I have the feeling that we are in our second day of summer. Summer arrived in the Upper Midwest on the first day of June, according to meteorologists who remind us that this day marks the beginning of what is historically the warmest 92 days of the year.
We all can feel that the pace of life has slowed down a bit. June 1 brings with it the sense of completion. Yes, the school year is over — or nearly so — and same with graduations. At the same time, woodlands also are thick with lush new leaves, the migrating birds have returned, and the daylight hours are lengthened. Let summer begin!
The sun is high in the sky in June, and each acre of land here in Minnesota is receiving more radiant energy than in equatorial South America or Africa. The long hours of sunlight promote nesting behavior in birds, including the Baltimore orioles, purple martins, tree swallows and warblers. Clutches of newly hatched wood duck ducklings jump from their nest boxes. Canada geese and trumpeter swans begin to shed flight feathers.
White water lilies start to bloom on quiet waters. Blue flag, a native Minnesota iris, is flowering in wetlands, and tall bearded irises continue to be showy in gardens. Double peonies have large scented flowers. Honeybees forage on white Dutch clover blossoms on lawns.
Jim Gilbert has taught and worked as a naturalist for 50 years.