A Honeysuckle Mystery / Marie Curtis Park: November 20, 2018

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For the past few years I’ve noticed a very tall Honeysuckle shrub at Marie Curtis Park which is still loaded with fruit even as the snow sets in:

I assumed that it was one of our common Tartarian Honeysuckles which, for some reason, held its fruit for a long time.

In October, I noticed the same species loaded with fruit at Rouge Hills.

Here is what Honeysuckle berries normally look like in late fall:

Tartarian Honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica)

And here are the egg-shaped leaves of Tartarian Honeysuckle:

Tartarian Honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica)

This morning I went and had a good look at the unusual Honeysuckle at Marie Curtis Park. The leaves have sharp points and are obviously of a different species:

Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)

A little research (thank-you Google Images) tells me that this species is called Amur Honeysuckle.

The berries are numerous, more crowed than on Tartarian Honeysuckle and persist well into the fall.

Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)

Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)

Amur Honeysuckle is an Asian species, cultivated for the attraction its red berries have for birds. Due to ready avian distribution, it is becoming more common in our area.

Mystery solved!

Here are some views of the park on this 0 degree, sun / cloud mix morning:

By the conclusion of the walk, the sky was very blue:

There were few birds in the forest and fields but here are a few from the Etobicoke Creek:

Hooded Merganser (male)

American Black Duck with a few white head feathers

Buffleheads (male)

Common Goldeneye (female)

This female Goldeneye appears to have formed a bond with the male Hooded Merganser and I see them together each time I have been here lately.

Here are some geese who were high in the sky:

Canada Geese

Species list: Canada goose, mallard, American black duck, bufflehead, common goldeneye, hooded merganser, red-breasted merganser, ring-billed gull, hairy woodpecker, downy woodpecker, blue jay, white-breasted nuthatch, black-capped chickadee, house sparrow, northern cardinal, American goldfinch, song sparrow.  (17 species)
Miles Hearn
                                              NATURE POETRY
The soft November days are here,
The aftermath of blossom’s year.
 – Sara Louisa (Vickers) Oberholtzer (1841–1930)



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