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Observations by Gary Fewless for Green Bay WI (Lat.N 44.51° Long. W 88.02° ), except as noted. For flowers lacking conspicuous petals or sepals I define "anthesis" as release of pollen by mature anthers.

May 2014
Baird Creek

May 31

The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory reports that Lake Superior is still about 2.5% ice-covered, a result of this recent long and difficult winter. As illustration, there are reports that over the Memorial Day weekend (May 24-26) tourists visited Marquette Michigan on the Lake Superior shore to see large chunks of ice still remaining on the lake. I saw a photograph online of a person sitting on a block of ice that was large enough to keep them afloat.

Climate data for Green Bay indicate that the month was actually slightly above average for temperature and about average for precipitation.

May 30
Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) is now flowering in the Green Bay area. This is a very commonly planted tree and it can produce a lot of pollen.
May 29
The large white trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) flowers that were bright white earlier are now turning pink in local woods.
May 28
  Silverweed (Potentilla anserina) has begun to flower on beaches near the Green Bay shore. Plants on some dry, disturbed roadsides in the city often flower a little earlier that these plants on the shore.
Interrupted fern (Osmunda claytoniana) is almost ready to release spores.
May 27
  Showy bush honeysuckle (Lonicera xbella) and its relatives have begun to flower in the Green Bay area.
May 26
  Rose twisted stalk (Streptopus lanceolatus) has begun to flower.
  Most of the migrant birds have left (except for a few stragglers), but Cedar Waxwings are coming through this area in big numbers. (Erin Giese and Stephanie Beilke).
May 24
  Choke Cherry (Prunus virginiana) has begun to flower at my usual location.
May 23
  First day for flowering of red baneberry (Actaea rubra) at my usual site. I saw a few in flower elsewhere yesterday.
May 22
  Early meadow rue (Thalictrum dioicum) and wild geranium (Geranium maculatum) have begun to flower.
May 21
  I heard my first of year Willow Flycatcher near Baird’s parking lot on campus, UWGB (Erin Giese). 
Juneberries are beginning to flower, including the smooth Juneberry (Amelanchier laevis) shown here.
May 20

Connecticut Warbler and Black-billed Cuckoo, City of Green Bay area (Stephanie Beilke).


I found 2 adult Sandhill Cranes with 2 young (very small, ~1 foot tall) crossing the road, City of Green Bay (Erin Giese).

American wild currant (Ribes americana) has begun to flower. The buds were just opening on May 2.

Red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) is in flower.
Common blue violet (Viola sororia) is prominent now in local forests.

There are huge numbers of Palm Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, and American Redstarts.  Also a few Blue-winged Warblers and Golden-winged Warblers and Red-eyed Vireos. We also heard Eastern Gray Treefrog and American Toad, City of Green Bay area (Erin Giese).

Observed a Kentucky Warbler at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary.  This is a very rare sighting this far north!  We also found a Philadelphia Vireo and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Erin Giese, Nick Walton, Stephanie Beilke).

Green Bay received 0.65 inches of rain today.

May 18
  Recently fledged Common Grackle, Brown County, DePere (Erin Giese)
  Olive-sided Flycatcher observed in Allouez and American Robin fledgling UW-Green Bay (Stephanie Beilke).
May 17
  Morning low temperature of 34° F in Green Bay. Laona 28° F.

Rusty Blackbird, Brown County, a late date for this species to remain here (Erin Giese).

First report of fleglings of House Finch, Brown County, Allouez (Stephanie Bielke).

And first report for new fledglings of American Robin, Brown County Suamico (Erin Giese).

May 16
  Some frost in the morning in low open areas, and Green Bay reached a morning low temperature of 31° F (Laona 80 miles NNW fell to 27° F). Rhinelander fell to 24° F, a new low record for the date.
May 15
  Morning low of 36° F and a high of only 52° which was achieved only after 5:00 p.m. Add cloudy skies and winds of 15-20 mph most of the day and it doesn't sound like the recipe for a great spring day, but plants are still greening up, and there are many great migrant birds around.
May 14
Canada geese Several Canada Geese were presistent around Prairie Pond this morning. They are quite familiar with people in the Green Bay area, and are sometimes even considered a nuisance there. But in the inland portions of northern Wisconsin you could spend 50 years and never get this close to one.
  Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) began to flower on UWGB May 9 and by today it is completely done flowering there!

Green Bay's temperature is only 59° F at 2 p.m. There still isn't a full spring feel to things, but the plants are growing rapidly now, especially the cool-season grasses.


Northern Leopard Frog, Eastern Gray Treefrog, Virginia Rail and Sora, City of Green Bay. We banded a Fox Sparrow, too, which is a ridiculously late record.  According to eBird, the last reported Fox Sparrow in this area was 8 May. (Erin Giese andStephanie Beilke)

May 13
cottonwood ament What kind of plant is this? The reddish material represents two fallen catkins from a cottonwood tree. They have fallen onto the opening leaves of a highbush cranberry (Viburnum trilobum). It is common in nature for two or more different types of organisms to grow close together or to inter-mix parts. Close observation is necessary and it seems to have fallen off in popularity (there is no "app" for that).
  Cloudy and periodically rainy weather persists. High temperature in mid 50's at 2 p.m.
May 12
  Green Bay received 1.05 inches of rain.
May 11
The first new Canada geese goslings are now on our local pond. This pond is quite recent so I don't have much data (7 years), but local folks tell me this is very late for the first goslings to appear.

