderhook, 1838. In Chatham, 1851’s first Whippoorwills were observed. Wood Thrushes appeared in Amenia, 1849.

Agriculture: In 1841, Cherries bloomed in Hudson. Amenia reported flowering Cherry in 1849. In Spencertown, 1856, bloomin Strawberry was reported. Peas bloomed in Poughkeepsie in 1845. Kinderhook reported flowering Peaches in 1843.

feral cherry bark

The characteristic bark of feral domestic Cherry – tight horizontal rings of lenticels. Reminiscent of Black Birch bark but with more of those rings.

Herbs: Flowered were Greater Henbits, Sheep’s Sorrel, Hawksbill Geranium, Alexander and Snowdrops.

Woodies: Two reports of blooming Horse Chestnut. Also blooming were Dogwoods, Black Mulberry, Honeysuckle, Sweet Viburnum, Laburnum, Hawthorn and Hardhacks. In leaf were Sycamores and Horse Chestnuts.

Birds: Bluebirds, Hummingbirds and Wrens first appeared. Two reports of observed Whippoorwills.

Other Critters: Paired reports of first seen Fireflies; a Grasshopper was observed.

Agriculture: Eight reports of blooming Apple trees. Cherries noted blooming in three reports; Plums and Quinces flowered in two. Pears and Peaches had also bloomed. Corn planting was commencing and Plum had put forth leaves.

canada mayflower

This Canada Mayflower seemed unwilling to release its flower buds.


Woodies: In 1802, White Oak had produced leaves in Kingston.

Agriculture: Both Plums and Cherry flowered in three reports. Also blossomed were Currants and Apricots.


Woodies: In leaf were Elderberry, Horse Chestnut and Red Maple. Sugar Maple reported as flowered.

Long-spurred Violet is now flowering in our forests.

Birds: First Barn Swallows seen in Herkimer County in 1838.

Agriculture: Red Currants noted as in leaf; a single report of bloomed Gooseberry; three reports of floweringStrawberry; two reported Plums flowering.

Herbs: Dandelion and Tulips flowered in single reports.

longsprd violet

Long-spurred Violet now flowering in our woods.

Woodies: Three reports of flowering of Shadbush; Lilac had also bloomed.

Birds: Barn Swallows and Bobolinks had arrived.

Agriculture: In two reports Currants and Apples bloomed; Peaches and Apples had also blossomed.

solomon's seal

“True” Solomon’s Seal with its row of pendant flower buds.

Herbs: Bloomed were Red and White Baneberry, Buttercup, Trillium and Toothwort.

Woodies: Shadbush bloomed in three reports; Sugar Maple was also in bloom.

Birds: First arrived Barn Swallows.

Agriculture: Paired reports of bloomed Currants and Plums; Apples and Strawberry also flowered. Apple reported as in leaf.

Herbs: Yarrow and Ox-Eye Daisy reported as in bloom.

Birds: First Martins had arrived.

wild oatsd

Solomon’s Seal’s Lily-family relative Wild Oats.

Agriculture: Three reports of bloomed Apples and Currants; paired reports of Peaches, Strawberries, Pears and Plums in bloom; a single report of Flowering Almond in bloom and Apple in leaf.

Herbs: Clover, Rough-Leaved Rice Grass and Buttercup flowered. Two reports of Dandelion bloomed.

Woodies: Leatherwood and Elderberry blossomed.

Agriculture: Coupled reports of flowered Apples. Corn planting commenced. Currants, Plums and Strawberries had bloomed.

Herbs: Daffodils and Hyacinth reported as flowered.

Woodies: Horse Chestnut bloomed

Birds: First appeared Whippoorwills.

Agriculture: Apples bloomed and leafed out; Cherries blossomed.


Woodies: Two reports of bloomed Lilacs.

Agriculture: Flowered Apples, Strawberries and Cherries reported.


Hawthorn in flower.

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Progress of the Seasons Journal: 12 May, 1832-1862.

Here is the historical phenology report from the ‘Progress of the Seasons Project’ for May 12.

12 may

IMG_8659 Tree of H

The pinnate, somewhat tropical appearing leaves of Tree of Heaven.

Story Behind the Headlines:

Although not actually present in today’s records, flowering Tree of Heaven did show up in yesterday’s historical report and appears again on upcoming dates.

