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Nature Almanac

Hidden Pond Nature Center

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

Spring Peepers

Almanac for May 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:  Red admiral butterflies now pass through on their way north. Leaves are usually all the way out by now; maple leaves as big as your fist signal it’s safe to plant corn. Our local marsupial the possum, has as many as 13 young, which emerge now from mother’s pouch. Pink lady’s slippers in bloom; these plants may live 100 years though they are nearly impossible to transplant. Black locust trees bloom with white pea-like fragrant flowers. The call of the gray tree frog, a ragged drawn-out chirp, may be heard coming from tree tops..
  • 2nd week:  Spectacular luna moths emerge from the cocoons in which they spent the winter, mate, lay eggs on walnut, persimmon and hickory trees, then die. Young cardinals and robins have fledged (left the nest). Not yet able to fly, they are vulnerable to cat attack. White-eyed vireos have arrived from South America; heard more often than seen, they seem to say “Quick, under the window Chip!” or something like that. Spring ephemerals (wildflowers that appear only briefly) have withered and been absorbed back into the forest floor.
  • 3rd week:  Full moon May 21. Snapping turtles lay eggs in sunny places, sometimes hundreds of feet from water. The sex of baby turtles is partly determined by the temperature of the site; warm sites favor females, cooler sites favor males. Ox-eye daisies are in bloom. White pine trees release clouds of pollen which is carried from tree to tree by the wind. Tiny American toads about one centimeter long, the result of this year’s spawning, leave the water; many no doubt will be eaten by birds.
  • 4th week:  Honeysuckle and multiflora rose, two invasive but fragrant plants, fill the air with perfume. Mountain laurel is in bloom. Shad bush berries ripen; robins and catbirds seem reckless in their determination to eat every last berry. First lightning bugs (actually beetles) appear at nightfall. They include movement with their flash, which for some species gives the impression that the beetles are constantly ascending. Bull frogs lay eggs; their tadpoles will take a year to develop into adult frogs.

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