Summer Connect #3 – Summer Nature Facts

Okay. We’ve been feeling like it was here for weeks, but the truth is, it only officially became summer on June 20 with the summer solstice. The ‘longest’ day of the year, with the sun at the most northerly latitude (The Tropic of Cancer) marks a change of season, although weather-wise, summer seemed to come much earlier this year.

The following summer nature facts are taken from Chris Hardeman’s Ecological Calendar, Summer 2012, , www.ecocalendar.info .)

UpWelling – Along the coastlines of North America, wind blows warm water out to sea, allowing nutrient-rich cold water to rise along the coast, which sponsors seaweed growth and phytoplankton blooms.

OrganizedOrcas – During the annual summer salmon run, orcas form hunting groups, catching chum salmon caught in surface riptides and sockeye salmon at colder depths. Social behavior includes breaching, rubbing bodies together, and tail and pectoral slaps.

PlacentalPredator – As an embryo, the great white shark consumes the unfertilized eggs inside its mother. At birth, by spring or summer, it is between four and almost five feet long and is already too large for most predators to challenge.

FreakyFeline – Catnip, which blooms in summer in many parts of North America and Europe, contains the sedative nepetalactone, which reacts with a gene in felines, causing euphoric sensations. Some cats are without this gene and do not experience these symptoms.

MantisMax – A mature praying mantis may molt its exoskeleton up to ten times by midsummer. With each molt, the mantis grows into a more capable predtor. At summer’s end, it strikes quickly enough to capture flies and mosquitoes.

MixItUp – Beginning in early summer, chickadees, nuthatches, and some warblers flock among other bird species. Songfirds unable to find mates, as well as those that found mates earliest, are the first to join these multispecies flocks.

FireworkFlower – Mint-leaf bee balm blossoms between May and September, its lavender-purple flowers producing a firework-like explosion of color that attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

Watch for more Summer Nature Facts in August, as summer winds to a close.

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