“Tree of Heaven”, Ailanthus altissima, is one of those plants we caution people about. It’s dandy at spreading by seeds or root sprouts and, at least until recently, was relatively unaffected by pests and disease. This makes it a hearty city tree, understandably welcome by those seeking green in the ‘asphalt jungle’. The tree of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was an Ailanthus. It was a central character precisely because of its resilience. However, this species can also be a pernicious colonizer, rapidly taking over edge habitats, spreading quickly and growing with startling speed. In some ways, it is a classic ‘invasive species’.

T o H2

Tree of Heaven, can’t say it isn’t pretty. (Just don’t smell it.)

The fact that ‘invasive species’ seem to have been getting especial attention of late can, however, trick one into thinking they are a new phenomenon. I should have known better. Even the novel is older (1942) than I might have imagined.

Tree of Heaven does show up in our historical phenology data as early as 1845 (see map below), so my first search for more information was in the 1840s floras of NY (Torrey, 1843) and MA (Emerson, 1846). No luck.

OK, so I jump ahead to our early 20th century floras for Columbia County (McVaugh, fieldwork in 1930s), CT (Connecticut Botanical Society, 1910) and the NYC area (Taylor, 1915), and find the species already described as CT: “Occasional. Waste Places, fence-rows and along roadsides…propagates freely from seed and from root suckers and readily accommodates itself to any soil.”; NYC: “Common as an escape from cultivation throughout its range.”; and Columbia County: “Cultivated and locally established in waste places as a weed species.”

Something happened in-between these two sets of floras. While introduced to North America in the late 1700s, Tree of Heaven apparently didn’t really capture the public imagination until the 1840s. As Behula Shaw wrote in a piece for Arnoldia,


Tree of Heaven from the 1887 American Medicinal Plants by Charles F. Millspaugh. Millspaugh described its effects as “causes nausea, vomiting, great relaxation of the muscles, and death-like sickness, very similar to that produced by tobacco smoking in beginners”. Hmmm….. from

Ailanthus was well suited to meeting the growing demand for landscape trees that accompanied the unprecedented economic and social transformations of the 1840s, years that can be described as the clipper ship era. Between 1840 and the 1860s, the United States’ economy was invigorated by the China trade, resulting in the rapid growth of urban centers and suburban estates. By the1850s, Ailanthus was being extensively used in urban plantings and was the only shade tree to be seen on many streets of New York. It was also grown in suburban gardens as boundary plantings.

So, apparently, our historical phenology data comes from the cusp of its greater spread. After the 1845 report from NYC, there is an 1847 report from Rochester, by 1852, it is being reported from Kings, Orange, Clinton and Seneca Counties. 1855 finds it reported from Columbia County (Spencertown) and, in 1857, it is known from Dutchess County. Its distribution map based on the phenology data is surely incomplete and reflects observer interest as much as tree distribution and yet it is enough to back up Shaw’s words – in the 1850s it seemed to be widely planted in the State.

In 1844, in Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, the highly influential landscape designer, Andrew Jackson Downing, described the tree in generally favorable terms, “The Ailantus [sic] is well adapted to produce a good effect on the lawn, either singly or grouped; its fine long foliage catches the light well, and contrasts strikingly with that of the round-leaved trees.” However, he then qualifies this by stating, “It has a troublesome habit of producing suckers, however, which must exclude it from every place but a heavy sward, where the surface of the ground is never stirred by cultivation” The implication being that a thick sod could keep the tree’s sprouting ways in check; but disturb that cover, and in it came. This weedy nature is born out by the early 20th century works quoted earlier.

If nothing else, perhaps such an account can add depth to our perception of an ‘invasive species’; marking out its humble beginnings and, pardon the bad pun, long roots. Its been a member of our ecological surroundings for longer than we may think, although it has probably increased substantially, first propelled by landscaping fashion and later facilitated by an abundance of open ‘waste areas’. Some of our past invasives or weeds have come and largely gone (Butter and Eggs, for example). If the current reports of a spreading fungal disease are any indication, the expansion of this long-term species too may slowly be checked.


A map of the counties that reported flowering Tree of Heaven in our historical records.





nuzzling fern

You can’t tell me that ferns don’t nuzzle.

