Signs of Late Summer

It is still July, but I couldn’t help noticing today during my walk in Eliza Howell Park that the end of the Summer is on the horizon.

The first Wild Black Cherry tree I came to was alive with noisy Robins, enthusiastically eating the fruit that ripens in late Summer.

Shortly after, I came upon a patch of blooming Wingstem, a tall wildflower that has its turn when many of the flowers that dominate in July are going to seed.

The most prominent wildflowers of late Summer are, of course, Goldenrods. They too were announcing today that their time is arriving.

Fall Webworm (note “Fall” in the name) is a moth best known for the webbing the caterpillars make in trees to protect themselves as they feed on the leaves. These webs are now appearing at the ends of some limbs, though the caterpillars are still so tiny that they can barely be seen inside. The webs are another sign Fall is approaching.

This appears to be a good year for Shagbark Hickory nuts, at least on the tree I visit regularly. The Fall- ripening nuts are plentiful and, in a sign of the impending end of Summer, already appear to be full size.

For the last month or so, Common Milkweed has been one of the most popular flowers in the park (popular with both insects and humans). Now many of these plants are developing seed pods, getting ready for the end of the growing season.

A number of trees that disperse their seeds in the Fall are clearly getting ready to let loose, including Sugar Maple

…and American Basswood.

The wildflowers and insects (especially butterflies) have so dominated my Eliza Howell time this month that I haven’t been thinking very much about what comes next.

Today I took some time to look at the signs and to start anticipating more of the annual wonders and joys as the cycle continues.

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