Summer is finally here!  The warmer days bring all sorts of wonderful changes in nature.  Flowers are blooming like crazy, birds are nesting and singing their songs, and fireflies light up my backyard at night.  It’s a fantastic time of the year to be outside (if you can find a time without rain), so let’s take a quick nature tour to see what else is happening outside right now!

Wood lily in bloom

Wood lilies are one of my favorite flowers (I literally say that about every flower).  The bright pop of red mixed with the yellow with black spots makes them look so exotic in my opinion.  They are wonderful early summer flowers that aren’t extremely common, so if you find one, be sure to leave it there (and don’t tell any deer where you found it).

Black-eyed Susan

I was out walking through a prairie that we recently planted and I came across a Black-eyed Susan that made me laugh more than it should have.  It reminded me of watching Star Trek as a kid.  My favorite character was Geordi (played by Levar Burton) who had a strange visor thing that covered his eyes.  This flower appeared to have a similar situation going on and it truly made my day.

Apparently, this is called fasciation and it’s a pretty rare condition that some plants get.  There are many different causes for this condition including hormonal, fungal, bacterial, genetic, and environmental to name a few.  While I don’t know exactly how this flower came to be, I’m glad that it did!

Red-winged blackbird nest with eggs

While walking through that same prairie, I accidentally flushed a female red-winged blackbird that had been sitting on a perfectly crafted nest (pictured above).  Usually, when this happens, I get yelled at (and occasionally dive bombed) by adult red-winged blackbirds in the area, but not this time.  I was ready for it, but I guess they saw my camera and knew I wasn’t a threat.

Double rainbow!

Lastly, I’ll leave you with this photo of a double rainbow that I spotted while out camping with friends in the Kickapoo Valley.  It rained for almost the entire weekend, but without all of the rain, I wouldn’t have been able to see these beautiful rainbows.  While it’s hard to see in the photo, a friend pointed out on our camping trip that the color pattern for the second rainbow is always in reverse order.  I never noticed that before!

I hope you enjoyed this month’s nature update and I’ll see you next time!