American Toad, Northern Leopard Frog and Eastern Gray Tree Frogs calling, Brown County, Town of Howard (Jesse Weinzinger).

Green Bay received 1.13 inches of rain. The high temperature of 74° F is the warmest of the spring to date.

May 10
  For those people with spring pollen allergies, the next week will be difficult. The late spring weather has compressed the flowering season and there are now several important tree and shrub species beginning to flower at the same time. These species are producers of large amounts of wind-borne pollen and they are represented by very large numbers of individual plants in our area. Among them are: cottonwood (Populus deltoides), box elder (Acer negundo), junipers (several species including the wild eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), as well as very large numbers of cultivated yard shrubs such as Chinese juniper (Juniperus chinensis), and Japanese yew (Taxus cuspidata). And by the time these species are done flowering, Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis late May) will be ready to start, followed by smooth brome (Bromus inermis early June), reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea early June) and quackgrass (Elymus repens mid-June) all abundant grasses in our area.

Gray Tree Frogs
calling, Oconto County, Pensaukee area (Tom Erdman).

  Bumble Bee out and about, Allouez.
May 9

First of year (FOY) Blue-winged Warbler, Red-headed Woodpecker, and Lincoln’s Sparrow, and also FOY American Toad calling! Near edge of City of Green Bay (Stephanie Beilke).

  First American Toads singing, Oconto County, Pensaukee area (Tom Erdman).
May 8
  Green Bay's high temperature of 73° F is the first day of 70 or more this year, one of the latest dates to reach this milestone in recent history (I think it ranks about 7th all time) and 208 days since we last were that warm last October. One outcome of the warm day was the return of numerous migrant birds, reported widely by local birders and on wisbirdnet. See following entry.

We found the following FOY (first of the year) warblers: Golden-winged Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Northern Parula, Magnolia Warbler, Pine Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, American Redstart, Orange-crowned Warbler, Palm Warbler, and Common Yellowthroat.  We also found FOY Traill’s Flycatcher (either Alder or Willow Flycatcher), Gray Catbird, Wood Thrush, Eastern Kingbird, Bobolink, Indigo Bunting, Osprey, Great Crested Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher,  Blue-headed Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher,  Warbling Vireo, and Green Heron and we found a green darner dragonfly! (Erin Giese and Stephanie Beilke). [This is Brown County at the edge of the City of Green Bay, gf]

May 6
Turkey The "wild" turkeys are very active now in the Green Bay area. This one is in the village of Allouez near the East River.
First of year Chimney Swift, Brown County, DePere (Erin Giese).
May 5

There are still some Tundra Swans in the area, Pensaukee at Green Bay shore (Tom Erdman).

Blood Root (Sanguinaria canadensis) in flower, Town of Waukechon, Shawano County (Joel Whitehouse).

May 4
Leo Frigo Bridge There was unusually clear air this morning, but no greening of the trees in this photo taken from UW-Green Bay across the southern end of the Bay. It shows the popular "Zippin Pippin" roller coaster at Bay Beach Park, with the Leo Frigo Bridge on Highway I-43 behind it.
Robin The photo is of an American Robin with unusual coloring. This type of mottled white condition is sometimes known as "leucism" and has received increasing attention in recent years. This one has been around our yard for several weeks and probably is nesting nearby. I'd like to find the nest to see if any offspring are also unusually colored. Stay tuned.

Cliff Swallows
return to UWGB (Tom Erdman).

First of the year sighting of Black-and-white Warbler on the Fox River Trail in De Pere, WI (Erin Giese).  

First of year Veery at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary (Stephanie Beilke).

May 3
Horned Grebe We have enjoyed watching some Horned Grebes on a local pond for the last several days. They appear to be feeding almost non-stop as they visit here temporarily.
  The first fully open flowers of sharp-lobed hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba) are present today. In 29 years of careful observation, this is the latest that this population has ever begun to flower. This site is on a north-facing slope, so it is likely that some plants on sunnier sites have flowered a bit before this date. Keep in mind that we still had obvious snow on the ground through April 17 after the 3.5 inch snowfall of April 14th.
May 2 The new leaves of American black currant (Ribes americanum) are now emerging far enough out of the buds to be visible from 10 meters away. A similar condition exists for the widespread and invasive alien shrub, showy bush honeysuckle (Lonicera xbella).
May 1

Virgina Rail and Sora along southern Green Bay (Bob Howe)

  First-of-year House Wren, City of Green Bay near Green Bay shore (Stephanie Beilke).

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Last updated on May 20, 2015