A Cottage Country Spring Nature Almanac

A Cottage Country Spring Nature Almanac

Posted on May 15 by Drew Monkman
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Pinterest

Mid- to late May

  • Magnificent Rose-breasted Grosbeaks often show up at sunflower feeders, so keep your feeders stocked up until month’s end. 
  • Watch for yellow-throated Blanding’s Turtles - a species at risk - sunning themselves on logs and hummocks in wetlands.  
  • Woodlots are blanketed by a profusion of spring ephemeral wildflowers such as White Trillium and Trout Lily.   
  • A large variety of mammals gives birth this month, including beavers, flying squirrels, porcupines and deer.
  • On warm breezy days, watch for strands of gossamer – fine filaments of spider silk - caught up in plants and branches. Closer examination will usually reveal a tiny spider - off to establish its own territory - attached to the silk.  
  • Bass and sunfish begin to spawn and are a common sight near docks.
  • A lot of the birdsong you hear in cottage country at this time of year belongs to the American Redstart and Yellow Warbler

  Early June to mid-June

  • Male hummingbirds can be seen doing their pendulum courtship flight, almost as if suspended from a string.  
  • Turtles are often seen laying their eggs on the sandy margins of cottage roads and rail-trails.    
  • Giant silk moths take wing in June. They include the spectacular Cecropia and Luna.
  • June is also the time of the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail. It resembles both a tiger in its yellow and black colouration and a Barn Swallow’s tail in the shape of the wing extensions.  
  • This is the time of peak nesting activity for many bird species. Keep your cat indoors.
  • The melodious, bird-like trills of the Gray Treefrog provide the music of June nights.  

At the summer solstice on June 21, the sun rises and sets farther north than any other day of the year. It is nearly directly overhead at noon and casts the year's shortest shadows.

Drew Monkman

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014

Drew Monkman

Drew Monkman is a teacher, naturalist, and writer whose popular nature column "Our Changing Seasons" appears weekly in the Peterborough Examiner. He participates in wildlife-monitoring programs, including the Breeding Bird Survey, the Marsh Monitoring Program, and the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, and is the author of Nature's Year in the Kawarthas. Monkman lives in Peterborough, Ontario.