Sweet or Sour? / Col Sam Smith Park: November 27, 2018

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This park has a very distinctive cherry tree which still is full of berries. A flock of about 6 robins have taken notice:

American Robin

After consulting various tree guides, it is clear that the tree is either a Sweet Cherry or a Sour Cherry. Both are Eurasian species which have naturalized in clearings, fencerows, roadsides, thickets and borders of forest.


There are several ways of telling them apart.

The leaves of Sweet Cherry are gland-tipped and hairy beneath the vein axils.

The magnifying glass tells me that these leaves demonstrate neither of these characteristics.

The buds of Sweet Cherry are shiny light brown while the buds of Sour Cherry are shiny reddish-brown.

Reddish-brown it is, so this is a Sour Cherry tree.

Of course,I could have saved myself all of this research. One of our walkers tasted one a few weeks ago. His decision? Sour to be sure!!

Sour Cherry (Prunus cerasus)

Sour Cherry (Prunus cerasus)

Here are some photos from the park on this 1 degree, overcast and very windy morning:

A few American Pipits are still present though they are devilishly difficult to get good photos of:

American Pipit

American Pipit

American Pipit

American Pipit

We had a good look at this perched raptor who appears to have just bathed:

Red-tailed Hawk

and some ducks far out in the lake:

Red-breasted Merganser (male)

Bufflehead (female)

Bufflehead (female and male)

and Red-necked Grebes who, to me, resemble curling rocks when they sleep:

Red-necked Grebes

Miles Hearn


My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.

– Robert Frost (1874–1963)




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