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Poor Will's Almanack: May 12 - 18, 2020

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This week brings blooming season for sweet Cicely and May apples all along the 40th Parallel throughout the East and Middle Atlantic Region. Mayfly Season begins along the rivers and lakeshores. Weevil Season comes in throughout alfalfa fields. Thrush Season, Baltimore Oriole Season, Catbird Season and Scarlet Tanager Season come to the undergrowth. It’s Bullfrog Season in the swamp, Gray Tree Frog season in the trees and Spitbug Season in the parsnips.

Mountain Maple and Wild Cherry Tree Flowering Seasons spread cross the countryside. Poison ivy – like the Virginia creeper and wild grapes – develops to a third of its June size. Rose of Sharon and the green ash finally begin to leaf. The foliage of ginkgoes, sycamores, witch hazels and sweet gums is all a third to half of full size. Chive Blooming Season blooms in the garden. and Buckeye Blooming Season comes to the woods.

While all this is taking place, then azaleas lose their petals, daisies, clematis, and the first cinquefoil open all the way, the first strawberry ripens, and swallowtail butterflies visit the star of Bethlehem. The last quince flowers fall, and lilacs decay. Morel season is over in the Ohio Valley but is just beginning at higher elevations in the far West. The bright yellow arrowleaf balsamroot is flowering there as cottonwoods fill out. Elk are migrating north into higher summer ranges of the Rockies, and cutthroat trout are getting ready to spawn in mountain streams.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Miami Valley Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the fourth week of late spring. In the meantime, watch for mock orange and peonies, prophets of early summer to bloom.

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Bill Felker has been writing nature columns and almanacs for regional and national publications since 1984. His Poor Will’s Almanack has appeared as an annual publication since 2003. His organization of weather patterns and phenology (what happens when in nature) offers a unique structure for understanding the repeating rhythms of the year.