Here in Philadelphia… it’s been warm and rainy. The hot season in Philadelphia lasts from about May 30th to September 16th. August is Philadelphia’s second hottest month after July. And July is the rainiest month. Three rivers, the large Delaware, the Schuylkill and the Wissahickon also border the city. Which makes for a hot, steamy and damp summer.
The highlight of my summer is August 15th when the nights cool. And just a few days after the 16th, the nights did indeed cool. See Cool Nights Return.
But September is shaping up to be beautiful with clear sunny days and cool nights. We are transitioning from the hot season to the warm season of autumn. See Nature in Autumn.
This is harvest time. The fruits and vegetables that produced all summer are ripening their last harvests. We gather the crops before the first fall frost hits around October 31st, about the time the Pleiades rise in the night sky.
This month’s nature almanac photos are of my harvests. Happy Harvest Moon!
My Nature Observations
There were fewer Spotted Lantern Flies this year. Apparently, they have moved on. Last year, there were dead Lantern Flies squashed on sidewalks, trapped in spider webs, floating in pools of water. This year, next to nothing. Once or twice, one zoomed loudly by my ear. And I could hear the clicking sounds they make as they land on a plant (usually a favorite plant) to feed. So far, we have missed an invasion.
I’ve seen quite a few Monarch butterflies this summer. It seems more than last year. I see Monarch’s mostly in July and August. In the latter half of August, I have seen more Monarchs, and I assumed they may be migrants from further north. They will migrate along Cape May and the Jersey shore soon.
I spotted a Clearwing Hummingbird Moth sipping nectar from a Butterfly Bush that had sprung up in a neighbor’s garden plot. I don’t see them often. Or maybe I just mistake them for hummingbirds.
My Little Break
The one week break I took turned into six weeks. I was just tired. I needed the break.
During my time off, I read and thought a lot about my family’s history and culture. My family (I am speaking of both my parents) are of Eastern Woodland Indian descent. My family descends from Rappahannock, Eastern Cherokee, and Saponi peoples, all peoples of the Eastern Woodlands.
Philadelphia is in the Eastern Woodlands. It is the homeland of the Lenni Lenape people and in their language, the area is ‘Lenapehoking’, meaning ‘land of the Lenape’. See Lenapehoking on Wikipedia.
I include Eastern Woodlands environmental knowledge in my blog posts, but you will probably notice more. I hope you’ll find the new topics interesting and useful.
Autumnal Equinox – September 22, 20213:21 P.M. EDT
There are 89 days and 20 hours from the autumnal equinox (September 22nd) to the winter solstice (December 21st).
The growing season is just about over as harvesting begins. Once the Pleiades rise in the night sky in late October/early November, the agricultural season is over.
The Eastern Woodlands: the Harvest Moon’s Key Happenings
- Groundhogs (Woodchucks hibernate)
- Cranberry harvests begins
- Field Crops harvest begins in the Three Sisters fields – dried corn, dried beans, and winter squash and pumpkins
- Nuts gathered – hickory, walnuts, beechnuts, acorns, sunflower seeds, and American chestnuts, in the past before the Chestnut blight attacked the indigenous trees
- Ducks are migrating and hunted
- Fishing continues – best fishing days when the moon is between new and full (a waxing moon) – September 6th – 20th, the fish are most active
In the Sky This Month
During the Harvest Moon, the corn is ripe and dried on the stalk, ready for harvesting and storing for the winter.
The full moon name covers the new moon through the last quarter, in this case the Harvest Moon.
- New Moon (the Harvest New Moon) – 6th of September
- First Quarter – 13th of September
- Full Harvest Moon – 20th day of September
- Last Quarter – 28th day of September
- New moon always rises near sunrise
- First Quarter Moon rises near noon
- Full Moon always rises near sunset
- Winter Full Moons are high in the sky
- Spring and Summer Moons are very low in the sky
- Last Quarter rises around midnight
- Moonrise occurs about 50 minutes later each day
- Midnight Sun At the North Pole – the Sun never sets from March 20th to September 23rd.
“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.
Comets and Meteor Showers
Meteor showers die down after the major ones of August.
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
September Constellations to see in the Night Sky – Virgo, Libra, Andromeda, Scorpius, and other zodiac constellations.
The Sky This Month on Astonomy.com : September 2021
- Citizen science projects on SciStarter.org
That’s it for this issue. Look for the next issue at the end of February.
If you have a comment or suggestion, as always leave a comment below.
Happy Nature Journaling!
August 2021 Nature Almanac and Journal
Enjoyed reading your observations. September is a sweet month, with clear sunny days and crisp cool nights. I think this holds both in New England (Boston area) where I live now, and in the Delaware River valley where I lived 1989-2002. Vegetable and pollinator gardens are in billowy abundance. The shorter days are a reminder to look back in gratitude for summer, hopefully well spent, and to look ahead to the seasonal change to come.
Hi Joseph. Well said. I look forward to the changing of the seasons. There is a high of 86 degrees today. Too warm.
HI Donna, It was nice to read your post today- I have missed them, but I’m so glad you took the break you needed for restoration and contemplation. I won’t be surprised if there is a bountiful ‘harvest’ from that growing season. I loved your information about the moon, which has been a beautiful cresent low in the sky in the clear evenings the last two days. Up here in Massachusetts where I live we are getting crisp evenings already.
Hi, Laura – I know you are enjoying the crisp air. The high is 86 degrees today. Last night was 76. Please send cool air down my way. Thanks
Hi, I enjoyed reading about your ancestry. When I was in high school in the 70’s, a book that we read was The Light in the Forest, by Conrad Richter. It was first published in 1953. I am wondering if you have read the book. I feel like we are so much more enlightened today about Native American portrayals and it may not have stood the test of time.
Hi, Marjorie – Thanks for your comment. No, I haven’t read The Light in the Forest. I read books and watch tv/films by natives about natives. The current hit show “Reservation Dogs” on Hulu is a good example. These types of portrayals are much more realistic.
Thank you. Your posts are just so awesome! I am a retired biology teacher and love that you are providing these educational posts.