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Nature Almanac


Hidden Pond Nature Center

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

Lightning Bugs

Almanac for June 2015

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: Full “Strawberry Moon” June 2. Fireflies (actually beetles) flash now. There are several species in our area, each with its own flash color and frequency. They include motion with the flash, so some give the impression that they are always rising, even though they only rise while flashing. Larval fireflies also give off light, so may also be known as glow worms. They feed on slugs and worms. Keep your lawn firefly friendly by avoiding the use of pesticides. Box turtles lay eggs in a sunny location. The young turtles, about the size of a quarter will hatch in late summer. Linden trees bloom, their fragrant flowers attract myriads of pollinating insects. Yarrow and daisy fleabane also bloom.
  • 2nd week: It’s gnat time of year. Gnats are very small flies. There are many species; the larvae of some species develop in grass stems or decaying vegetation. Damp weather seems to favor them. Strawberries are ripe. Day lilies bloom; each flower lasts only one day but there are ranks of buds in reserve, each waiting its turn. Young birds “fledge” or leave the nest. They will be fed by their parents even though they cannot yet fly. With luck (escaping cats) a few learn to fly and survive. Mortality is normally over 90% for birds during their first year.
  • 3rd week: Summer solstice is June 21. The sun will rise in the northeast at 5:43 a.m. and set in the northwest at 8:37 p.m. On this day at the North Pole the sun neither rises nor sets, but makes a complete circle around the observer in a day, always staying 23 ½ degrees above the horizon. Robins may begin the task of raising a second brood. The young from the first brood may assist with the feeding of their new siblings.
  • 4th week: The trills of the gray tree frog Hyla versicolor, may be heard in the tree tops especially after a rain. The calls are often mistaken for bird song. The frogs are difficult to see as they can change skin color to match the bark of the tree they are clinging to. Black-eyed Susans grace our roadsides. Blackberries ripen. Annual cicadas now buzz all day. Tiger swallowtail butterflies are now very evident. They lay eggs on black cherry and aspen, the very young caterpillars are camouflaged to look like bird droppings.

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