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Friday, March 16, 2012


phe·nol·o·gy (f-nl-j)
1. The scientific study of periodic biological phenomena, such as flowering, breeding, and migration, in relation to climatic conditions.
2. The relationship between a periodic biological phenomenon and climatic conditions.

Although I don't know much about it, this subject often comes to mind this time of year. I'm probably thinking about phenology more this year because the weather's been unusually mild, and I wonder to the extent that normal spring patterns will occur earlier. This year we have noted the early blooming of the daffodils, and to me the woods look more characteristic of April than March.

Some folk sayings reflect a noted relationship between plants blooming and fish migration: "When the shadbush blooms, the shad will be in the rivers." Sometimes you hear that one as dogwood, but I think it's really shadbush, a different plant, and common names attached to different species sometimes cause confusion, I believe.

I've got a book titled Trout Flies and Flowers which consists mostly of pictures of flowering plants such as forsythia and violets and lists insect hatches of interest to trout fishermen that occur at the same time. The sulphur hatch and dogwoods, for example. The book leaves space for the reader to make his own notes for when these happen in his area. One of these years I'll try to do that.

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