Wild raspberries are mostly the black variety. Blackcaps they’re called. But a few red ones are found and fewer still are a blond version. There will be sunny locations, beginning this week, where picking can commence. The hope normally would be picking by July 4.
Picking wild fruits is more than a pie or cereal topping. It is the beginning of summer and one of the first grand gifts of gathering from nature. Many more sweet energy packets will follow.
As raspberries taper, mulberries, blackberries, blueberries, plums and mayapples will snag our attention in the weeks ahead.
Summer has brought pests, too. Animals are scratching, swatting, swishing and some running to avoid the wrath of mosquitoes, black flies, gnat hoards, and bees and wasps lead to the bigger, meaner deer flies.
Sometimes the itching comes from ivies, now in flower. Parsnips are also blooming, and bramble scratches from picking blackcaps and wrenching multi-flora rose canes holding tight before ripping cloth and skin.
In many settings, a hat, turkey hunter’s face mask and long, light sleeves are better preventions than chemicals.
Some eaglets have fledged, even been pushed off the edges by sudden wind gusts. One Iowa County lone young bird found a county road the best place to first land, then like Wilber’s first flight, it managed to elevate to an oak limb snag as a safe perch for more than a day. The two adult birds provided carry-ins and will continue to do so until flight feathers and muscular rudders are fit for food pursuits and carrion stops.
Most than a dozen bird species have stripped the Juneberry fruits, but they will have plenty other flavors to feed from during the weeks ahead. Bird baths continue to attract now that some feeders are passed over by all but ruby-throated hummingbirds.
Remember that half the hummingbird fledglings are males, but are likely to leave in September without first developing red throat feathers. They’ll look a lot like mom.
Harder fruits, particularly nuts, continue to show promise of respectfully making up for an embarrassing 2016 autumn. Second-year red oak nuts, white oaks current crop, shagbark hickories prize fruits and hazelnuts all look good so far.
Young-of-the-year animals are numerous. Rabbits head the list, but rafts of turkeys and nides of pheasants will follow. If grouse coveys avoid rain in the north, more pointers will point and shotguns discharge. Fawns continue to be counted in open areas. Bluebirds, too, are finishing their second flush. Young squirrels are eyeing those hazelnuts that are filling out.
Past spring season’s turkey registrations have been released showing 43,341 tallies, a slight decrease from 2016. Slight was not given a number in the news, however. Those numbers should not embarrass hunters, however, with stretches of poor hunting weather during parts of the six-week season.
Those listening can still hear gobblers calling, but hens are responding with assembly yelps to gather poults instead.
Ginseng flower buds are beginning to open. Many bud heads are particularly crowded, but these fruits will be for reproduction only, not eating, and must be planted if a plant is dug.
Continue to search the Department of Natural Resources’ web pages for season preparation information on deer management, fall turkey hunting, pheasant release plans and any new rules.
Not new, but quite unrealized by some, is the limitation on picking edibles from public land. In most cases, nuts and other fruits can be picked in wildlife and park areas, but only for personal consumption, not for selling.
Dusk animal viewing is ideal, but try not to put added stress on wildlife during hot, humid weather.