Saturday, August 04, 2007

A Saturday Miscellany

A fledgling American Crow eats in the yard. Suddenly another Crow, her minder, lands inches from her. The guardian is not necessarily a parent as in a Crow unit only one pair breeds each year and the others in the group are the support system for their young. (Photographs taken through two panels of glass and a screen. Any activity on my part to get to a better spot to photograph would have ended in no Crows.)

The youngster rapidly turns to the minder aggressively guarding the food comparable to a young Red-tail who hasn't learned the manners of the species as yet. The Minder is keeping an eye on two small boys who are playing in the next yard. He then attempts to snag the food, either to get a bite, but perhaps more likely to get the fledgling to him away from the area. The young Crow jumps at him, and he jumps into the air.

The fledgling watches him land on the Goodie Stump. She goes back to her meal.

The Minder's feet on the stump.
The Minder then flies into one of the Maples and calls to the fledgling, who having noticed the children herself, eventually follows afte a few more alert bites.

Coming Soon-A sequence of photographs taken in the hour and 10 minutes it took for this guy to completely emerge from his previous exoskeleton.

Look carefully and you'll see white pollen from the stamen of this Morning Glory blowing across the blue petals.

The cantaloupe vine, aka, musk melon, vine. I check as since yesterday a cloud of small greenish yellow beetles flying above it and upon examination all over it. Time for a little spray of soapy water perhaps?

The blossom of the melon.

There are scattered beetles on the petals and the far left petals sports a variety of holes.

I check the unripe melons themselves. Wait just a minute, the biggest one is missing. The beetles certainly didn't eat it completely since yesterday, did they? I look around.

There lying on the roots of a tree about 20 feet away, is my melon. Well, half a melon and bits anyway. Who has dined on my melon?

Definite tooth marks of a mammal cover the surface of the previously 8 inch diameter melon and most of the seeds are missing. Were the seeds the temptation and the pulp just something to be gotten through to get to the good part, the seeds? What mammal is big enough to carry it the 15 feet from the vine to the base of a tree. It seems unlikely that a group of squirrels or chipmunks got together and did, 1,2,3, heave! Roll!, all the way to the tree roots. Ah, perhaps a raccoon?

Speaking of mammals, suddenly Sam is urgently calling me. She's seen this little mammal. Not a mole after all as the front feet aren't paddle diggers and she's too small. Not much in the way of eyes or ears though.

Look far left to see the short tail as she hides her head under a bit of wood. After more research we think her most likely to be a Northern Short-tailed Shrew.

For scale, check out the human toes for comparison. After hurriedly snuffling about and acting as if she was trying to find something when she became aware of of. She seemed to pick up her on back trail and then with a burst of speed sped off for the cover of the Spruce tree.

Photograph by Christopher Walters.
Suddenly the female Ruby-throat is making many many trips to the feeder eacj day. Did all her other sources of nectar dry up. I don't think so as I can see many many flowers from where I'm standing. I think rather she's now feeding chicks and the feeder is trip effective. And with her multiple trips and having three people on site attempting to get at least a slightly better photo of her, Christopher Walters who spends every summer as a camp counselor in the woods of Maine, was the winner of the day.
Donegal Browne

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