Whatcom Magazine

Nature’s calendar: Here’s what’s coming to Whatcom’s land, sea and air

June

• The Earth’s position relative to the sun and moon bring extreme low tides, to the delight of beachcombers and the demise of sea creatures caught in the sun.



• Harbor seals give birth to their pups this month and July. If you see a pup alone on a beach, don’t approach it. Its mother will most likely return for it.



• It’s high summer in the bird world: All summer birds have arrived from the tropics, and the winter migrants have left.



• Serviceberries, wild strawberries, thimbleberries and red huckleberries fruit.



July

• Wildflowers abound in mountain meadows.



• Pink salmon spawn in odd-numbered years, sometimes in numbers large enough to make them available to anglers along the Nooksack River.



• The algae that causes red tide blooms in great numbers in some locations, causing buildups of deadly poisons in shellfish. In some places, the problem persists into autumn.



• Peak time for dragonflies. Don’t be surprised if they follow you around; they’re territorial.



• The first young learn to fly in great blue heron colonies; bald eagle chicks also learn to fly.



• Moon jellies and fried egg jellies appear in local waters. In some places, they can form huge crowds.



August

• Rufous hummingbirds move from lowlands to meadows above the treeline.



• Paintbrush blooms in mountain meadows.



• A dinner plate-sized jellyfish called lion’s mane booms in population.



• Male mallards go into “eclipse plumage, “ appearing like females. Gone are their flashy gray bodies and iridescent-green heads, replaced by mottled brown-and-black bodies and lighter brown heads. The males are trying to look dowdy, so as not to attract the attention of predators. Come mating season in spring, they’ll be back in their usual finery.



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