Kaw Valley Almanac
this week’s Almanac
Winter flocks have come together. Concentrated further with each snow storm we get chickadees, cardinals, bluejays, juncos, nuthatches and titmouse; give yourself a ringside seat by putting out a birdfeeder this winter.
When it gets too hot and dry, some animals aestivate, a type of summer hibernation where they typically hole up in the ground and wait for cooler, moister conditions.
Now is the time to enjoy the purple wildflower called gayfeather or blazing star.
Katydids fill the night with their song and lightning bugs and crickets continue. With cicadas droning in the daytime heat and the full moon, the evening is full of wildlife activity – look for treefrogs on your window, ready to catch a moth or two.
There are still wild raspberries and blackberries for the picking, check currants, wild plums and gooseberries, while elderberries are beginning to form and will be ripening in a few weeks.
Recent rains have caused many mushrooms to emerge, including fairy rings, which are caused by the fungus spreading out in an ever expanding circle from where it started, living on dead plant material that it breaks down.
Wildflower fireworks continue, including yellow black-eyed susans, red butter-fly milkweed and purple prairie clover. This Independence Day, celebrate by visiting a prairie near you to appreciate how everything is really delightfully interdependent!
As fireworks season approaches, now is the perfect time to enjoy the pink bursts of color on sensitive brier, with each pink filament tipped with a bright yellow anther like a spark.
Many animals are becoming more nocturnal to beat the heat these days, and with the waxing moon, expect more night activity, so be careful when you drive in the country after dark.
Mulberries are ripe, elderberries and blackberries are blooming and wild raspberries are forming. But don’t forget about ticks and chiggers if you are out picking berries!
Sign up for a hike with Kaw Valley Almanac writer Ken Lassman on National Trails Day, coming up Saturday, June 5!
Recent rains have begun a significant increase in fruiting mushrooms which will only increase as temperatures warm. There are more than 400 mushroom species in Kansas, so keep an eye out for a wide variety of these fungi in coming weeks.
There’s been lots of publicity about 17-year cicadas in the Northeast U.S. emerging this year, but the local “Kansas” Brood IV emerged in 2015 and won’t reappear again until 2032.
This may be the time of year with the most variety of bird
species easily visible or heard. Smartphone apps can record birds and ID them by their songs.
In area woodlands, black locusts and May apples are blooming as are strawberries, while wild cherry blossoms are winding down.
Warmer temperatures predicted for this week may end morel season unless we get more rain, which might actually happen.