Summer Connection #12 – In the Heavens, On the Ground

Ahhh – can’t you sense it in the changing light and the shorter days. Autumn is almost here!

It’s the end of summer, and here are some final seasonal tidbits taken from Chris Hardman’s Ecological Calendar.

In the Heavens:

VenusMoon – These two celestial bodies begin to appear together on the evening of Sept. 12 (last night)!

SaturnMoon – These two celestial bodies appear together on the evening of Sept. 18.

On the Earth:

MonarchMaturationMonarch butterflies live in the United States during summer. The first three generations live for six to eight weeks, but the fourth generation lives for six to eight months, long enough to migrate to Mexico or central and southern parts of California in autumn.

TwistedSummerSummer tornadoes are caused by a change in wind direction and speed, creating a spiral. Hot air rises, changing wind direction from horizontal to vertical; this vortex can expand rapidly to two to six miles in diameter.

LengtheningLizards – After the sagebrush lizard hatches from its egg, it spends summer growing, more than doubling its size to nearly two inches (5.1 cm). Dorsal coloration varies greatly between the sexes, with females being yellow to orange and males blue to gray.

KeepingCool – During hot summers, most snakes emerge only at night. However, sometimes snakes must leave their hiding places to seek food or water. The California king snake, usually diurnal, becomes nocturnal if the weather is extremely hot.

StandingStag – In summer, elk move to mountainous areas to breed. Bulls compete for mates with their antlers, and toward summer’s end the successful ones mate. Once a calf is born, it can stand after only 20 minutes of life.

DancingDuet – The whooping crane, the world’s rarest crane, dances to attract a mate, with which it stays for life. At the end of summer, these couples and their young migrate south to the Gulf Coast of Texas.

ThriftySlayer – In summer, the red fox travels widely to find food for its kits. It hunts more than it can immediately consume, saving what remains for later. Red foxes are omnivores whose diet greatly depends on availability of prey.

NotSoLonesomeLion – Mother mountain lions prowl with their cubs in tow up to two years, by which time the cubs’ blue eyes have changed to yellow. Otherwise, mountain lions prowl alone along the ridges of the American west, defending perhaps up to 150 square miles during summer.

I hope you enjoyed these knowledge tidbits!

(The above information was taken from Chris Hardman’s Ecological Calendar, available through Pomegranate Publications, www.ecocalendar.info.)

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