Shagbark Hickory, a Blue Jay Eating Sumac & Hawks in the Sky at Marie Curtis Park / November 2, 2019

Shagbark Hickory becomes more common as you head south into the United States but there are a few in our area. Usually the thorny blackberry bushes make it very difficult to approach the one at Marie Curtis Park, but at this time of year it is possible;

Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)
Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)

I’m often asked which birds eat the lovely red sumac fruit. We got one answer this morning:

Blue Jay
Blue Jay
Blue Jay
Blue Jay

The fields at Marie Curtis Park are often a good place to spots hawks in the air.

Here is the distinctive silhouette of a Red-tailed Hawk:

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

If you are in any doubt, the red tail clinches it!

Red-tailed Hawk

Cooper’s Hawks are pigeon-sized and show a longish, rectangular tail. The well-rounded tail distinguishes them from the Blue Jay-sized Sharp-shinned Hawk which has a squarish end to the tail.

Cooper’s Hawk

Species list:  Canada goose, mallard, American black duck, red-tailed hawk, Cooper’s hawk, turkey vulture, herring gull, ring-billed gull, downy woodpecker, blue jay, black-capped chickadee, ruby-crowned kinglet, American robin, European starling, house sparrow, red-winged blackbird, northern cardinal, American goldfinch, song sparrow. (19 species)

Downy Woodpecker (female)
Canada Geese
Herring Gull (foreground) with Ring-billed Gulls

Some botany:

Red Maple leaf with Beech leaves
Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)
Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)
Fungus on dead Red Ash

While it was still dark, I spotted a very tame coyote on a nearby street. Some neighbours told me that they have phoned the city about it, but the city says that they can do nothing because it is healthy.


Park scenes:

Today’s group on this 4 degree, overcast morning:

and one more member:


The sun’s away,
And the bird estranged;
The wind has dropped,
And the sky’s deranged;
Summer has stopped.      – Robert Browning (1812–89)

Miles Hearn

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