October 10, 2014

Tree Following: Shagbarks in October

tree

The Shagbark Hickories (Carya ovata) and their surroundings are full of visitors lately. It appears many of the birds of prey (mostly hawks here--I've seen them in action) have migrated south for the season. The garden, which had been rather quiet of late is once again filled with action.

turkey

The turkeys are back. (Today I caught them tramping through my perennials. They don't do much damage, though.)

chickadee

finch

nuthatch

Many of the favorite little songbirds--including chickadees, finches, and nuthatches--are more numerous at the feeders near the cover of the Hickories. All three, however, are with us year-round.

woodpecker

The Downies and the Hairies (woodpeckers) are here in greater numbers, too, although they tend to spend more time on the Oak trees and occasionally at the feeders. I think this one is a Hairy Woodpecker.

chipmunk

The chipmunks are here, year-round, too. Not much to do with the Hickory trees (the chippers scurry near the ground), but this little guy was so cute I had to share.

leaf

The Shagbarks, like everything else in October, are in a state of transition. Some of the leaves are still green, while others have turned. Every day they're more vibrant.

gold

I wish I could convey the golden glow of the sunlight through the leaves. In a few days, the leaves will be completely gold, and then they'll drop.

tree2

I included this photo to show how more light is penetrating through the branches. Plus, from this angle the tree looks like a person.

party

But the most unusual thing about the Hickory surrounds this October is the vast quantity of our state bird, the American Robin. Of course, it's a common bird here. But we've never had so many visiting our garden all at once. For several days now, they've been here en masse. At one point, I counted 12 at the birdbath, alone. At any given time, I'd guess there are 50-100 (or more?) on our property.

cover

Whenever I walk outside, they disperse a bit, so some of these photos were taken from the inside looking out through glass. In this photo, I see at least three in the Shagbark tree.

Karin at Southern Meadows mentioned they're probably migrating through, which makes sense. Some will stay here through the winter, although we don't see them much because they seek open sources of water near warm springs and fast rivers. This page from Journey North explains their migratory activities.

I've taken these common birds for granted in the past, but this season they're so plentiful I've found them quite entertaining. Here are a few highlights:

robin4

robin5

robin2

robin1

robin3

robin6

robin7

Apparently, the Hickories, the birdbath, and the garden are to their liking.

robin

I'm linking this post to Loose and Leafy's Tree Following meme. Head on over to learn about trees (and their visitors) from around the world.

30 comments:

  1. Your photos really are spectacular. I especially like the shot of the chipmunk. Shagbark hickories are such beautiful trees. You are lucky to have one.

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    1. Thanks, Carolyn. Sometimes it's fun just to spend an hour observing. It's amazing what we can see in an ordinary day. We enjoy our Shagbarks--we have a pair of them, and they're great habitat for wildlife.

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  2. Great series of photos. It does seem like there are more robins this year, doesn't it? Love the back view of the turkey and the action shot at the bird bath.

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    1. Thanks, Heather. Yes, either I wasn't very observant in the past, or I was too busy to notice at this time of year, or there really are way more Robins this year than other years.

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  3. A lovely post. It is wonderful to see these birds which are unknown here. Your American robin is so cute and I got such a surprise to see that you have pretty chipmunks. As for having turkeys in the garden, to me it is as unusual and exotic as having an ostrich pottering around on the lawn. Lovely.

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    1. Thanks, Chloris. For some reason, I have a soft spot in my heart for the chipmunks. They're so entertaining to watch, and they screech at me when I get near their territory. They cause a little damage in the garden, but not as much as the rabbits.

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  4. A lots of visitors! I have been interested to this tree from the first sight. Interesting bark! Thank you for sharing.

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    1. It's a great tree. So much going for it, including the bark. And, of course, the visitors are fun to have around, too. :)

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  5. Good Morning! I enjoyed your photos SO much today that it is hard to know where to begin. We don't have Shagbark Hickories here, but our maples, pin oaks and various pines are full of the birds you know and love. You really caught that Robin enjoying his bath in such a delightful way! And I love the Hairy Woodpecker shot. I usually have to keep out a lot of suet for ours and they look for snags of course. Yours has found a natural hole--perhaps it could become a shelter for a time. Just beautiful sensitive shots--including the chubby turkey (run turkey run-:)) Thanks so much for a delightful tour....Susie

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    1. Hi Susie: Thank you for your kind comments. Isn't bird watching great fun?! The robins have been so entertaining lately--they're sort of making up for missing the hummingbirds, which have flown south for the winter. :( I'm jealous because you have hummingbirds year-round, right? The turkeys are fun to watch, too. We didn't have many until about three years ago, and now they're regular visitors (except when hawks are in the area).

