Phoebe at Thompson Park: October 2, 2020

The eastern phoebe is the flycatcher most at home near human habitations, building its mossy nests under bridges and around summer cottages and outbuildings.

Eastern Phoebe

The phoebe has a diagnostic habit of wagging its tail as if stirring porridge with it.

Eastern Phoebe

Phoebes spent the winter in the south-eastern United States and northern Mexico.

Eastern Phoebe

There is no “western” phoebe but Black Phoebes and Say’s Phoebes are found in western North America.

Eastern Phoebe

Other birds:

American Robin
American Robin
European Starling
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Mallard (female)
Mallard (male)

Species list: mallard, hairy woodpecker, downy woodpecker, eastern phoebe, blue jay, American crow, black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, red-breasted nuthatch, ruby-crowned kinglet, American robin, house sparrow, European starling, northern cardinal, American goldfinch, song sparrow. (16 species)

Park scenes:

Sugar Maple

St. Andrew’s Cemetery:

Today’s group:

Some botany:

Arrow-leaved Aster (Symphyotrichum urophyllum)
Arrow-leaved Aster (Symphyotrichum urophyllum)
Arrow-leaved Aster (Symphyotrichum urophyllum)
Arrow-leaved Aster (Symphyotrichum urophyllum) with bee
Arrow-leaved Aster (Symphyotrichum urophyllum)

Arrow-leaved Aster looks very much like Heart-leaved Aster:

Heart-leaved Aster (Symphyotrichum cordifolium)

The best way to tell them apart is to have a look at the leaf stem which is narrow in Heart-leaved and “winged” in Arrow-leaved:

Arrow-leaved Aster (Symphyotrichum urophyllum)
Zigzag Goldenrod (Solidago flexicaulis)
Choke Cherry (Prunus virginiana)
Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)
Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)
Norway Maple (Acer platanoides)
Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens grandulifera)
Spindletree (Euonymus europaea)
Dog-strangling Vine (Vincetoxicum rossicum)
Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus inserta)
Pinkweed (Persicaria pensylvanica)
Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora)
Great Burdock (Arctium lappa)
Queen-Anne’s-lace (Daucus carota)
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)


O golden month! How high thy gold is heaped!
The yellow birch-leaves shine like bright coins strung
On wands, the chestnut’s yellow pennons tongue
To eery wind its harvest challenge. Steeped
In yellow, still lie fields where wheat was reaped.      – Helen Hunt Jackson (1830–85) 

Miles Hearn

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