Summer has come and wonderful time in the forest goes on. In my last post, I wrote about incredible flavors of late May. Lily of the valley is blooming during the first decade of June and makes this dizzy perfume of the forest. This could be the best season of the year, but mosquitoes may ruin your impressions in few minutes. Keep it in mind, protect yourself and enjoy walking in nature these wonderful days.
June begins with the blooming of rowan trees. It looks fantastic, but flowers have a very specific odor, that attracts flies but is far away from the aroma of lily of the valley. Wind can convey the fantastic aroma of May bells to your nose, then blow from rowan side and change your mind very quickly. Forest is full of flavors and flowers. Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca) shows more and more small white flowers everywhere. First white tiny bells are jingling on lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea).
Next to lily of the valley you may notice tiny flowers of may lily (Maianthemum bifolium). They are so small, that often people do not even see them. However, this small herb has a big value as a medicinal plant. Green sunny glades are now colored with big yellow hats of dandelions (Taraxacum). Coltsfoots still open new fluffy balls and wind blow seeds away. After fruiting phase coltsfoot starts to prepare for winter and show first wide leaves. The yellow color is dominating these days. Thousands of buttercups (Ranunculus) turn on bright yellow flowers in every single spot under the sun. Wide sheaves of wood cranesbill or woodland geranium (Geranium sylvaticum) show first purple flowers. In few days they become beautifully decorated flowerbeds attracting bumblebees, bees, and butterflies.
Yellow belt of the lake is changing color to white. Marsh marigold ended blooming, but delicate white flowers of Menyanthes (Menyanthes trifoliáta) show up above the water. All areas of shallow water and along the shore are decorated with these extremely pretty star-shaped, pink and white flowers.
First nestlings of blackbirds and song thrushes are ready to leave nests after two weeks of feeding. They are not able to fly yet, but they jump away from home and start their own life. First days parents assist them to find something edible, but the plumage of small birds grows very fast and they can fly in a couple of days. Never “help” them to get back to the nest – they left it forever.
Loud bird concerts continue in early June. Blackbirds and song thrushes have now less time for singing, but redwings, willow warblers, and chaffinches do not leave a single minute for silence in the forest. You can hear cuckoo everywhere, especially at sunset. Now birds have enough insects, earthworms, and snails to eat. Though, there are much more annoying mosquitoes and flies, that never leave you alone in the forest. But this is an excellent dinner for dragonflies. Brown hawkers fly in the air from the morning till night to catch prey. They are not big yet, but they eat more than their own weight daily and grow very fast.
Very often you can hear high-pitched hungry voices above the head. If you look upward, you may notice a hole in an old wide tree, such as birch or aspen. From time to time woodpecker jumps nearby and voices are getting louder. They are hungry juveniles of great spotted woodpecker, who live in hollows. Both parents work hard in search of food from dawn till dusk. If they notice you, they produce loud yell and jump between trees. Do not disturb them and let them do their hard work.
Goslings of Canada geese grow very fast and very soon you may see them cruising along the shore to another side of the lake. They are not yellow anymore. First plumage has altered to a grey color. Goslings swim in high grass and pick their own food, but they all stay together with parents and avoid open waters. Ducks also enjoy family moments and cross the lake with small ducklings, following their mom.
Very soon sunny glades get new colors. White wide umbels of chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) appear in sunny places. Along the roads, they often form a flavoring white line. The forest now has all colors of summer. Bright green leaves with white bells of lily of the valley, purple flowerbeds of wood cranesbill, yellow buttercups with bright dandelions and white umbels of chevril. Below them, you may notice small, but beautiful blue flowers of germander speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys)
June is usually warm, but not hot. Sometimes June can be very wet, but in this year (2018) there were no rains since first days of May. However, drought does not harm the forest yet. Everything is blooming and growing fast. Very soon rowan returns back to green color, beautiful flowers of lily of the valley dry up and forest loses its spring aroma. Summer has come to the forest, but this is the next story…