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Nature Almanac

Hidden Pond Nature Center

[ 8511 Greeley Blvd. ] [ Springfield, VA 22152 ] [ 703-451-9588 ]

Garden Spider

Almanac for July 2016

Natural events, happenings, and fearless predictions based on 30 years of observations at Hidden Pond. Your observations may vary! Hidden Pond is not responsible for errors, erratic behavior or other whims of nature.

  • 1st Week:  Sycamore trees now shed last year’s darkened bark; the fresh new bark is smooth and almost white. This is now happening regularly at least a week earlier than when we first started making these observations 30 years ago. Young hummingbirds accompany their parents to feeders. Queen Anne’s lace now graces our roadsides; their large clusters of flowers are pollinated by many small insects, some of which seem to be attracted by the single tiny black floweret at the center of the disk. Mosquitos usually do not stray far from where they hatched. If you have a mosquito problem look for nearby places which trap water. A cup of water left standing for two weeks is all they need to reproduce.
  • 2nd week:  Milkweed is in bloom. The flowers are visited for nectar by many butterflies, including the monarch; she will also lay her eggs on the plant. The eggs hatch into caterpillars in 4 days, feed on the milkweed for 2 weeks, go through the chrysalis stage for 10 days, and then emerge as an adult that then flies north to continue the cycle anew. As fall approaches the monarchs decide to head south to where their ancestors several times removed, started from. Blackberries ripen. Cardinal flowers are in bloom; their flowers have very weak stems and must be pollinated by hovering insects and hummingbirds. Hornet nests are big enough now to be noticed; the good news is that the hornets prey on flies.
  • 3rd week:  Full Moon July 19. Local corn is ripe. Goldenrod is in bloom; the showy yellow flowers are pollinated by insects. Ragweed is also in bloom; the drab green flowers are pollinated by the wind which carries the pollen from plant to plant, and also to our noses and eyes. Cicadas buzz all day and katydids say their name with a raspy voice all night. Young month-old rabbits, the size of a fist must leave the nest; their mother has a new litter every 30 days during the summer. Cardinals’ second brood now fledge (leave the nest).
  • 4th week: The days are now getting noticeably shorter, we are losing 2 ½ minutes of sunshine each day. Insects are very noisy; some make high frequency sounds inaudible to humans, however it is the trills of the snowy tree crickets that makes our woods so noisy at night. Bats are very busy at night using sonar (SOund Navigation And Ranging) to catch insects; so some moths make sounds to jam bat sonar. The moth’s soft scales also may absorb bat sonar which may help to make the moth stealthy.


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