The Mountain Log

A week-by-week look at what is happening in nature.

A special thanks to Virginia Barlow’s Ginny’s Calendar in Northern Woodlands Magazine.

photo by tkw954

Week 27

Antlers on whitetail bucks have grown almost full sized / Syrphid flies, often boldly patterned in black and yellow, feed on flowers and are sometimes mistaken for bees / The cabbage butterflies now seen in gardens have spread across most of the U.S. since arriving from Europe in 1860. Chemicals the larvae pick up from their food make them distasteful to birds / When robins cock their heads, they aren’t listening for worms, they are looking for them.

photo by CaptPiper

Week 26

Floating fragments of cattails in ponds may be the result of muskrats feeding on cattail rhizomes, a muskrat staple / Ring-necked snakes are laying eggs in and under rotten logs. Several females may use the same nest / Toads end their three- to six-week tadpole stage and venture onto land / Female eastern milk snakes lay about a dozen eggs in July. They will hatch in six to eight weeks / Yarrow blooms all summer. The leaves can be chewed to relieve toothaches.

photo by BarefootGardener

Week 25

Roadsides are looking good if they are lined with Queen Anne’s lace and chicory / Grackles like to eat beetles, even the Japanese beetles now emerging from the soil / As caddisfly larvae grow, they add new material to the front ends of their cases / The black-throated blue warbler also has a black face and black sides. He sings a lot, continuing late into the summer / Six-spotted green tiger beetles use speed and their sharp pincers to nab other insects.

photo by mizanthrop

Week 24

It’s wild strawberry time / Young great blue herons, almost ready to fledge, are walking on the branches that hold up their nest / Chipmunks are busy harvesting shadbush fruits / Hummingbirds get protein from eating insects trapped in sap or nectar and have been know to pilfer them from spider webs / Thistle seeds are the goldfinch’s favorite food; plus, goldfinches and purple thistle look good together.

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