Working to protect the Mississippi River and its watershed in the Twin Cities area

Springy Fall

September blooming puccoon

Photo: Joe Walton/FMR

As myriad readers throughout the world read this month’s “Phenology” column, the autumnal equinox will be upon us (Sept. 22 @ 3:44 p.m.), introducing the idea that we will be experiencing more darkness than light in the times ahead. One of the reasons I am such an avid naturalist is because nature has such a sick, cruel sense of humor. This resonates strongly with my personality.

Just as we are readying ourselves to say au revoir to summer-type things like flowers, insects, and birds, nature throws us a curve ball by showing us some natural phenomena usually experienced only in the spring.

Day length is now approaching that of the part of spring when the world is reawakening after the long winter. If the temperatures are right over the next couple of weeks, you might hear frogs calling, birds singing their spring songs and plants flowering. Yes, most of you would have guessed that gonadal recrudescence must be at play. FMR ecologist Joe Walton very recently found a blooming puccoon at Grey Cloud Dunes Scientific and Natural Area; this plant normally blooms in May and June!

This interesting phenomenon only lasts for a very short period of time. As temperatures and the photoperiod drops, plants and animals come to their senses and continue to prepare for the winter to come. My advice? Get off of the couch and experience some false spring for yourself.

For an interesting article on “false spring” visit NatureSmart.com.