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Environment & Outdoors
Phenology with local naturalist Larry Weber every Friday morning at 8:20 on Northland Morning.

Backyard Almanac: Something new every day in June

Populus_tremuloidesMatt_Lavin-20080429.jpg
Matt Lavin [via Flickr, commercial use allowed]
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The aspen tree (populus tremuloides) in springtime.

Larry Weber observes that June temperatures started off rather mild, though not yet “hot.” Typically, June is the wettest month of the year but so far the conditions this year are very dry; the flooding in the region a couple weeks ago has now given way to widespread fire danger.

Over the next ten days as we approach the summer solstice, the sunrises will be at their earliest, happening at about 5:14 a.m. However, though the “solar” end of spring is June 21st, the “phenological” end of spring is when the wildflowers in the open fields outnumber the wildflowers in the forests. We’re not there just yet.

Aspen and willow trees have been shedding their seeds, which are often seen as white clumps of fluff. The pine trees will be next in line; expect to see a lot of pollen being shed from pinecones in the coming days. Lilacs are at their peak, as are the blossoms of the chokecherry trees and the Siberian pea-trees.

Many birds are actively calling during this busy mating season. Turtles are laying their eggs, often in soft dirt alongside rural roads, so keep an eye out for turtles crossing country roads! June is usually the month of dragonflies. July should be a month of more butterfly activity. Larry has not yet seen an abundance of fireflies but hopes to see their glow in the nighttime fields in the coming weeks.

June is always a very busy month with something new to see every day, so if you were to take the same walk today as yesterday you will likely see something that wasn't there before.