What a lovely break in the heat we're having. Here are some things to keep an eye out for in August. Links are to previous LOOK FOR posts:
Photo credit: Rongem Boyo
The Perseid meteor shower is expected to peak August 11-14. The moon will be a waning crescent that comes up just before sunrise, so there should be dark skies. We just have to fight the haze and clouds of August humidity. The best time to look is in the wee hours of the morning, but you could see meteors at any time after about 9 PM.
hummingbird on cardinal Flower
in our yard
In August we often see hummingbirds in our yard nearly every day. What a treat to watch them go from hovering in mid-air, to zipping away, fast as lightning.
Greater Anglewing by Jerry Oldnettel
Even more common are the katydids, who chirp just about everywhere in the evening. Even when we lived in Dupont Circle, there was one in the tree outside our apartment building. In the woods you'll hear them by the thousands...and in this post, you can learn to tell apart the calls of the five different species.
Monarch larva by The Natural Capital
Monarch butterflies are in serious decline. But this is the time of year that they are laying their eggs, and if you look closely on milkweed, you may see some stripey caterpillars. Until a few years ago, we brought a few inside every year and raised them. (This post on raising monarchs has been one of the all-time most popular posts on the Natural Capital.) Lately, we've seen so few that I actually choked up a little when I saw a monarch on the milkweed in our backyard.
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.
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.
Sagittaria by Tom Brandt
Katniss, namesake of the character from the Hunger Games, blooms in August. You won't find enough to subsist on as she did, but if you're a fan of the book it's fun to know the plant.
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 billmiky
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 to find out how.
We really enjoyed watching a sphinx moth nectar on jimson weed by the Potomac River a couple of years ago, and may head back to try again. If we end up just watching the sunset by the river, that's not so bad either.
Polyphemous moth by Jason Sturner
Also out this time of year are the giant silkworm moths, and their large green caterpillars. So beautiful.What have you been seeing lately? Leave a comment and let us know!