Summer Connect #5 – Mid to Late Summer Happenings

The year’s natural happenings continue this month – in spite of heat or wind or drought. Here’s a list of some of the things happening in the skies and on the planet during the coming weeks. (Thanks again to Chris Hardman’s Ecological Calendar for this fun compilation to share with you!)

In the Skies
MercuryLeavesEvenings – Mercury exits the evening sky on July 21, and:
MercuryJoins VenusJupiterMornings – Mercury joins the morning sky on August 6.

MarsMoon – These two celestial bodies appear together on the evening of July 24.

SaturnSpicaMoon – The bright star Spica joins Saturn and the Moon on the evening of July 25.

Perseids – An early headsup! – The Perseid meteor shower peaks between August 12 and 14. Spoiler: the moon may interfere wth observation.

On the Planet
MachoMating – The 2,000-lb. male American bison, or buffalo as it is commonly called, is the largest mammal in the United States. In midsummer, male bison make loud mating calls, paw th ground, and butt heads to compete for female attention.

HugeHummers – Hummingbirds are the second-largest family of birds in the Western Hemisphere, but are unknown in the Eastern Hemisphere. In summer, ruby-throated hummingbirds live in easten North America, Allen’s hummingbirds live in California, and rufous hummingbirds are found as far north as Alaska.

HomeyBeaver – While distinctly different species, both the Eurasian and the North American Beaver share behavioral traits. Their homes or lodges, which are entered underwater, are constructed with two dens, the entrance level for drying off and an interior space for cozy family living.

ShadyShallow – Water holes are sources of drinking wsater for animals such as deer, turkeys, and other birds. For amphibians, they provide a shallow mating space, an escape from predators – especially in ephemeral water holes – or respite from summer’s heat.

WaspThief – The broad-headed skink, a lizard native to the central and southeastern United States, knocks paper wasp pupae from their nests. The sting of the wasp is too weak to penetrate the skink’s skin, making the young wasp an easy meal.

WetWrigglers – Earthworms gather plant debris not only for food but also to retain moisture in their burrows on hot summer days.

BeatTheHeat – Many frogs estivate to cope with summer’s high heat. Similar to hibernation, estivation slows frogs’ metabolisms and decreases their intestinal mass to save energy.

BandilloBone – The nine-banded armadillo lives in the southern United States, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Despite its name, the nine-banded armadillo may have eight, or even ten, bands of bone around its stomach and back.

(Information about Chris Hardman’s Ecological Calendar is available at www.ecologicalcalendar.info, and can be ordered from www.Pomegranate.com)

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