August is often described as the “Dog Days of Summer” for multiple reasons. Especially this summer with its endless string of hot days (especially hot for the island) coupled with a drought and record numbers of people. Looking for the positives, there are a lot of amazing things about the second half of August as well. The water is at its peak warmth for swimming, crowds begin to thin, peak wildflower season is starting, and the beach plums are close to ripe.
As part of a recent work trip to Maryland, I found myself at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. It was a great facility with an amazing central tank with creatures large and small from the Atlantic. It’s fun to go from tank to tank and check out all the creatures. But it’s that central tank full of the BIG fish that draws the crowds.
Aphids may be the bane of existence for some gardeners. However, these tiny sap-sucking insects are a diverse group with some pretty interesting habits. Aphids are very common insects and are found on many plants in yards and gardens. In most cases they cause little or no damage to the health of plants. There are more than 1,200 species in North America. While some are generalists, most species of aphids are monophagous or feed on just a few species of closely related plants. If
All of Massachusetts is on some kind of drought status now as of this past weekend. Nantucket is still at a Level One which is considered a “mild drought.” We’re better off than much of the state, but it doesn’t mean we’re in the clear. Central and northeast regions of Massachusetts are in “Critical Drought” status. There is no meaningful rain in the forecast despite a few wet evenings. The hot temperatures continue and so will these conditions.
It’s fun to wonder what Nantucket might have looked like before the arrival of the Wampanoags, during the booming whaling days, and the explosion of tourism today. The landscape must have been so very different.
The latest avian flu has been detected on Nantucket and is now spreading to multiple species of wild birds. A local task force is keeping tabs on the situation and new local research is hoping to shed light on the situation.
Did you know that the ancestors of our Nantucket snapping turtles existed more than 40 million years ago?! These prehistoric-looking creatures are top predators in many aquatic systems and an important part of the present-day Nantucket ecosystem. Unfortunately, we may be “loving” them a little too much. Feeding practices, turtle handling, and otherwise harassing these wild animals has reached a fever pitch the past few years and local conservation and wildlife groups are hoping to do something about it.
It’s once again BioBlitz time on Nantucket! July is the perfect time for a BioBlitz. It’s peak growing season, height of insects, the tail end of nesting season for many birds, decent weather for beachcombing, and there are lots of people on-island to help count them all!
It’s baby bird season, and it has been a busy one so far. It’s a good time to revisit what to do when you have an encounter with a nest or baby bird and how you can best help these vulnerable little ones. At the Linda Loring Nature Foundation we frequently get calls about what to do when a bird “falls out of the nest” or the mother “abandons” the nest.