Here in Philadelphia…
Flowers are full of buds and ready to bloom in July. In my garden July blooming flowers include Blazing Star (Liatris spicata), Tickseed Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata), Bee Balm (Monarda didyma), Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), and Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa).
Still blooming: Red Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) and Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia) and they will bloom sporadically for a while.
Summer Phlox (Phlox paniculata) should start blooming in July. I have both white and pink varieties. The white looks so cool and peaceful in the intense summer heat.
Did You Know?
This month’s moon is called the Thunder Moon. It is a time of many thunderstorms. Thunderstorms follow a specific pattern of development. Clouds form and progress across the sky in a predictable order. The clouds develop from wispy to cirrus to altostratus to nimbostratus to massive cumulonimbus.
To read more see my blog post, The Order of a Rainstorm, the Patterns that Predict Rain and Summer Rain Clouds.
Summer lasts 93 days from the Summer Solstice until the Autumn Equinox on September 22, 2021.
In the July 2021 Sky
July 1st – Last Quarter Strawberry Moon
July 9th – New Thunder Moon (also Buck or Raspberry Moon)
July 17th – First Quarter Thunder Moon
July 23rd – Full Thunder Moon
July 31st – Last Quarter Thunder Moon
“The Moon’s path across the sky changes with the seasons. Full Moons are very High in the sky (at midnight) between November and February (winter) and very low in the sky between May and July. – The Old Farmer’s Almanac 2021, p. 102
Moonrise occurs about 50 minutes later each day
Best Fishing – When the Moon is between New and Full. July 9th – 23rd is when this month’s moon is waxing or growing larger.
Stars in the Summer Sky
Circumpolar Constellations – from latitude 40 degree north – these constellations are always in the sky: Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Cassiopeia, Draco, Cepheus, and Camelopaedalis. link to post
Leo, Bootes, Virgo, Corvus, Crater, and Cancer are in the night sky.
Meteor Shower in the Sky – The Delta Aquarid Showers are seen during predawn, originating in the south portion of the sky. July 30th is the date for the maximum number of meteors of about 10 per hour. The best viewing is in a dark sky with little light pollution.
Meteors are fast, moving falling stars. Comets are slow-moving balls of ice and dust.
Nature Study and Nature Journaling Activities
I have been keeping track of the bloom times of the plants in my garden. By this time next year I should have a comprehensive guide to when plants should bloom, just like Henry David Thoreau.
I’ll been drawing flowers and leaves in my garden, pressing leaves, and maybe even some leaf prints.
To try something a little different, gain inspiration from Henry Thoreau’s Style of Nature Journaling.
July 2021 Summer Birding in My Backyard
Birds are in the midst of the nesting season. Birders stop actively searching for birds at this time. This is to allow the birds to raise their young undisturbed. Backyard bird watching is the best activity now because the birds come to you. They may even reward you with parent birds bringing their young to your feeders and water.
I’ve had to cut back on my bird feeding activities. There are two cats that roam the road at the back of our houses. Neighbors have trapped the cats and taken to Philly’s Animal Control, which spays or neuters the animals and releases them back in the same area someone trapped the animals. There aren’t any kittens, so thank goodness for that. In the past the driveway has looked like a ‘cat promenade’ with cats roams all over.
A few weeks ago the ‘Gray and White’ cat lounged on my car roof. Plotting how to catch one of the Cedar Waxwings as they eat the Shadbush berries, I had to go out and wet the car top to discourage the cats. I don’t think they would have wanted to lounge on a wet car.
Now, I put out suet in the cold months and water in a Perky Pet Bird Waterer (Amazon affiliate link) the rest of the year. A variety of birds use the waterer to drink. Water is probably the cheapest thing you can do to feed birds.
Observing Animals in Summer
Lantern Fly – Last year this time this invading invasive species was everywhere in Philly. There were dead Lantern Fly bodies everywhere as normally peaceful humans smashed the bugs wherever they saw them. Making a Lantern Fly Trap
A flock of House Sparrows nest in a holly shrub in my neighbor’s backyard. I think they ate any Lantern Flies that were on my Rose shrub. I haven’t seen any more Lantern flies in my garden. Wado, House Sparrows!
What if we watch and keep phenology details and what plants they seem to like and don’t like?
Observing Native Plants in July
Create a Bloom Calendar of when your plants bloom and for how long.
Collecting Phenology Data to predict the natural rhythms of the Earth
Wondering what to plant to fill in the empty spaces in your habitat garden?
Need to July-blooming Native Plants. See Summer Blooming Native Plants
Land and Weather Observations
See if you can predict summer rain storms by watching the clouds. The key is knowing the varieties of clouds.
See Cloud Types on NOAA’s website
That’s it for this issue. Look for the next issue at the end of August.
If you have a comment or suggestion, as always leave a comment below.
Happy Nature Journaling!
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