December 1, 2002
is the bark of a black cherry tree. If you look closely, you can
that this tree has quite a few woodpecker holes.
Many species of butterflies and moths (and their caterpillars) feed
on the flower nectar and leaves of this tree. An example is the
eastern tiger swallowtail,
which enjoys the nectar of
the black cherry flowers.
When the cherries ripen in the fall, a wide variety of birds and mammals
take advantage of this ready source of food. Some ground-dwelling
birds, such as the ruffed grouse
and ring-necked pheasant,
will eat the fruit after it has fallen. Other birds, such as cedar
waxwings and woodpeckers, will
eat the fruit right from the tree.
November 30, 2002
an update on my squirrel observations. Today I saw two red
squirrels and two gray squirrels
in the area of my bird feeder. To my surprise - after observing their
behavior on Nov. 26th - one red squirrel chased both grays away. AND
it also chased the other red squirrel away. (I should have guessed
that that would happen!)
The grays kept coming back but finally the red squirrel was in it's
favorite spot - right under the feeder - and the grays stayed out
of sight. At that point, having established its dominance, the red
squirrel let one of the grays come back - but not too close. Those
red ones sure are territorial!
November 29, 2002
been having some snowy days lately. Took this photo on a recent morning.
We had snow much earlier than usual this year and the weather has
been unseasonably cold during November.
hoping that we'd have some warmer weather before the winter sets in,
but it's looking less likely every day. <sigh>
November 28, 2002
were red fox tracks along side the house
this morning. It gives me a nice feeling to think about the different
animals that come by my house during the night.
In the summer, I don't usually see the tracks - because I'm not
skilled enough in detecting them. But when there's snow on the ground,
it gets a LOT easier.
Sometimes, during winter nights, I can hear the whitetail
deer walking along a deer trail near my house. As their hooves
hit the snow, they make a sound like "chink, chink, chink..."
- and I smile to myself, enjoying the thought that the deer are
November 27, 2002
a photo showing the tops of some trees against the late afternoon
sky. At the very bottom you can see the mountains in the distance.
That's the top of an eastern white pine tree on the right. This
tree has full branches pretty much
the way down the trunk, since it's
growing in a fairly open area near a field.
White pines that grow in denser woods have full branches near the
top, but lose their lower branches over time.
seeds from the white pine provide food for red
squirrels, chipmunks, and
some mice. Various birds
also feed on the seeds of this tree.
November 26, 2002
mentioned recently that I don't often see gray
squirrels near my house. And that I had heard that red squirrels
will drive gray squirrels away. Well, I saw two big grays below my
bird feeder today. And a red squirrel
was there, too.
The red squirrel kept moving toward the gray squirrels in a threatening
manner. But the grays would just move away a little, and the red one
would go back to eating for a while. Maybe one red squirrel is no
match for two grays.
If the tables were turned and there were two red squirrels and one
gray squirrel, would they have been able to chase the gray squirrel
away? Stay tuned.
November 25, 2002
is the (now leafless) highbush cranberry that I saw in the fall. It's
kind of intertwined with some trees - including a young beech whose
branches you can see in the photo.
Last fall, I was wondering if the birds
would eat the red berries from this bush. They've eaten some, but
there are still a lot there.
They used to pick clean a highbush cranberry that was about 20 feet
away. That bush was cut down a couple of years ago - along with some
other brush. I'm surprised that the birds aren't eating many berries
from this particular bush - especially now that the other one is gone.
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