Posts Tagged ‘ground’

A Pruner, a Girdler and a ?

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We have a dawn redwood tree in our backyard

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that my mother gave us years ago. These pictures were taken the end of November.

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I found several twigs on the ground under the tree.

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What “cut” the twigs from the tree, and how did they do it to make the end look like that?

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There are tree pruner insects. A full-grown twig pruner chews through the wood from the inside out. This leaves a smooth cut on the inside of the twig. The ragged edge results from the twig breaking.

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This broken twig resulted from a female tree girdler chewing a v-shaped groove around the twig. The small larva overwintered in the fallen twig.

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The ones off the redwood tree don’t look like the work of a girdler or a pruner.

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It will probably remain a mystery … unless I find another clue in the future.



Brown Thasher

Buffy and I often make a morning loop walk around the back back of our 2-acre yard. This morning we rounded the corner of the house. Buffy took off full speed for the groundhog eating its breakfast. As usual, it made it under the barn before Buffy got down there.

It wasn’t long before I spotted two young rabbits feeding back near the shrub border. They saw us and hopped into the thick of things.

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A brown thrasher stayed ahead of us, sometimes on the ground and others low in the shrub border.

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They usually stay hidden in thick vegetation, not leading humans on their walk around the backyard.

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Brown thrashers nest up to 4 feet above the ground, and occasionally on the ground.  My impression was that it was leading me away from its nest in my attempt to get pictures of it.

A brown thrasher’s song impersonates other bird songs. They repeat each note/phrase two times, not a varying number like mockingbirds do.

American Woodcock

I hadn’t heard an American woodcock call for years until around the end of February when I’d go out in the evening to take orb pictures in the backyard.  Nasal “peent” calls came from our neighbor’s yard.


My best friend took her 7-year-old granddaughter on a hike recently,

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and they were lucky enough to get close to an American woodcock. Woodcocks are secure in their camouflage and usually don’t fly when approached.

Therese was kind enough to share these pictures.

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  Male woodcocks give nasal “peent” calls from the ground at dusk and dawn, and slowly rotate as they call. They usually call from more open areas that have damp/wet areas. After calling, the male flies wide circles, as he spirals up and up, giving twittering calls as he goes. Next he spirals almost straight down,  giving “kissing” calls, and spiraling out at the last second to land and then begins calling again.

 They nest on the ground. If a nest is threatened, the adult will do a hurt-wing display to distract the predator/intruder away from the nest. My son was talking to a turkey hunter one year. The hunter had gotten too close to a woodcock nest. The parent started doing a hurt-wing display to attract him from the nest.  He also witnessed all the young doing a hurt-wing too. I would’ve like to see that!