Woodies: Shadbush and Sugar Maple bloomed in Chatham in 1852; a year earlier on the same day, Lilac had bloomed. In 1849, Amenia reports blooming Shadbush. Spencertown noted Sugar Maple in leaf and blooming White Ash in 1855. Black Walnut was both in leaf and in bloom in New Lebanon, 1853. Fishkill Landing, in 1857, noted Horse Chestnut in leaf.

Birds: Orioles first appeared in Spencertown in 1855. In 1849, Amenia noted Chimney Swallows arriving. Bobolink appeared in Chatham, 1851, and in Spencertown,1855.

Agriculture: In 1846, year’s first planting of Corn in Poughkeepsie. Spencertown noted blooming Currants in 1855 and flowering Gooseberries in 1856. In New Lebanon, 1856, Pears bloomed. Kinderhook observed blossoming Quinces in 1845 and blooming Plums in 1847. In 1832, Apples had bloomed in Red Hook. Chatham noted the showing leaves of Apple, Pear and Gooseberry in 1852. In 1851, Chatham reported blooming Pear trees.

wild geranium

Wild Geranium (aka Spotted Geranium) is now flowering.

Herbs: Black Hellebore, Rough Bedstraw, Wood Sorrel, Marsh Marigold, Spotted Geranium, Fleabane, Wild Columbine, Sedge, Peony and Violets had bloomed. Two reports of blossoming Mullein, Jack in the Pulpit, Saxifrage, Buttercup and Cinquefoil.

Woodies: Six reports of blooming Lilacs. Sugar Maple, Scotch broom, Hobblebush, Magnolia, American Beech and Hawthorn had bloomed. Two reports of blossomed Horse Chestnut and Dogwood. Specimens in leaf included White Oak, Dogwood, Sycamore, Red Mulberry, Yellow Poplar, American Elm and Shagbark Hickory.

sptd geranium

Why it was called Spotted Geranium…

Birds: Catbirds, Chimney Swallows and Whippoorwills appeared.

Agriculture: Blooming Cherry in seven reports, flowered Pear and Strawberry in five; four reports of blooming Apple trees, two of blossoming Peaches and three reports of flowering Quinces; lone reports for blooming Peas and Flowering Almond.


Agriculture: Apples flowered in two reports. Blooming Peaches in a single report.


Woodies: Noted in leaf were Red Maples and Sugar Maples.

Other Critters: First Butterflies seen in Washington County in 1847.

Agriculture: Plums flowered in two reports and Cherries were also in flower.

Herbs: Flowering Dandelion in one report.


Hey, wait a second. That’s not a wild flower. Nope, it’s a muskratal wildflower consumer.

Woodies: Blooming Shadbush in two reports. Lilac and Hawthorn had put forth leaves.

Birds: Plattsburgh notes the arrival of Barn Swallows in 1842.

Agriculture: In leaf were Apples, Flowering Almond and Blackberries; reported blooming were Strawberries, Gooseberries, Apples and Currants; paired reports of blooming Cherry trees.

Herbs: Paired reports of flowering Dandelion.

winter cress

Winter Cress is now in flower along roadsides.

Agriculture: Blossomed Apple and Currant noted in two reports; Plums also bloomed.

Herbs: Bloomed Trailing Arbutus, Buttercup and Azure Bluet reported.

Woodies: In leaf were Red Maple and Sugar Maple.

Agriculture: Blossomed Plums in four reports, flowered Cherry noted in two; Currants and Apples had also bloomed.

Herbs: Tulips, Trout Lily and Solomon’s Seal bloomed. Two reports of flowered Dandelion.

Woodies: Flowered Lilac, Sugar Maple and Red Maple reported. Two reports of bloomed Shadbush. In leaf were White Oaks, Locusts, Lilac, Elderberry, White Ash, Hawthorn and Chestnut.

Birds: Reports of arrived Barn Swallows and Chimney Swallows.

Agriculture: Five reports of flowered Cherry, three noted Currants in bloom; Apple and Strawberry also had blossomed.

Herbs: Violets, Veronica, Tulip, Dandelion, Hepatica, Windflower, Saxifrage and Kentucky Bluegrass had bloomed.


Winterberry (a holly) is about to flower in some of our wetlands.

Woodies: Elderberry bloomed in a single report and had leafed in two. In blossom was Horse Chestnut and Lilac. Flowering Dogwood was reported in leaf.

Birds: Two reports noted first arriving Bobolinks.

