Birds.− In August, migrants such as chestnut-sided warblers, magnolia warblers and blackburnian warblers begin to pass through
Vermivoric warblers (i.e., those that eat worms), which stop in the Piedmont for a quick meal before heading further south, can often be found with “friends”. This time of year, experienced birders will often search for American redstarts and black-and-white warblers by first finding a group of more easily located
Did you know that warblers were the subject of classic ecological study by Robert MacArthur (1930-1972)? Before MacArthur’s study, people thought that five species of warblers --
Butterflies.− Expect a pulse in the migrant cloudless sulphurs and little yellows and lookout for the 2nd and 3rd broods of the tawny and hackberry emperors, respectively.
Also, expect to see a continued rise in swallowtail sightings, this month, after the mid-summer lull. In fact, very lucky lepidopterists (i.e., butterfly observers) might even come across a bilateral gynandromorph tiger swallowtail, like the one that was seen last year in Hillsborough. A gynandromorph is an organism that has both male and female characteristics; bilateral gynandromorphs are half male and half female and mosaic gynandromorphs are a mix of each. Gynandromorphs are the product of sex chromosomes that do not split apart in the typical way during the first division of the zygote (i.e., the fertilized egg).
Reptiles & Amphibians.− Keep an eye out for snakes and turtles, especially baby box turtles, which begin to hatch this month. Fence lizards and skinks are also out in abundance. Green anoles can also be sighted. Listen for large choruses of green tree frogs and bullfrogs, as well as occasional calls from eastern narrow-mouthed toads and eastern spadefoots.
Other Insects.− Expect a pulse in grasshopper and cicadas activity this month. You might also find dead or dying luna moths this time of year. August marks the time of their third and final brood of the summer.
Did you know?
· The luna moth is one of the largest moths in the
· Luna moths only live for 1 week!
You may also see green lacewings flying around in the evenings. Lacewings are fascinating insects that are important predators in many agricultural systems. They consume aphids and other soft-bodied insects. Predators of lacewings include bats and spiders. Interestingly, lacewings are sensitive to the frequencies emitted by bats when hunting and will try to evade them. Lacewings also will not struggle in a spider web, but attempt to free themselves by chewing the strands of the web.
In Bloom this Month.− Be on the lookout for some striking August flowers:
SMALL-FRUIT AGRIMONY – Agrimonia microcarpa
AMERICAN BEAUTY-BERRY -Callicarpa
TRUMPET-CREEPER – Campsis radicans
TICK-TREFOIL – Desmodium nudiflorum
DEVIL'S-GRANDMOTHER - Elephantopus tomentosus
SNEEZEWEED – Helenium autumnale
SCARLET ROSE-MALLOW – Hibiscus coccineus
ST. ANDREW’S CROSS - Hypericum hypericoides
CARDINAL-FLOWER – Lobelia cardinalis
CORAL HONEYSUCKLE(S) - Lonicera sempervirens
BLACK-EYED-SUSAN - Rudbeckia fulgida
GREEN-HEAD CONEFLOWER – Rudbeckia laciniata
ROSINWEED – Silphium sp.
AXILLARY GOLDENROD - Solidago caesia
ANISE-SCENTED GOLDENROD – Solidago odorata
IRONWEED – Vernonia sp.
Piedmont Habitats.− Did you know that oak savanna once stretched across
The savanna community consisted of grasses and forbs under a thin canopy of oaks and sometimes graded into true prairie. This system was documented by a number of
The Piedmont savanna was formed and maintained by a variety of factors, including climate, characteristic soil types (including saturated, basic or droughty soils), both natural and American Indian set fires, and perhaps grazing by now diminished herbivores, such as bison. Now nearly gone in
Cook, D. 2001. The Piedmont Almanac.
Daniels, J. C. 2003. Butterflies of the
Ehrlich, P., D. Dobkin, and D. Wheye (1988). The Birder's Handbook.
Juras, P. 1997. The Presettlement Piedmont Savanna - a Model for Landscape Design and Management.