Hasn't June been off to a lovely start? After the tropical storm passes through and the rain clears tonight, the trails may be a little soggy but you should be able to get out for a walk without fear of getting rained on tomorrow morning. Matt's still got a few spaces available on a walk he's leading and mulberries are on the menu. I'll be on my way to Illinois to visit my 91-year-old grandma.
Mosquitoes: Especially after lots of rain, it can really pay off to look for where water might be collecting. See our tips on looking for spots where the mosquitoes might be breeding.
Tiger swallowtails: In the fall, tiger swallowtail caterpillars form a chrysalis in which they'll spend the whole winter, waiting for the right time to emerge. And then, on some warm, sunny day in April or May, you'll see one fluttering by. And you'll know: winter's over. In June, you'll start to see more. To me, tiger swallowtails are one of the things that make summer summer in Washington, DC. If you spend enough time outside on a sunny day, you're bound to see one.
Fireflies: They're out. J.M. Barrie wrote: "when the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies." We sit and watch them almost every night in our backyard. What better way to celebrate the summer?
Ramp flowers: Ramps are sought out earlier in the spring for their edible leaves and roots. But later in June, they send up flower stalks topped with a puffball of white flowers. If you can find a big patch, it's a very impressive sight. We've seen a lot at Scott's Run and Carderock...keep an eye out and let us know if you see some.
Cicadas: In most of DC and MD, we're missing out on the 17-year cicadas that emerged in Virginia this year. But toward the end of the month, keep an eye and an ear out for the dog-day cicadas. It doesn't take much work to hear them: they're some of the loudest insects on the planet.
Pickerel weed: This water-loving plant has gorgeous flowers that attract butterflies.
Milkweed is a beautiful, once-common roadside plant that is struggling in modern times. If you love monarch butterflies, you should show milkweed some love. Their lives depend on it: monarch larvae can only survive by eating milkweed leaves.
ticks. Lyme disease is rampant in our area, and a big deal if you get it. And there are other crazy problems they can transmit, like an allergy to red meat. So just suck it up and look for the little bloodsuckers.
What else have you been seeing on the trails lately? Leave a comment and let us know!