The Tamarack: Roots in Two Worlds / Ashbridge’s Bay, November 8, 2018

I remember learning in Grade 5 that trees which shed their leaves in autumn are called “deciduous” and those which keep their leaves (or needles) all winter are called “evergreen” or “coniferous”.

The Tamarack (known as “Larch” in Europe and Japan) breaks this rule. The needles turn a brilliant yellow in autumn and fall off just as deciduous tree leaves do.

European x Japanese Larch

European x Japanese Larch cones

There are a few Tamarack trees at Ashbridge’s Bay but most are Larch trees. I’m told that these Larches are a hybrid of Japanese Larch (for resistance to urban pollution) and European Larch (for strength and size). You can tell Tamarack from Larch by the size of the cones.

European x Japanese Larch cone (larger) and Tamarack cone (smaller)

Scientists tell us that cone-bearing trees (coniferous) were present on earth about 150 million years before the origin of deciduous trees.

Here are some photos of Ashbridge’s Bay as it looked this morning in 5 degree temperatures and some light rain.

Bird Highlight: Merlin

Merlin

I see Merlins infrequently and this one was very close for quite some time. They were called Pigeon Hawks when I was a child.

Merlins eat mostly birds.  Common prey include House Sparrow, Least Sandpiper, Dunlin, and other shorebirds.

Merlin

Species list:  double-crested cormorant, mute swan, Canada goose, mallard, gadwall, bufflehead, long-tailed duck, common merganser, red-breasted merganser, lesser scaup, American coot, merlin, ring-billed gull, black-capped chickadee, golden-crowned kinglet, ruby-crowned kinglet, brown creeper, northern cardinal, house sparrow.  (19 species)

Ashbridge’s Bay is one spot where you are almost guaranteed to have a chickadee feed from your hands.

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

It is also a good place to see Common Mergansers:

Common Merganser (female)

and a Jack Pine loaded with their odd-shaped cones:

Jack Pine cone (Pinus banksiana)

Miles Hearn

NATURE POETRY

Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness—for then
The spirits of the dead, who stood
In life before thee, are again
In death around thee, and their will
Shall overshadow thee; be still.

– Edgar Allan Poe (1809–49)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s