The summer heat is lingering in many parts of the country. Here in Tucson, we are distracted from the heat by beautiful blooms on cacti and succulents. Agaves like the one pictured at right have sent up their impressive flower stalks, the final phenological action they will take in their lives.

As we transition to fall, there are Nature's Notebook campaigns that could use your observation skills. Track nectar plant flowering to support monarch butterflies or document the changing leaf color of a maple, oak, or poplar .

Happy observing,
What your data are telling us
Where are Nature's Notebook observers reporting?
We have over 15,000 observers who have submitted data to Nature's Notebook since the program began in 2009. The map below shows where these observers are located. Do you see any patterns in these sites across the country?

The gray dots represent individual observer sites, while the green dots represent Local Phenology Program sites monitored by multiple observers.
Observer researches oak decline in AZ
Oak trees are a critical part of forest and shrubland habitats across the country, but many native oaks are threatened by climate change, development, and other disturbances. A new analysis of native US oaks describes current efforts to conserve these important trees. Check out page 19 to learn how one observer, Hilary Cox, is using Nature's Notebook to understand decline in native Arizona oak trees.

Observers track invasive grass green-up
Phenology observers are playing an critical role in ground-truthing our new  Buffelgrass Pheno Forecast for Arizona. This forecast shows areas where enough rain has fallen to trigger green-up of buffelgrass, a problematic invasive grass in Southern Arizona. The maps assist managers in locating sites with buffelgrass that is green enough to treat with herbicide.

What's new at Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN
Support monarch butterflies this fall
As we near the end of summer, monarch butterflies start making their way south to their wintering grounds in Mexico. Your reports on flowering of nectar plants, submitted as part of the Nectar Connectors campaign , help managers to know whether nectar is available for monarchs on their fall migration route. Want to plant milkweed for monarchs? Use the Xerces Society's Milkweed Seed Finder tool to locate seeds for purchase in your area.

Report problematic pests with Pest Patrol
We are still seeking observers to report activity of insect pests across the country. Use our Pheno Forecasts to know when to look for pests, then report what you see in Nature's Notebook ! We have Phenophase Photo Guides to help you identify life cycle events of these species.

Track fall color of trees
The Green wave campaign invites observers to report the flush of green that accompanies budburst in the spring and the spread of seasonal color across the country in the autumn. Do you have a maple, oak, or poplar where you live? Report its changing color this fall!

Tree Tracker badge
New Nature's Notebook mobile app
Have you tried our new  Nature's Notebook  mobile application? The new app features improved navigation, the ability to easily see the past observations you have entered on the app and edit them if needed, an animal checklist to quickly enter your observations of animals, and improved options for our Local Phenology Program members. Learn about these features and more in our mobile app tip sheet .

Find it in the  Apple App Store  and  Google Play Store .

Recent happenings in the field
The early fish misses the phytoplankton
The timing of phytoplankton blooms is critical to the survival of fish including haddock, herring, and salmon. The authors of a new study in  Global Change Biology looked at the impact of a high-emissions climate warming scenario on two groups of fishes that live in the surface layer of the ocean and spawn in springtime. Fish species that rely on geographic features such as rivers are predicted to change their spawning timing twice as fast as phytoplankton bloom timing, resulting in spawning occurring earlier than phytoplankton bloom across 86% of the area studied. Mismatches in this ecosystem could cause population declines with cascading effects on global carbon cycles.

Phytoplankton bloom,
Photo: Envisat
How can birds deal with climate change?
How does climate change alter the distribution of migratory birds? Authors of a new article describe different options for change, either by individual birds changing their breeding locations or new generations of birds settling in new areas or adopting new strategies. They used a long-term dataset on Black-tailed Godwits to show that for this species, changes occur through generational shifts rather than changes on the part of individual birds.

Black-tailed Godwit
Photo: Marek Szczepanek,
Nature's Notebook Nuggets
The "Fruits" phenophase
Watching your plant for the first signs of developing fruit can be tricky. An observer need only report "yes" for the "Fruits" phenophase when they are sure a fruit is developing. Each species' fruit phenophase definitions will describe some detailed clues to watch for.

Photo: Ellen G Denny
More ways to get involved
Year of the aphid
Do you have milkweed plants in your yard? This year seems to be a great one for oleander aphids. In large numbers these aphids can severely damage milkweed plants. Learn how to control them with this great video from Conservation Blueprint . Be careful not to spray monarch caterpillars or eggs.

Don't forget to report your observations of milkweed leafing and flowering with the Nectar Connectors campaign to support monarchs and other pollinators!

Janey Monarch Seed
Speaking of milkweeds, a new children's book, Janey Monarch Seed , tells the story of a girl determined to help monarchs by planting milkweeds from Texas to Quebec. The story provides an introduction to monarch biology and ecology, and encourages young readers to become active stewards of the environment.

Erin Posthumus