Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thrushes Win

On my primary blog I almost never recycle images. I prefer to always show new ones. But that's a little harder with a secondary blog like this one.

So I'm recycling an image from last year, a watercolor of an American Robin in the fruits of a Hercules Club. And that's exactly what I saw today at the Wissahickon, over and over. I've been out of town for a week so I may have missed some other birds but as it stands the thrush family wins this years award for First to Eat the Fruits of Hercules Club.

A Veery also appeared in one today so that's a second member of the thrush family. There were also migrating warblers about, an American Redstart the only one I could clearly identify, but I never spotted on in the Hercules Club. I also saw a number of Red-eyed Vireos.

I didn't see them in the Hercules Club but I believe it was one of them that plucked a fat fruit from a Spicebush. There was so much going on that I can't remember for sure what bird it was that I saw gobble down the Spicebush fruit.

It's always satisfying to see something happen in nature that you've read about. Such was the case with the spicebush. I and my wife have one in our yard. We love their appearance and the smell of their crushed leaves and fruit. We've read that birds eat their fruit. Since our tree doesn't have a second one nearby to pollinate it we rarely get fruit and I don't think I've ever seen a ripe fruit. We do see ripe fruit often at the Wissahickon and elsewhere though. And yet we've never seen a bird feed on it. So that was something exciting to see. There aren't many fruits on the bush, unlike the hundreds if not thousands on Hercules Club. You have to wonder if birds find it a special prize when they grab one.

The Hercules Clubs are fruiting pretty nicely now. I hope to be able to track carefully the birds that feed on it this fall.

Friday, August 5, 2011

How Time Flies

Yes I know it's been a very long time since I've posted anything here. I had hoped to do a summation of all the birds that I found feeding on Devil's Walkingstick last year but I just never got around to it.

Hopefully I'll do better this year. As I've birded in Philadelphia recently I've kept my eyes on Hercules Club. The flowers are budded up. Soon they'll flower, then the purplish berries, then the feeding birds.

While I was out today I did this quick sketch of one. The white flowers are in upper left. Over time the all white flower clusters will turn pinkish and purple. When they do you know that all is here.