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  6. Wonderful post! A great tree and lovely birds and wildlife. Strangely I particularly liked the turkey! And you conveyed the golden sunlight beautifully. All the best :)

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    1. Thanks! The turkeys are fun, but very difficult to photograph. They move faster than expected. The light has been gorgeous lately. Happy autumn!

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  7. It seems like every gardener in the west are posting birds now. I love those woodpeckers, seem like they have similarities with ours here, but i don't see them often though.

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    1. Must be that migrating time of year. ;-) I do love the woodpeckers, too. We have several species here, and some are rarer and very exciting to witness! Happy bird-watching!

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  8. You are so skilled at photographin birds, you clearly also have far more patience than I do! I'm glad, because it is always fascinating to see how different your garden birds are to mine. I love the shot of your tree-as-person.

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    1. Thanks, Janet! The robins are a little easier to photograph because they're quite tame (and plentiful). Isn't that angle funny--the tree-as-person? It's seems like it's saying, "This is my territory, so don't abuse it!"

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  9. Your tree looks lovely, and how lucky to have so much nature visiting too, great set of photos, swap you some of my fungi for the lovely birds you have...
    Amanda xx

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    1. Thanks, Amanda! I will head on over to see the fungi in your post. I LOVE fungi!! We have some here, but so many different ones up at our cottage! I do feel blessed to have so many wonderful visitors!

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  10. I love this post and the meme it's celebrating. I haven't seen a robin in quite a long time in Austin--they used to be regular visitors in early spring. I did see a couple of them in Bend, Oregon last month when I was visiting--so nice to see them. Beautiful photos--just, wow!

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    1. Thanks! I love this meme, too! We all have so much to learn about our fabulous trees, and it's great fun to compare notes! I've never seen so many robins at one time--for about a week now. They must like cooler weather. There are so many this year, I wouldn't be surprised if you see some this winter!

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  11. Beth your photos are so incredible...I love how the light comes through the tree and all the critters especially the chipper. And the robins are so adorable...and so many. We are seeing migrating groups of sparrows. Some I have never seen before specifically white throated and American Tree sparrows.

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    1. Thank you, Donna! Yeah, either I wasn't observant in the past, or we really do have many more Robins this year. Either way, they certainly are keeping us entertained this fall! We had some white-throated Sparrows visitors in the late spring, but I haven't seen any here since June. They are so cute, and that little patch of yellow is very bright and cheery!

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  12. I enjoyed this post very much! Your photos are fabulous. The robin in the last shot looks noble, but I laughed at the bird rolling in the birdbath! We share many of the same birds. We once had plentiful turkeys in this area; long ago it was called Gobblers' Knob. However, over the years new subdivisions have been built, and now a turkey siting is uncommon.

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    1. Thank you, Deb! I feel like I want to do a series of shots of a Robin taking a bath--it's so entertaining! I find it encouraging and wonderful that many of the birds we have here in summer make their way south to you during the winter ... and that we both get to see the migration patterns. :) We've lived in this house for 13 years, and only had turkeys during the past few. Interesting...

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  13. How wonderful to see your garden so full of life! And your photos are amazing, Beth! I've noticed a lot of hawks around here lately, but I have never seen a wild turkey on our property. Love the photo of the robin in the birdbath--he really is enjoying himself:)

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    1. Thank you, Rose. The turkeys seem to come and go--I'm guessing in response to the presence of predators. Last summer I saw them frequently. This summer, not much at all. Perhaps we had a fox in the area, too--someone in the neighborhood mentioned it recently. It is great fun to watch the robins in the birdbath! :)

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  14. You are an amazing photographer. Your wildlife is quite impressive. Lucky you!

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    1. Thank you, Grace. I'm still learning, that's for sure. This property is wonderful for experimenting with angles and lighting and wildlife (and of course, plants). ;-)

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  15. Hairy Woodpeckers, chipmunks, chickadees, the Shagbark itself - it's an exotic world to me! Fascinating post. And how stately the Robin in the last picture.

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    1. Thanks, Lucy! And thanks for hosting your wonderful meme. I think some of the most fascinating posts will occur in the next few months--when the quiet of late fall and winter settle in. :)

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