North Carolina Now: June

North Carolina Now

Jeff Beane, Collections Manager of Herpetology at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, is a marvelous naturalist with years of observations of what’s happening in nature across North Carolina. The following are some of the many things he recommends that you look out for in June!

June 1: Venus’ flytraps are in bloom in the southeastern Coastal Plain.

June 2: Galax is in bloom in the Mountains and western Piedmont.

June 6: Great-spangled fritillaries are flying.

June 8: Rosy maple moths are flying.

June 13: Bluehead chubs are spawning. The large stone nests built by these abundant, stream-dwelling minnows are used by several other minnow species:

Bluehead chub

Bluehead Chub.  Photo by Chris Goforth.

June 15: Spotted salamander larvae are transforming; juveniles will disperse into terrestrial habitats on rainy nights:

 

Spotted salamander

Spotted Salamander. Photo by Jeff Beane.

June 17: Five-lined, southeastern five-lined, and broadhead skinks are nesting. Females of these lizards tend their eggs until they hatch:

Immature Skink

Immature Skink. Photo by Chris Goforth.

June 18: Carolina gopher frog tadpoles and tiger salamander larvae are transforming; metamorphs will migrate into upland terrestrial habitats on rainy nights.

June 19: Rhododendron and mountain laurel are near the peak of their bloom in the Mountains. Good places to admire this floral show include Roan Mountain in Mitchell County and Craggy Gardens on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Buncombe County.

June 20: It’s summer! Solstice is at 6:34 p.m. EDT.

June 23: Eastern box turtle nesting peaks:

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Box Turtle. Photo by Jeff Beane.

June 24: Northern pine snakes are nesting. These uncommon snakes, found mostly in our Sandhills region, lay the largest eggs of any of our snakes. Females typically spend several days digging a long tunnel ending in a nest chamber, where they will deposit their small clutch of large eggs. Their nest chambers are sometimes used as refugia by other animals:

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Northern Pine Snake. Photo by Jeff Beane.

June 26: Chickasaw plums are ripe, and they make good jams and preserves, but you might have to compete with coyotes and foxes for them.

June 27: Redlip shiners and mountain redbelly dace are spawning in mountain streams.

June 28: IO moths are flying.

June 29: Green June beetles are emerging. Large emergences usually follow a rain that softens the soil so that the adults can dig their way to the surface.

June 30: Loggerhead sea turtle nesting peaks.