a blast from the past

I’m busy with Christmas craft creations and have been neglecting the blog. It was exactly 0 F this morning (brrrr….) when I got up to make the first cup of coffee, and I couldn’t help but reflect on past November 17s, which are fortunately recorded in this blog.


The backyard has now accumulated about 6 inches of snow on this date in 2014, but cold weather makes it unpleasant to romp around in it.

Last year on this date:

Backyard Biology, Nov 17, 2013

One year ago today…the leaves hadn’t completely fallen, fall color was fading, temperatures were moderate, and Minnesotans were wondering where winter was.

Last year, we might have been thinking about global warming here in the upper Midwest, as fall went on and on.  But be careful what you wish for, because of course, we then endured the fourth coldest winter in MN recorded weather history with 50+ days of low temperature below 0 F.  So much for the warming trend here.

Two years ago on this date:

Backyard Biology, Nov 17, 2012

Two years ago on this date, ducks were thick on Minnesota lakes, with huge rafts of Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Hooded Mergansers, Scaup, and Ring-necked Ducks.

Duck migration happened a lot earlier this year than two years ago.  A week of overnight lows in the single digits froze much of the open lake water this past week, and the ducks are now gone from the local small lakes. Only the mallards stick around when the weather gets this cold.

Three years ago around this date:

Backyard Biology, Nov 17, 2011

Three years ago, the deer herd in the backyard numbered at least 9, down from a previous high of 16, seen on Thanksgiving a couple of years earlier.  I could easily find them in the wetlands behind the backyard, as they munched on the the green stuff remaining at this late date in the fall.

The prolonged cold weather last winter was very hard on the local deer population, and the does that survived the winter may not have had enough energy to reproduce.  I haven’t seen a doe in the backyard since early this past summer, and she had just one fawn with her.

I have enjoyed many things about blogging:  “meeting” people from all over the world through the blogosphere, learning about photography, becoming a much better naturalist, etc.  But an unintended benefit from recording day-to-day activity in the backyard is an appreciation of how much the backyard and the diversity of life there changes from year to year.