Summer has turned the corner. In August it's on the ebb.
If you didn't have a calendar, how would you know? Here's a quick list of what to look for outdoors. For a detailed list, especially flowers and butterflies, see Chuck Tague's phenology.
- Hummingbird Clearwing Moths drink from Swamp Thistles. This moth resembles a hummingbird when it flies. Look closely; don't be fooled.
- Late summer flowers are here -- Coneflowers and Bonesets, Wingstems and Sunflowers, Goldenrods and Asters -- and so are their accompanying butterflies and moths.
- Bird song is rare. Only cardinals sing at dawn in my neighborhood and soon they'll be silent too.
- Hummingbird migration begins. Visit any place with lots of flowers and you'll see hummingbirds zipping by. In the eastern U.S. we have only ruby-throated hummingbirds, but during migration there's a chance a rufous hummingbird will arrive. Keep a watch on your feeders.
- Warblers and shorebirds leave for the south.
- Many adult birds, including peregrine falcons, are molting.
- Some trees show late-season insect or fungal disease. Stands of black locusts are brown. Fall webworms will make tents in the trees.
- By mid-August we should be hearing katydids but I'm not holding my breath. I'm still waiting to hear cicadas and crickets in the numbers I expected in June and July. What a strange year!
(photo by Chuck Tague)