Smiling and Non-smiling Ash Tree Buds: March 3, 2022

There is an old saying: “Many botany enthusiasts started as birdwatchers.” There are often long stretches without seeing any birds when you are out for a nature walk. Slowly, but surely, you begin to notice the plants around you. Eventually, if you are like me, you want to learn to identify them.

Ash trees are a case in point. We have two common species. How do you tell them apart in winter?

I was taught that White Ash “leaf scars” are smiling ear to ear around next spring’s bud:

White Ash (Fraxinus americana)
White Ash (Fraxinus americana)
White Ash (Fraxinus americana)

Red Ash “leaf scars” are more neutral with almost a straight line under next year’s bud:

Red Ash (Fraxinus pensylvanica)
Red Ash (Fraxinus pensylvanica)
Red Ash (Fraxinus pensylvanica)

Other close-up botany from this morning at Scarborough Bluffs:

Red-osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)
Willow Pine Cone Gall
Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
Manitoba Maple (Acer negundo)
Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)

Some birds:

Canada Geese
Rock Doves
Hairy Woodpecker (female)
Trumpeter Swan
Rock Doves
Black-capped Chickadee
Northern Cardinal (male)
Black-capped Chickadee
Northern Cardinal (male)
Mute Swan
House Sparrow (male)
Ring-billed Gulls
Mute Swan
Mute Swan
Canada Geese
Mallards
Canada Geese
Canada Goose landing on ice
Canada Goose landing on ice
Canada Goose landing on ice


Local people are upset that three small yachts have been abandoned here. One of them has now sunk:

sunken abandoned yacht

Today’s group:

observing a Cardinal

One of our walkers has published a gorgeous, little picture book set in the winter time.

Here is some information from cbc.ca:

CBC Books · Posted: Sep 22, 2020 3:25 PM ET | Last Updated: October 2, 2020

A wordless story of overcoming our fears and finding friendship.

Sami has just arrived in a new country. The snow piled up outside his window is a mysterious and, frankly, chilly surprise! Joy, his new neighbour, does not speak his language, but that does not stop them from communicating as Joy helps Sami overcome his fears.

The two new friends get bundled up against the cold, and Sami discovers the magic of playing outside on a snowy day.(From Second Story Press)

Nancy Hartry is a novelist and picture book author from Toronto. She is also the author of the picture books Hold On, McGinty! and Jocelyn and the Ballerina.

Gabrielle Grimard is an author and illustrator from Quebec. She wrote and illustrated the picture books Lila and the Crow and Nutcracker Night and illustrated the books Stolen Words by Melanie Florence and The Magic Boat by Kit Pearson and Katherine Farris.

NATURE POETRY


And I’ve been waiting long for a spring song. 
Strong as the shoots of a new plant 
Strong as the bursting of new buds
Strong as the coming of the first child from its mother’s womb.   – Langston Hughes (1901–67)

Miles Hearn

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