Agriculture: In bloom were Cherries, Plums, Blackberries and Apples.

Herbs: A lone report of Dandelion flowered.

Birds: Hummingbirds first seen in Gaines, 1842.

Agriculture: Three reports of bloomed Apple and a single report of flowered Cherry, Peaches and Plum; Pear reported as in leaf.

Herbs: Trillium, Spotted Geranium and Goji Berry (a Box Thorn) had bloomed.

Woodies: Lilac had bloomed in two reports; Dogwood had also blossomed.

Agriculture: Apples, Flowering Almond and Quinces reported as bloomed.

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Progress of the Seasons Journal: 9 – 11 May, 1832-1862.

Current Columbia County Phenological Events for 2015: Forget about Spring, Summer’s here. Wild Oats, Winged Polygala, Sassafras, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, a splay of Violets, Golden Alexander, Toothwort, numerous fruit trees… all in flower here in Columbia County.

Here is the historical phenology report from the ‘Progress of the Seasons Project’ for May 9-11. By the way, now that Summer’s arrived, we’ll go to a weekly posting starting next Monday.


Story Behind the Headlines:

morus alba

White Mulberry, complete with Silk Moth life cycle. from Weinmann, J.W., Phytanthoza iconographia, vol. 3: t. 736, fig. a (1742); on-line at

In the data from the last three days, Mulberry are beginning to bloom. These records come from Kingston, during the first half decade of the 1800s; but records from elsewhere also occur in the data. Mulberry, like Merino Sheep, was to subsequently fuel an agricultural craze. Mulberry is the favored food of the Asian Silkworm, which has long been harnessed to silk production in China. As we have already seen with several plants, East Asia and the East Cost share various elements of their floras including Morus, or Mulberry. However, the species are not identical and therein reportedly lay the craze.

The idea of North American silk production was apparently not new at the start of the second quarter of the 1800s. Silk Worms had been imported and attempts made but Silk Worms did not prosper on our native Mulberry (Red Mulberry), and its imported substitute (White Mulberry) seemed to get only a slight footing. And then….

According to one story, an aspiring Masschusetts silk producer planted numerous specimens of the newly-imported Morus multicaulis (or Multi-stemmed Mulberry). Disappointed by his silk making success, he subsequently decided to sell his trees and in order to do so he began vigorously hyping their excellent qualities for silk production. He was so successful that the market in such Mulberries skyrocketed, with prices per tree increasing 10-fold. While no one person may actually have been singularly responsible for the craze (it was promoted by state and federal governments for a decade or so), it does seem clear that it was the arborists rather than the aspiring silk makers who made money.


Out native Red Mulberry. Notice, no evidence of SIlk Worm interest. from Michaux, F.A., The North American sylva, vol. 3: t. 116 (1819) [P. Bessa]; on-line at

A more holistic explanation of the craze lay in the 1830s juxtaposition of Multi-stemmed Mulberry’s arrival and an abundance of free money (whose origins are beyond my meager economic understanding to fathom). But the result of that money was, like not so long ago, avid speculation in land, primarily in the opening western frontier. Not only land, but other possible investments were ravenously pursued. Silk making was one of them.

A variety of factors seemed to bring down the craze. For one, the land speculation bubble that had carried Mulberry’s along burst as Andrew Jackson tried to control the financial ‘Wild West”. In addition, there’s more to making silk than growing silk worms, and, it seems, quality of the threads was not always good. Furthermore, blight and hard winters destroyed most of the Morus multicaulis and confidence in its potential evaporated. Nearly overnight, mulberry orchards became nearly worthless.

While there seems to be few Multi-stemmed Mulberries remaining in the region, an earlier, sturdier (but less profusely growing) Asian species, the White Mulberry, can still be found here and there in the landscape. Interestingly, when a mulberry species is named in our historical records (most accounts refer only to “mulberry”), it is only our native Red Mulberry. “Red” and “white”, by the way, don’t refer to a consistent difference in the color of the fruit: the fruits of the White Mulberry can be whitish or purplish. Leaf texture is a better guide post, being rough in Red and smooth in White.

Mulberries now seem to be somewhat scarce in our landscape, but next time you see one, remember the dreams they once propped up.


