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Flowering fun and creature features

We started today by searching for flowering plants in Experimental Plot 2. The plants in the approach are really getting tall, and lagging on the walk in can mean losing the person in front of you!

Shea and Julie battle their way through the grass on the approach to P2

Today I received a crash course in phenology. As heads begin flowering they progress through a number of stages that we record. Being able to distinguish between them is important to understand whether flowering has begun, or if we need to check back soon to record the start. Here are the four stages we saw today!

We record”rays up” after they’ve grown at least one centimeter!

We all paired up to search the rows, which eventually resulted in Riley and I facing down our advancing teammates as we tried to thread the needle between the other pairs. We have to be careful about where we step in the plots so we avoid trampling plants.

Our view of Shea, Jay, Julie and Drake as we tried to search the middle row; we needed to stand where Jay and Julie are!

In addition to plenty of plants we saw a menagerie of creatures in P2. My caterpillar adventures continue, and I am continually impressed by how many frogs live in the prairie! Back home in the swamp frogs are never a surprise, but here big leaps from little guys in the middle of the plot still startle me.

Leopard frog making a great escape from Drake’s hand
A mystery slimy guy

A mystery fuzzy boy

This afternoon we were visited by Tracie, Josh and Ruth, and over the phone Julie, Amy and I chatted with Lea about methods we could use this season. It was exciting to have new faces and voices around the Hjelm House! We spent the sunny afternoon sweating and rechecking flowering plant locations in P1, and weather providing we should be able to finish up P2 tomorrow.

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