Summer is Coming!
As May comes to a close, and the weather starts to heat up, you may notice the breeze carrying different tunes, as well as different aromas. With the beginning of summer just ahead, there are so many species that will be coming out to play, making nests for their little ones, or blooming in spectacular hues.
If you’re a birdwatcher, you know that late Spring is a quiet time for the bird world. During this period, most birds are still incubating eggs or taking care of nestlings. But with the early summer comes the arrival of some real treats for any fan of North Carolina birds.
These warm early days of summer often mark the first arrival of some of our favorite large, flashy birds. Around Hillsborough, you can expect to see a few long-legged waders, like herons and egrets, who are finding their independence for the first time far from their coastal birthplace. Marshes, lake edges, and open fields are the places to look for these visitors.
Another summer phenomenon is the arrival of bald eagles here in the Triangle. The grouping at Jordan Lake constitutes one of the largest concentrations of bald eagles in the entire eastern United States. These magnificent birds can be seen all over the state, though they are particularly abundant in our area.
For many enthusiasts, summer means the arrival of one particular bird: the ruby-throated hummingbird. Nectar feeders will soon be swamped by young hummers. By midsummer, there will be enough hummingbirds around to make keeping feeders full a real challenge, but it is a delightful challenge to have!
Turning to a critter most of us may not associate with the bright sunshine, June is peak season for bat pups being born. Of course, many of us would rather not encounter these furry friends at all, but it is perfectly safe to observe them from a distance. Distance is key, however, as bats will attack only in self defense, and are known carriers of various diseases.
The image of bats always living in caves is not entirely accurate. Bats do take up residence in caves and other enclosed spaces during the cold months of winter. However, if you would like to see bats this time of year in the Hillsborough area, you’ll have a lot more luck than in winter. Look near small bodies of water like creeks and ponds.
Bats may also decide to set up shop in outdoor structures, as they nurse their young during early summer. For that reason, it’s recommended that any May-June home projects covering holes in structures or installing exclusion devices be temporarily delayed, as this can trap young bats who are not ready to care for themselves and may not be able to get out.
Summer also means viewing some species that are a little less sentient, but no less magnificent. This month, magnolias will be in bloom, bringing out the squirrels and possums to chomp down on their seeds. Mimosa will also be flowering, and will surely sweeten the air with its aroma.
Just a sampling of the dozens and dozens of plants that will be blooming in our area in the next few weeks include: Oakleaf Hydrangea, Sweet Azalea, Gardenia, Rose, Summer Spirea, Florist Hydrangea, Yucca, Gumpo and satsuki Azaleas, Hypericum, Trumpet Creeper, Phlox, Butterfly Weed, Daylily, Balloon Flower, Stokesia, Coreopsis, Poppy, Canna, and Red Hot Poker.
We are truly lucky, in Hillsborough, to be surrounded by such abundant natural beauty. With changing weather and new plants and animals arriving to greet us, summer is nearly here. And in Hillsborough, we are lucky to be surrounded by abundant natural beauty and countless gorgeous green spaces to get out and enjoy it (many of which you can find here).
So stock up on sunblock and get outside to greet another beautiful Hillsborough summer!