What can urbanites see in nature during the month of August? This installment takes a look and offers some of the more commonly found examples of flora and fauna in Northeast Ohio.
Along the highways and in vacant space, the chicory (Cichorium intybus) and bird’s foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) will be finished soon. Nature has moved on to the mid-season flowers: Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) and Black eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta).
If you're lucky, you might find wild, ripe blackberries. In other states, time and money are spent to make the no man’s land along the highways beautiful. But, it is less of a priority here in Ohio. At the end of August, you will start to see the Canadian goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) and New England aster (Symphyotrichum nova-angliae) all along the highways. These are beautiful, though common flowers. You will also likely see the grassy, invasive, and ugly phragmites (Phragmites australis) in ditches where water might pool.
Hawks young and old are out, hunting above the roadways, looking for prey, as cars whiz by below. There are red tailed hawks, easily recognized by their red tails (although it is harder to see in immature hawks). Cooper’s hawks and the similar, but smaller sharp shinned hawks can be seen occasionally, but are more often found in wooded lots or along wooded streets.
Vultures also circle above the highways, hoping for carcasses. Ground hogs hobble along in the grass, stopping often to chew roots.
Although it is still summer, most species are finishing up their productive, busy lives and beginning to prepare for winter.