I recently attended a meeting of the Raccoon River Watershed Association and found it highly informative and interesting. I attended 2 of the presentations, one on Raccoon watershed birds and the other on the 2016 phenology calendar put together by Lee Searles. Ty Smedes, an excellent photographer, shared many of his pictures of birds one could see in the Raccoon watershed. I was amazed at how many birds live in the water-shed or pass through on their migratory journeys. It was humbling how few I had actually seen but exciting to know that they were there, seen or unseen.

I learned a new word in looking at Lee Searles’ beautiful calendar: "phenology." According to Wikipedia, phenology is "the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and inter-annual variations in climate, as well as habitat factors (such as elevations)." Looking at these events in a calendar format tells what is happening in the natural world, day by day. For example: on Monday, May 2, late warblers arrive, meadowhawks begin to fly, and on May three large numbers of butterflies begin to appear: azures, blues, coppers, crescents, swallowtails, and more.

Each day on the calendar details something happening in nature, often with beautiful photos of birds, wildflowers, insects, or plant life. This calendar contains a wealth of information about our environment in our area. For more information on the calendar contact Lee Searles at searleslr@msn.com or phone 515-979-6457.