Retired teacher Larry Weber is the author of several books, including “Butterflies of the North Woods,” “Spiders of the North Woods,” “Webwood” and “In a Patch of Goldenrods.” Contact him c/o firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Though not the same as the astronomical calendar; June, July and August are defined as being meteorological summer. That means July 15 is midsummer. And as expected at this time, we regularly take note of the weather. Days are usually hot and frequently with storms. Since the hottest time of the day is in the afternoon, many of us find the morning to be a great time to walk. One of my routes is on a road that passes by woods, fields and swamps. Thanks to the summer weather conditions, I find nature news out here every day.
We tend to think of July mostly by its weather.
Taking a forest walk in July is a unique experience.
Those of us who have spent June in the Northland are well aware that we are not the only residents to be here.
Walking in the June woods is a delight, but the scene has changed much from the previous month. With a canopy of leaves overhead, the forest is shady and a completely different group of wildflowers are present. Able to cope with less sunlight, this flora thrives and I find whites of baneberry and starflower along with yellows of lingering yellow violets and blue-bead lilies (clintonia). Like the earlier spring wildflowers, these new ones also have a short time in bloom before fading.
I was walking along the shore of a lake on a late spring morning. I located a spider orb web (the circular ones) here.
After an April that was one of the coldest on record at the Duluth Weather Service, May was above normal. It's hard to believe that most of the local lakes did not have ice out until at least May 1.
The morning is cool, clear and calm. These are good conditions for observing the local birds as I walk at sunrise. Wandering along the road, I like to look in the sunlit sites for birds in the woods. It is easier to see the birds here, but also in the warmth of this solar glow, insects are more likely to be active and the early birds will be feeding.
At this time in May, the woods walks are done with more searching and much is happening.
As we get into mid May, the woods takes on a delightful scene.