Virtuoso Mockingbird: July 2021

Hoping to photograph some “urban plants” (weeds), I visited a parking lot near Bathurst and Dupont on this morning of threatening rain.

MYSTERY BIRD

I will identify it at the end of the post.

Some botany:

Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
Queen Anne’s-lace (Daucus carota)
White Mulberry (Morus alba)
Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcmara)
Lady’s Thumb (Persicaria maculosa)
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)
Galls on Hackberry leaves
Manitoba Maple (Acer negundo)
White Campion (Silene latifolia)
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
White Campion (Silene latifolia)
Privet (Ligustrum obtusifolium)
Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
Tansy (Tanecetum vulgare)
Canada Thistle (Cirsium pratense)
Buckhorn (Plantago lanceolata)
Goat’s-beard (Tragopogon)

While walking about the parking lot, I heard a cardinal singing, then a kingbird and then a common tern. Ah … I know what’s going on. A Northern Mockingbird is near. These amazing birds have been heard singing the songs of 36 other species. The parking lot bird threw in a police siren for good measure.

Once the bird spotted me, it flew to every available perch and had a good look.

Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird

Other birds:

Red-winged Blackbird (male)
American Robin
Rock Pigeon

MYSTERY BIRD

A “cigar on wings” – the Chimney Swift

Chimney Swift

MAILBOX

Miles, I think the oak trees this year are particularly bad because of gypsy moth caterpillars. The light at the NE part of the park (the path where you come in from Bloor & Parkside) is significantly different from what it was a few weeks ago. I avoided the park for several weeks after the gypsy moth caterpillars came out this year, and when I returned – by which time there were caterpillars, but only on leaves or on the ground (and not moving on the ground) – the shade provided by trees in the NE section was considerably less than before. I noticed this elsewhere in the park as well. I think trees are able to releaf after they’ve been skeletonized by caterpillars, but clearly it’s an additional stress that they do not need.   Thanks again for your postings,

NATURE POETRY

Small summer insects chirp amid the blades
That rattle with a sharp metallic sound,
And clover, like a group of modest maids,
Empurples yonder patch of meadow ground.         – James Berry Bensel (1856–86)

Miles Hearn

1 thought on “Virtuoso Mockingbird: July 2021

  1. Lisa Volkov

    A police siren? Incredible. How wonderful that you could see (and hear!) a Mockingbird in such a seemingly “unassuming” place! I know that location. Proof positive of how much can be found and seen in unexpected spots. It is, indeed, in such places, such “pockets” and fringes” of urbanity, that one can see some beautiful wild plants, AKA weeds! Since COVID, I have become even more attentive than usual to this. Thanks, Miles!

    Reply

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