Where have all the Walnuts Gone? (and a Golden Eagle) / Bluffs: November 14, 2018

As you can see from the following photos, walnuts were plentiful in the trees last autumn at the Bluffs:

Juglans nigra (black walnut)

Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)

Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)

The ground under Black Walnut trees was loaded with fallen nuts:

This spring there were still many remaining pieces:

Walnut remains

This fall, there is absolutely no evidence of any walnuts at the Bluffs (or on any of my walk sites).

Like many fruit and nut trees, Black Walnuts are prone to a reproductive pattern called alternate bearing. This means that a year of heavy crop yield is often followed by a year of little or no crop. This prevents the trees from overextending their resources.

Here is how the same ground under the walnut trees that was so laden with nuts looked this morning:

It was chilly (-2 at the start) with clouds but little wind this morning:

St. Augustine’s Seminary

Towards the end of our walk, a large raptor flew high above us. At first, I assumed that it was a Red-tailed Hawk as I often see them here.

On reviewing the somewhat grainy photos that I took, I can now see that it is an immature Golden Eagle! Quite exciting!

Golden Eagle (immature)

Immature Golden Eagles look dark from below and show white patches on the wings as this one clearly did:

Golden Eagle (immature)

Some other birds:

White-throated Sparrow

American Black Duck

Rock Pigeon

Ring-billed Gulls (juvenile in foreground)

Species list:  Canada goose, mallard, American black duck, bufflehead, red-tailed hawk, rock pigeon, ring-billed gull, downy woodpecker, American crow, black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, northern cardinal, American goldfinch, white-throated sparrow.  (14 species)

Miles Hearn


No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,

– Thomas Hood (1799–1845)






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