Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Seen on a Black Walnut Tree
I mentioned in the last post that black walnut trees are among the first deciduous trees to lose their leaves in the fall. The leaf canopy has thinned greatly and it is much easier to see birds in the tree tops. The migrating songbirds have left and our winter crowd is far more visible these days. I walked below the hospital at noon one day last week and watched as a red-tailed hawk flew up from the ground into a nearby walnut tree. The thick shaggy bark makes it easy to identify the tree even without leaves.
This hawk is a regular and I have taken many pictures of it, but this day it posed most obligingly, showing me every side of its body. This is his (or her) territory and it is not easily intimidated.
On another walnut tree I was treated to the sight of three (!) different woodpeckers working the bark simultaneously. A Downy, Hairy and the seldom seen Red-bellied woodpecker were easy to see with binoculars. I have never taken a good picture of a Red-bellied woodpecker and this day was no different.
Other birds seen in the walnut grove this day included a White-breasted Nuthatch, Cardinal, Blue Jay, White-throated sparrow, ever present cheerful Chickadees and Juncos. The black walnut may be a good sign for farmers, but is also a refuge and food source for many other creatures.