June is a transition month from cool spring to warmer summer days. Spring ephemeral wildflowers are now gone and will be missed until next spring. The focus of flowers now shifts from woodlands to wetlands as this is the time they come alive in flowers, amphibians and insects. The woodlands are now filled with songs of nesting birds and the meadows vegetation is growing rapidly.
The rush of spring migration tapers off with north-bound warblers, vireos and thrushes moving on warm nighttime winds. Within the rich beech-maple forests flute- like calls of Wood Thrushes and Veeries echo and Hooded Warblers, Red-eyed Vireos, Ovenbirds, Scarlet Tanagers are setting up territories and beginning nest building. Sycamore-laden riversides are alive with Cerulean and Yellow-throated Warblers, Baltimore Orioles, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.
Wetlands come into bloom this month as the water lilies floating on the surface providing a place for dragonflies to rest. Along the edges the purples of native pickerelweed are joined by yellow iris a beautiful but aggressive non native flower. Cow parsnip as tall as a person appears with umbrella shaped white blossoms along stream banks and marsh edges.
Common carp begin to thrash along shorelines of Lake Isaac and the lower reaches of the Rocky River as they spawn and lay eggs in warm shallow water.
Snapping turtles and painted turtles can be seen traveling from their wetland homes in search of a location to lay eggs in a warm open area. As their eggs incubate for the next few months the hatchling sex will be determined by the temperature of the nest.
The banjo like “twang” of green frogs can now be heard in evenings near practically and permanent body of water throughout Cleveland Metroparks. Gray tree frogs call loudly from secluded locations in the lofty treetops or wetland edges. The first tiny toadlets and froglets begin their transformation for aquatic t to terrestrial life.