Herbs: In 1852, Chatham reports Wind Flower (aka Rue Anemone) leafed and bloomed; blossomed Dandelions in Kinderhook in 1838. New Lebanon noted Celandine and Miterwort flowered in 1853. In 1855, Trout Lily observed in bloom in Spencertown.


The non-native Horse Chestnut almost blooming in Old Chatham.

Woodies: In 1857, Fishkill Landing reports blooming Peach and Serviceberry, as well as leaved Wild Black Cherry, White Ash and Basswood; also noted in Fishkill was Shagbark Hickory in leaf in 1858. Shadbush bloomed in Kinderhook in 1837 and again in 1853 on this day. In 1852, Chatham noted leafing Horse Chestnut. New Lebanon reported blossoming Peach and Flowering Almond in 1851. Shadbush bloomed in Poughkeepsie in 1836.

Birds: Amenia notes arrived Bobolinks in 1849. Chimney Swallows reach Fishkill Landing in 1858. In 1837, Swallows appeared in Kinderhook and also in New Lebanon in 1852.

Agriculture: Fishkill landing reports blooming Pear in 1857 and flowering Apple in 1858. Hudson noted flowering Plum in 1835. Cherries bloomed in Kinderhook in two reports (1832 and 1837), they also noted bloomed Currant in 1835 and flowered Apple in 1846. In consecutive years, Apples bloomed in New Lebanon (1851 and 1852) and their Apples were reported blooming in 1852. In 1836, Poughkeepsie notes Plums blossoming. In Red Hook, Cherries bloomed in 1837 and 1841 and their Peaches had bloomed in 1835; reports of leafed Cherry and bloomed Currants in Spencertown (1856).

Herbs: Wild Columbine noted as blooming in five reports, Veronica and Dandelion bloomed in three. Two reports of Tulips and Saxifrage flowered. Also flowered were Yarrow, Buttercup, Chickweed, Toothwort, Fleabane, Wild Strawberry, Wild Geranium, Miterwort, May Apple and Violets.


Grape with flowers in the works, its leaves were ‘sweating’ early on this warm morning.

Woodies: Leafing out Tree of Heaven noted in two reports; six of bloomed Horse Chestnut and a solo report of them showing leaves. Two reports of bloomed Shadbush. Also putting forth leaves in single reports were Spicebush, Elderberry, Red Honeysuckle, Black Locust, Shadbush, White Oak, Dogwood, Basswood and two reports for Honey Locust; bloomed Dogwood in nine reports, flowered Lilac in six. Paired reports of flowering White Oak; blooming Snowball Viburnum, Whortleberry, Yellow Rose and Magnolia also reported.

Birds: Four reports of first arrived Bobolinks, Martins appeared in three. Also arrived were Wrens, Goldfinches and Whippoorwills.

Other Critters: Three reports of first Butterflies.

Agriculture: A lone report of bloomed Peas. Seven reports of blossomed Apples, Pears, and Cherries. Two reports of planting Corn. Currants bloomed noted in six reports, ten of blossomed Plums and Peaches, nine of flowered Strawberry. Three reports of Quinces bloomed. Rhubarb noted as flowered and Cherries ripe; a single report for Apples in leaf and the blooming of Apricots.

fringed polygala

Fringed Polygala (or Gay Wings) now blooming in dry Columbai County forests.


Woodies:  In bloom were Lilacs, Elm, Dogwood and Basswood.

Agriculture: Flowering Mulberry in two reports; Peaches and Plums also flowered.


Woodies: In leaf specimens included Shadbush, Choke Cherry and Elderberry.

Birds: Paired reports of arrived Whippoorwills and Bobolinks had appeared.

Agriculture: Currants bloomed noted in four reports; Apple was in flower and in leaf, Pear was also in leaf.

American and slippery

Elm seeds are starting to fall; Slippery Elm on the left; American on the right.

Herbs: In bloom were Windflowers, Marsh Marigold, Spring beauty, Daffodil, Trout Lily, Bloodroot, Two-Leaved Mitrewort, Marsh Blue Violet, Yellow Wood Violet and four reported flowered Dandelion. Wild Strawberry and St. John’s Wort had produced leaves.

Woodies: Basswood, Snowball, American Elm, Elderberry, Sweet Briar, Honeysuckle and Sugar Maple had leafed out. Bloomed was Shadbush in two reports.

Birds: Kingfisher, Martins and Barn Swallows appeared.

