Northern Hemisphere Spring 2023 Phenology Discussion

In New Mexico, lilac buds are green and I saw an ornamental Prunus with flowers open

In Nevada, manzanita going crazy

And in Death Valley last week, poppies!

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I wonder if some lawn seed mixes around here include flowers as well as grasses. I have noticed that some lawns are thickly and uniformly dotted with American Field Pansy (Viola rafinesquei), and in some cases also with Tiny Bluet (Houstonia pusilla).

Looks to be one of “those springs” in the northeast where it stays too cold to try and put out lights or bait, but the moths are going to fly regardless in sub-optimum temperatures. So that means I miss some spring fliers because I don’t want to put out a UV light in 40-something weather. The best early season is when you have a few random 60-70 degree days and can sneak out and nab some early fliers. Cold springs try my patience.


I’ve done 2 moth sessions in New Mexico this March when it wasn’t too windy (rare). Earlier this week, I got a new yard moth (Egira), new yard wasp (Aleiodes), and a new yard fly (fungus gnat) at the UV lamp. Meanwhile, I’m watching it snow in Denver today.

The Xylocopas have been taunting me.

Spring has been taking its time here – cold, damp, overcast and generally more suited to January than March. On two occasions when the sun has deigned to make an appearance, I have seen big black bees flitting by my window while at work, too quickly for me to even grab my cell phone. And on Thursday, when I was working from home, one of them even sat on my balcony wall sunning itself just long enough for me to see it and cautiously start to approach – and then disappeared before I was able to get close.

Yesterday the weather finally turned balmy and I went out to test out my new camera on large flying objects (birds) with the hopes of also possibly finding some small flying objects (bees). The birds cooperated tolerably well. I even managed to find a bee or two. But the Xylocopas persisted in zooming by without stopping for a photo op.

Today I went on an expedition to the home and garden center which ended up taking the entire morning because I got sidetracked on the way there by a blooming Prunus that was abuzz with lots of visitors.

Not long after I heard a certain characteristic low-pitched buzzing …

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Today in New Mexico. Helianthus sprouts, flower buds on peach tree and sumac bushes, and a few wildflowers such as scrambled eggs and tansymustard opening. Cool, damp, and windy weather recently has diminished insect activity.

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On the North Carolina Coastal Plain, the sugarberry trees have just begun explanding their leaves and flowers, even as last year’s fruits and galls persist on the same branches.

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Another spring wildflower in New Mexico

Northeast Ohio; I saw ramps jusssttt starting to poke out a couple of days ago, but unfortunately the invasives are already in full swing. That’s right folks, its garlic mustard season; I saw plenty of leaf clusters on today’s outing,it is not taking its time at all. I dream of the day when we’ll be rid of the stuff.


Invasives … I’m almost clear of London Rocket and cheatgrass in my garden. Those are the common spring weeds in New Mexico with henbit and Erodium. Given up on dandelions and sowthistle in the backyard, still battling knotweed and bindweed. I’ll start to see tumbleweeds again soon after the spring winds calm down.

Also, my peach tree buds are close to opening

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From Michigan Department of Natural Resources:

Rebecca Troutman, a natural areas biologist at Holden Forests and Gardens in Cleveland Ohio, while pulling garlic mustard noticed a plant covered in tiny insects. “I did some Googling and made a preliminary identification of the garlic mustard aphid, Lipaphis alliarae,” said Troutman. “I then sent a sample to Doris Lagos-Kutz, research associate at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who confirmed it was the first official sighting of the European aphid in the U.S.”
The garlic mustard aphid is a small, dark gray to green insect sometimes called the “grenade” aphid due to the pattern of raised blotches on its back. It sucks sap from garlic mustard plants, causing puckered, yellowed or wilting leaves and twisted seed pods.

Troutman communicated her find to the [Midwest Invasive Plant Network, where coordinator Michelle Beloskur is helping spread the word in hopes of finding more places where the garlic mustard aphid is already at work.

“Since 2021, we’ve identified isolated populations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin,” said Beloskur. “We’re seeing impacts like shorter plants, fewer and twisted seed pods, and less overall biomass at these sites. It appears that even a small number of aphids can affect plant growth.”
This spring, Beloskur and Troutman hope to identify more garlic mustard aphid locations to better understand the aphid’s range and impact, and they’re asking for help.

  • Report the sighting at
    • Users need to sign in and create a password.
    • Include close-up photos of plant damage and/or the aphids.
  • Interested in sending a sample? Email Rebecah Troutman, RTroutman@HoldenFG, for instructions on packaging and mailing.
  • Negative sightings, where garlic mustard is present but the aphid is not, also can be reported through EDDMapS.

We got back our chaffinches, blackbirds, robins, song trushes singing, woodcocks has started their spring flights.
First plants start growing, though most of the snow is still there, yet to have first bloomers.
Insects get more and more active with each day.


With leaf out well underway for the deciduous trees in north Georgia (USA), a lot more caterpillars can be found.

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Spring flowers near Denver - Lomatium aka biscuitroot

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Listing firsts for the year today that I missed: first Andrena male, 2 Archiearis parthenias, bittern calls, 2 singing wrens.

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Managed to get out today for a bit: got a few new observations of Green-winged Teal and an American Widgeon. Red-winged Blackbirds were out in force as well. Still need to edit the most recent rounds of photos so that I can post them.

…which will be a good project for the upcoming week, given that Denver is about to get nailed with another round of winter weather. 3" of snow or thereabouts predicted, and daytime high temperatures just a bit above freezing. :weary:

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Maple sap has turned buddy, and crocus is ready to bloom, daffodils are up. I won’t be surprised if we get snowed again, after all, it is spring in Michigan!
Funny how we acclimate to the cold: beginning of winter at 32 degrees (freezing) it takes 3 or 4 layers of clothes to go to the mailbox… by March at freezing? Shirtsleeves will do.

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Last year the first Carson Valley monkeyflower I found was on March 20th. This year I went to the same spot once the snow had melted (March 27th) and there were only tiny cotyledons coming up. Everything seems to be running 2-3 weeks behind thanks to our extra cold and snowy winter.
Last year’s flowers:

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Cultivated New Mexico olive trees are blooming in several yards nearby while mine are barely breaking bud. A few apples trees blooming here too. First alate of the year - carpenter ant - this week

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Last night was the first night here that was warm enough and dry enough I could set my moth traps. Checking the traps in the morning makes me so happy!