There’s little over one more week of summer: How will you spend these last few days of the season? We’ve put together some ideas for a last summer hurrah in your national park. Check out our suggestions for seeing late summer wildflowers, watching the fall songbird migration, and hearing katydids as night falls.
1. Watch the fall bird migration
Each year around the end of summer and beginning of fall, migrating songbirds make their way back through the Cuyahoga Valley on their way south to warmer climates. Although their plumage isn’t as bright as during the spring migration, these visitors are still a great find. Look for blackpoll warblers, yellow-rumped warblers, black-throated green warblers, and migrating waterfowl like wood ducks.
Visit Station Road Bridge Trailhead, Oak Hill Trail, Red Lock, Beaver Marsh, or the Ledges Trail area for a good chance of spotting some of these late summer visitors.
2. Find late summer wildflowers.
Stop by Cross-Country Trail to see a variety of wild asters, including New York, New England, and the small white frost aster (named for its ability to survive the first heavy frosts).
The Towpath Trail is also a colorful spot to visit, with purple tall ironweed and goldenrod lining the path. Make a stop at the Beaver Marsh to look for orange jewelweed, staghorn sumac, and spatterdock, a yellow pond lily.
3. Look for monarch butterflies.
One of the most recognizable butterfly species in the park, monarchs are bright orange with black veins on their wings. They’re most common near open habitat in meadows or farmland, such as Howe Meadow and south of Boston Store Visitor Center.
Fun fact: Each year, monarchs east of the Rockies migrate hundreds of thousands of miles to overwinter in Mexico. However, no single monarch ever makes a round trip, as the average lifespan of a butterfly born in early summer is just two months. Instead, during the migration, females lay eggs for the next generation on milkweed plants along the migration route.
4. Check out a Conservancy event
5. Listen to the night symphony of insects.
The green katydid is outdoing itself during the evenings in CVNP, with the loud “katy-did” song of the male. Also called bush crickets, the speed of their chirps can be used to estimate the temperature outside! Here in North America, count the number of chirps in 15 seconds, add 37, and you’ll have a close estimate of the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.
We hope you enjoy these final days of summer! And don’t worry—fall is gorgeous and wonderful all in its own right.