Nature Notes, June 2023

Bearsville Center Nature Notes, Dave Holden, June, 2023

Summer is making its way fitfully to the Southeast Catskills - two or three warm, sunny days, two or three cool, rainy days - back and forth. Come to think of it, this is exactly the same pattern we’ve experienced this whole past year. The “new normal”, perhaps? We’ll see. This cycle continued all through January and February, gradually working its way into the more spring-like (sort of) temps of March, April and May, but bouncing back and forth every two or three days.

Last week the temps varied from the 50s and 60s for a few days up to the 70s and 80s now. Our weather continues to be like a rollercoaster - up and down, back and forth, from (mostly) dry to sometimes wet, making for what seems like a dry season so far, with the Sawkill running low and the ground staying dry, not really absorbing recent half-hearted rains.

Finally, it looks like the weather will be heating up, more summer-like. It has been so crazily inconsistent, though, nothing would surprise me - not even if we ended up in a drought (let’s hope not).

Allergic to Spring?

Our Spring was just cool and wet enough - and with sufficient sunshine - that all of the native flowering trees and shrubs - Apple (not truly native), Black Cherry, Crabapple, Eastern Redbud, Flowering Dogwood, Multiflora Rose, Shadblow (Canadian Serviceberry), etc. - all decided to bloom together. It seemed that the White Pines pollinated at the same time, as well. Many, many people were affected by this - more than usual (possibly because it was all at once?) - including yours truly.

Our native rhododendron, Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) joined the action, right on schedule, finishing up the wild flowering tree and shrub season, gracing our hills with a “not bad” bloom of its glorious pink or white flowers, still happening as I write this.

New Trail

We are finished with the first stage of our beautiful little Bearsville Nature Trail - the Meadow Loop - which includes our own official Pollinator Pathway Meadow and the first part of the trail itself that connects Overlook Drive with the Music Trail. A hardy “Thank You” to all that have made this possible - the Pollinator Pathway folks, the Woodstock Land Conservancy and Ian, Keith and Kadir, who have worked hard to install our handsome trailhead kiosks, made by Rennie Cantine. In truth the trail and the Pollinator Pathway aspect of the meadow are still works in progress, with more signs and another trail-loop yet to come. Working on this project has been - and continues to be - a fun and rewarding experience for me as its builder and designer.

Thank you all.

Solstice and Midsummer

I think Summer actually starts on June (certainly has felt more like it). Soon (6/21) will be the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, our astronomical beginning of Summer - true Midsummer. Locally, though, the hottest, most humid period is between late July and early August (on average). That is when Life will be at its peak, when the very air is thickly vibrant with it and the earth practically writhes with myriad life-forms.

Thanks, All. Have a great, Safe Summer - “Ranger” Dave Holden.