Elk Rapids Almanac - July 2021
July - In Diary of a Young Naturalist, sixteen year old Dara McAnulty of Ireland describes his early childhood joy of being awakened every morning by the songs of a black bird, harking from the kitchen extension, "a glorious messenger on the rooftop of sleeping and waking... the blackbird was the conductor of my day, every day, for what seemed like along time," eventually the inspiration for his diary.
Sharing the complexities of his autism, the challenges of being a teenager, changes in schools and neighborhoods, and the support of a tight knit family, he hopes to help people understand autism a little more and also to appreciate our delicate and changing biosphere. -Published in the United States by Milkweed Editions, 2021. Minneapolis, MN.
July 19 - From my comfortable lving room chair, I have enjoyed watching a pair of House Finches building a tiny nest on my porch light, and now they are busy feeding and tending three baby birds. A House Finch will build a nest almost anywhere, even door wreathes, and this pair has been a nice reminder of the simple joys of bird watching. -Jude Lopus
July 21 - Summer wild flowers are a beautiful sight along many of out local streets and highways. Many are native to northern Michigan, and often planted in home gardens. These native plants also have a job to do, an entomologist Doug Tallamy notes: "We've already lost 45% of the insects on this planet. It's out native plants that support our native insects." Native plants found locally include Common Milkweed, Butterfly Weed, Meadow Rue, Golden Rod, Black-eyed Susan, and Joe Pye Weed. -Sandy Naples, Pine Hill Nursery. More info on native plants at https://www.canr.msu.edu/nativeplants
Late July and Early August Birding - Many songbirds that breed in this area have babies growing rapidly in preparation for their long southbound journey. No longer trying to attract a mate or defend their territory, these birds sing less and use short, faint contact calls to keep in touch. In flight, moving through the trees and bushes, and foraging for food, they are basically saying to each other, "I am here, where are you?"
Morning birdsong may include the American Robin, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, House Finch, White-throated Sparrow, Black-capped Chickadee, House Wren, Indigo Bunting, Tufted Titmouse, and Eastern Kingbird.
Evening birdsong or calls may include Mourning Dove, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Hermit Thrush, Chipping Sparrow, Killdeer, Upland Sandpiper, Indigo Bunting, Common Nighthawk, American Woodcock, Chimney Swift, and Common Loon (on the lakes).
Nocturnal birdsong heard at dusk may include the Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, and Eastern Screech Owl. -Janet Smigielski, birder, Grass River Natural Area
MARK YOUR AUGUST CALENDAR - The Perseids Mediorite Shower, the most popular meteor shower seen from the northern hemisphere, active from July 17 to August 24, ranging from 50-75 shower members per hour maximum, and will peak on the Aug 11-12 night, when the moon will be 13% full. -Details at earthsky.org