Posts Tagged ‘pear tree’

Bluebird

I look out the picture window beside my computer. It’s a pear tree that’s been dead for several years.

I just leave it for the birds.

Bluebirds show the most interest in it.

This is an immature bluebird,

and this one is nearing adulthood.

They still show interest in the long-dead tree.

I will leave the tree until it’s on the ground and is no use for the birds.

I definitely have had years of enjoyment from it and the birds.

 

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Pear Condemenium

This pear tree died several years ago,

I left it for a perch for any bird that might be interested in nesting there.

Obviously, it has had previous occupants.

Then today, three or four bluebirds showed interest in the dead tree.

I started getting excited.

They checked the dead tree and its surroundings.

 I was sure they would nest in such a “perfect” place.

Well, it turned out they didn’t stay and use any of the holes for nesting.

I still keep my fingers crossed and hope they … or another pair return.

Strange Spider Web

This dead pear tree has quite a history.

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Now it houses a spider whose web is about 3 feet high in the tree.

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The silk is so fine the web would be hard to spot if it wasn’t for the “stuff” in it. The “stuff” looks like sawdust. Woodpeckers do visit the tree and “sawdust” would fall when there was activity above … or the spider added it when spinning the web.

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These three pictures of the web weren’t taken on the same day.

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It was an active place when the tree was alive and producing fruit. I have no idea what’s included in the “stuff” in the line … unless it’s somehow young spiders. (They are spider egg cases.)

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The pears would rot and drop when the tree was alive. The rotten fruit then attracted many, many butterflies and other insects  too.

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Red-spotted purple butterflies visited flowers.

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The viceroy resembles a monarch, only the monarch lacks the extra black band on the hindwing.

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Besides the rotten fruit, the hackberry butterflies will also visit animal droppings and carrion.

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A question mark butterfly joined the hackberries. If you look close, you’ll see a faint gold upside-down question mark in the middle of its hindwing.

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The buckeye butterflies have an eye spot on the top of the forewing and two spots of different sizes on their hindwing.

I plan to enjoy the pear tree until it’s all fallen down.

Mystery Solved

The more I researched this, the more confused I became.

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I found this web stretched in the crotch of a dead pear tree in our backyard. The day was cloudy. I had no idea what the “line” was in the center of the web.

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Then I found a smaller web in a clump of sedum. Obviously, it had the same mystery in the center of it too.

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This was an even closer shot of the center of the web. The silk was so thin it was hard to see.

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I didn’t see a spider in any of these webs until today. The bluish shape on the right, near the center of the picture moved. The spider changed its position in the web. It went out from the center and quickly back. I started taking pictures. It was almost impossible to get a focused picture with the small size of the web. My camera kept focusing on the background instead.

I found a position with the leaves behind and showing the spider. At least I solved the mystery of the spider’s location, and that the other shapes are the spider’s egg cases.

P.S. I have found many of these spider and egg cases scattered around the yard.

 

Pear Tree Remants

A strong wind blew all night and all day.

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I had just picked up all the fallen branches out of this dead pear tree yesterday. Today’s wind broke off  branches, limbs and even one of the trunks.

This tree was one of my favorites because of all the butterflies the rotting pears attracted.

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Lichens growing on the tree attract my attention now. I decided to just enjoy and not try to identify them.

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sap flow gathering red

The pears rotting and their attracting butterflies was one of the highlights of summer. All the butterflies above are hackberry butterflies, except the top one which is a question mark.

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Red spotted purple on the left and a viceroy on the right. Viceroys have an extra black band on their hindwing that the monarch lacks.

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buckeye red

Common buckeye

The pears also attracted bees, wasps, night flying moths and ants to name a few.

So, obviously, I miss the pear tree being alive.

Now that I’m starting to learn lichens, I hope the tree stands for many more years.

Witches’ Butter

One reason I like mushrooms is their descriptive names,

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like this Witches’ butter (Tremella mensenterica).

This small jelly-like fungus grew on a stick that fell out of the dead pear tree in our yard.

Pear Central

This pear tree used to be a hub of activity as the pears rotted.

Butterflies sipped from the pears rotting in the tree,

Hackberry butterfly

  from ones laying on the ground,

Question mark butterfly

and those lodged in the tree.

There’s a large family of butterflies, called brushfoots, that prefer to feed on rotting fruit and sap flows. Most will feed on flowers too. They’re called brushfoots because their front pair of legs is greatly reduced, making them look like they have 2 pairs of legs instead of 3.

Red-spotted purple butterfly

And more red-spotted purples

Viceroy butterfly

Viceroy

Obviously, viceroys closely resemble monarch butterflies. The way to tell them apart, is by the extra black band on the hindwing.

Buckeye butterfly

Lower one hackberry butterfly, other a tawny emperor butterfly

Tawny emperor on left and question mark butterfly on right. Note the silver “question mark” on its hindwing

Hackberry butterflies commonly landed on me for the salt in my sweat

The beginnings of the pear/butterfly “season”

The pears fermented, and this led to inebriated butterflies. It was funny watching some walking in the grass. It also made them calmer around people.

Wasps and ants enjoyed the fruit

The pears attracted nighttime insects too. I had to use a flashlight so I could focus the camera to take the following pictures.

Cricket

Daddy long legs

Two moths

If you have a lot of butterflies in your yard, you can still attract them with fruit. I put overripe grapes on the cistern along with melon rinds. Any fruit and a lot of sunshine will attract any brushfoot butterflies in the area.

It was a sad day when I realized the pear tree was dying. It will be left standing as long as there’s anything left standing. It’s now the birds’ favorite perch.