Saturday, August 6, 2011

Things to Look For in August

Last year, at the beginning of my August round-up, I wrote, "It's been the hottest summer on record and August probably won't be any different." And here we are again. But, as there is every year, there's still plenty to see outside, if you can take it. Links are to previous LOOK FOR posts:

Photo credit: Rongem Boyo
The Perseid meteor shower peaks on August 13, but there's also a full moon then, which will make it hard to see many of the meteors. (If you click through to last year's post, the viewing info will be off because of this.) This year, EarthSky recommends looking earlier in August, when the moon isn't so bright. Like tonight, even. The shower has already started, it just isn't at its peak yet.
monarch caterpillar
Monarch larva by The Natural Capital
Monarch butterflies are laying their eggs, and if you look closely on milkweed, you may see some stripey caterpillars. Every year, we bring a few inside and raise them. It's a pretty amazing process. (This post on raising monarchs has been one of the all-time most popular posts on the Natural Capital.)

joe pye weed
Joe Pye weed by Garden Beth
Joe Pye Weed is another butterfly magnet at this time of year -- not so much for the monarchs as for the swallowtails. Keep an eye out for Joe Pye weed in wetland areas and then watch for the butterflies...look closely and you'll find lots of other pollinators, too.

Passion Flower Close-Up
Passionflower by Texas Eagle
Joe Pye is one of our tallest flowers; passionflower is surely one of the most exotic-looking. The tropical look of this flower may lead you to think of steamy nights of passion, but the 17th century missionaries who named it claimed to have religion in mind.

Halloween pennant dragonfly
Dragonfly by afagen
Dragonflies are common sight this time of year. They hang out around water, because they lay their eggs there and spend their nymph stage as aquatic creatures. In our post we highlighted 6 common species, and shared a video of a dragonfly shedding its aquatic skin to become an adult.

Sumac berries by j.e.s.1981VA
Sumac has extremely distinctive clusters of dark red, hairy berries in the late summer. They're great for making pink lemonade! Check out our post from last summer to find out how.

What have you been seeing lately? Leave a comment and let us know!