Nature Almanac: Month by Month

Male Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) preening.
Male Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) preening.

A Guide to Seasonal Nature Happenings for Philadelphia, Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware

 

General Happenings

Indian Moon Names

Equinoxes, Solstices and Cross-Quarter Days

Keeping a Seasonal Nature Journal


 

 

Yellow WIld Indigo - Baptistia tinctoria in my garden.
Yellow WIld Indigo – Baptistia tinctoria in my garden.

January 
Birds: Watching water birds, Mating season for Great Horned Owls
Sky: Quadrantids meteor shower


 

Yellow WIld Indigo (Baptisia Tinctoria) covered in snow, in my garden.
Yellow WIld Indigo (Baptisia Tinctoria) covered in snow, in my garden.

 

February
Birds:  Feeder watching, winter birds, Great Backyard Bird Count
Nature festival: Imbolc (February 1st), Groundhog Day (February 1st)


 

trees - Red Maple (Acer rubrum L.)

March
Nature in Spring: An Overview of the season.
Birds: Waterfowl migration peaks by mid-March; Early nesting species begin breeding; Great Horned Owl and Bald Eagles may already be nesting; A few raptors migrate early; keep your bird feeders out as food is scarce in spring and seeds won’t be ready until summer;
Flowers: In bloom – Skunk Cabbage
Trees: Tree buds swell, pollen released
Sky: Spring Equinox March 21st or 22nd
Holidays: Spring Equinox


 

Yellow Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum)
Yellow Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum)

April
Bird : Year-round resident birds begin nesting; Bird northward migration begins, early northward migration of shorebirds; fill hummingbird feeders by end of April; Waterfowl mostly moved northward;
Butterflies: Cabbage Whites in flight
Insects: In flight – Bumblebees, Eastern Carpenter Bees,
Flowers: In bloom – Virginia Bluebells, Shadbush, Dogwoods, Rhododendrons, Violets, Columbines, Foamflowers, Bleeding Hearts
Invasive Species: In bloom – Garlic Mustard,
Sky: Lyrids meteor shower
Nature festival – Earth Day (April 22nd); National Arbor Day


 

Bee on Rhododendron in my garden
Bee on Rhododendron in my garden

May
Birds; Peak of Spring northward migration of land birds, Great Dawn Chorus begins
Flowers: In bloom – Coral Bells, Sweetspire
Sky: Eta Aquarids meteor shower

Nature festival: Beltane – May 1st


 

strawberries grown in my garden
strawberries grown in my garden

June
Nature in Summer: An overview of the season
Birds: Peak of Nesting Season
Sky: Summer solstice, June 21st or 22nd
Weather: When is Hurricane Season?


Great Spangled Fritillary on Echinacea purpurea
Great Spangled Fritillary on Echinacea purpurea

July
Birds : Young birds begin fledgling; Shorebirds begin their southward migration
Butterflies: Many butterflies in flight
Sky: S. Delta Aquarids meteor shower

Special days: Dog Days – July 3rd to August 11th


 

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

August
Birds: The autumn migration begins
Flowers: In bloom – Cardinal Flower, Pickerelweed, Rose Mallow, Giant Purple Hyssop, Summer Phlox
Trees: Leaves begin to change color
Sky: Perseids meteor shower
Nature festival: Lammas or Lughansadh  (first fruits)


 

autumn_colors_Clopper_2_Lake_Seneca_Creek_SP.noaa.gov

September
Nature in Autumn: an overview of the season
Birds: Peak time for the southward migration of land birds; Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have departed by October 15th
Hawks: Peak of migration for American Kestrel, Broad-winged Hawk, Osprey
Sky: Autumn Equinox, Harvest moon
Autumn Moons for Nature Journal Keeping


 

White Oak leaves in Wissahickon Valley Park in fall. Photo by Donna L. Long.
White Oak leaves in Wissahickon Valley Park in fall. Photo by Donna L. Long.

October
Birds: Peak of southward migration of waterfowl and hawks
Hawks: Peak of migration for Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawks, Northern Harrier, Osprey, Bald Eagle
Butterflies: Migration southward by Monarch and Buckeyes
Mammals: Squirrels are frantically gather food for winter, they may dig in your flower pots. Male White-tailed deer are eager to mate (going into rut)
Trees/Shrubs: Fall foliage peaks third week in October
Flowers: Asters and Goldenrods in bloom
Sky: Draconids meteor shower (Oct. 8-9); Orionids meteor shower (Oct. 21-22), Hunter’s Moon

Nature festival: All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween)


 

Dark-eyed Junco
Dark-eyed Junco in my garden. Photo by Donna L. Long.

November
Birds: Winter birds arrive, shorebirds winter along coast
Hawks: Peak of migration for Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Northern Groshawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, Turkey Vulture

Citizen Science: Project Feederwatch begins
Sky: S. Taurids meteor shower, Leonids meteor shower

Nature festival: All Hallow’s Eve, Halloween

 


 

A female Cardinal and a Dark-eyed Junco in the snow.
A female Cardinal and a Dark-eyed Junco in the snow.

December

Nature in Winter
Birds: Watching winter birds, Eagles wintering at Conowingo Dam in Maryland
Citizen Science:  Christmas Bird Counts
Sky: Winter Solstice, Geminids meteor shower, Ursids meteor shower


 

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