Agriculture: Plums, Gooseberry and Currants bloomed in two reports; a lone report of flowered Strawberry. In leaf were Raspberries, Pears, Currants and Gooseberry. Oats were sown and ploughing commenced in single reports.

Herbs: Bellwort, Goldthread and Miterwort reported in bloom. In two reports were flowered Marsh Marigold and Trillium.

Woodies: Reported Lilac, Willow and Shadbush blossomed.

Birds: Barn Swallows and Bobolinks first observed in two reports.

Agriculture: Nine reported blossoming of Plums, eight of Currants bloomed. Two reports for Gooseberries flowered and four for the bloomed Apple trees. Strawberry, Peach and Pear also bloomed.

golden alex

Golden Alexander flowering in an Old Chatham floodplain forest.

Herbs: Bloomed were Primerose, Two-Leaved Mitrewort, Hairy Woodrush, Sorrel, Toothwort, Sweetfern, Pussytoes, Marsh Marigold, Veronica, Trillium, Meadow Rue and Foam Flower. Two reports of Bellwort, Wild Strawberry, Violets and Dwarf Ginseng blossomed. Three reported flowered Dandelion.

Woodies: Two reports of flowered Red Maple and Shadbush. Downy Viburnum, American Elm, American Hazlenut and Pin Cherry also bloomed.

Birds: Eastern Kingbirds and Hummingbirds arrived. Three reports of first appeared Swallows.

Other Critters: First Snake seen.

Agriculture: Currants bloomed in three reports; blossomed Apples and Plums in two. Lone reports of flowered Strawberries and Peaches.

Herbs: Blossomed were Spring Beauties, Wild Geranium, Tulips and Trillium. Windflower reported as showing leaves. Dandelion bloomed in three reports.

Woodies: A lone report of bloomed Red Maple, two for their leafing out. Hawthorn had showed leaves in three reports, Shadbush bloomed in four. Coupled reports of blossomed Lilac; also flowered were Locusts, Wild Black Cherry and Horse Chestnut.

Birds: Arrived Swallows in four reports. Martins appeared in two reports. Also first arrived were Bobolinks and Whippoorwills.

Agriculture: Nine reports of flowered Currants, eight for Apples in bloom and Seven for Cherries blossomed. Six reports of bloomed Plums. Flowered Peaches and Gooseberry in three reports; paired reports for bloomed Pear and Strawberry. In leaf were Currants and Apples, noted two reports. Also reported was leafed Pear and flowered Peas.


Sassafras is getting underway hereabouts.

Herbs: During these days, Flowereing Baneberry in three reports. Seven reported blooming of Sedges. Shepherd’s Purse, Trillium, Lilac, Solomon’s Seal, Dandelion, Cudweed and Wild Columbine flowered; two reports of blooming Phlox; three of flowered Buttercup.

Woodies: In leaf were Red Maples, Sugar Maples, Spicebush, White Oak, Honeysuckle, Basswood and two reports for Elderberry. Solo reports of bloomed Elderberry, Black Oak, White Oak, Aspen and Hop Hornbeam; Three reported blooming of Shadbushes and two noted flowering of Blueberries.

Birds: Three reports of arrived Bobolinks. Wrens and Goldfinches also observed.

Agriculture: Noted Currants blooming in four reports, two for flowered Pear and three reported blooming Cherry. Also blossomed were Strawberries, Quinces, Flowering Almonds, Plums and Gooseberries. Cherry and Pear had put forth leaves.

Herbs: A lone report of bloomed Dandelion.

Woodies: Shadbush flowered in coupled reports.

Birds: Bobolinks first appeared noted three reports.

Agriculture: Noted as bloomed were Apples and Cherries in three reports. Six reports of bloomed Peaches. Apricots and Strawberries blossomed in paired reports. Red Currants had produced leaves.

Herbs: Two reports of flowered Solomon’s Seal. Yellow Lady’s Slipper, Showy Orchis, Phlox, May Apple, Bloodroot, Tulip, Meadow Rue, Trillium and Bellwort had been noted as bloomed.

Woodies: Reported bloomed Sugar Maples and Shadbush.

Birds: In 1856, Swallows appeared in Angelica.

Agriculture: In bloom were Apples, Gooseberry, Pears and Blackberry; paired reports of bloomed Peaches.

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