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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Green-Wood Cemetery: Week 2

Week two in Green-Wood Cemetery and any seasonal changes are subtle, if discernible at all.

"Jelena" Witch Hazel, a cross between Japanese witch hazel (H. japonica) and Chinese witch hazel (H. mollis), has begun unfurling its spindly, ribbon-like petals. It will be at least another month before we see the more familiar yellow blossoms of the native Hamamelis vernalis.

Many species of roses around the cemetery are heavy with rosehips. However, the birds are primarily feeding on holly and yew berries right now, so it won't be until those sources are exhausted that they start eating these fruits.
Not really a source of food for the local wildlife, these Pussy Willow (salix discolor) are merely a feast for my eyes.
Not certain if this is a cypress or juniper as both can have blue fruit. Whichever it is, these Northern Cardinals were taking a break from the red fruits to snack on the abundant berries. I frequently find cardinals in winter at the tops of tuliptrees eating the small nut at the base of the seed spikes.
Mourning doves have begun gathering in flocks on the sunny slopes of the Dell Water. In addition to the "safety in numbers" aspect of this behavior, the thick leaf litter here likely holds an abundance of food.
If you hear a mewing call from the treetops, it's not a stuck cat. The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is a common winter visitor who's typical vocalization is more reminiscent of a feline than a bird. Look for evenly spaced, horizontal rows of holes to discover a favorite feeding spot.
Roving flocks of Blue Jays have an extremely varied diet. Feeding on everything from acorns to insect larvae, they are intelligent opportunists. These sometime mimics will often imitate Red-tailed Hawks when near bird feeders to clear the area, then monopolize the feeding station.
With little in the way of cover in winter, any small bird is a target for the local American Kestrels. This Blue Jay-sized raptor will hunt insects, as well as, rodents and small birds. Hill-of-Graves is a good spot to look for them.
This young Red-tailed Hawk is giving me the evil eye because he's clutching a freshly killed squirrel in his talons. The resident red-tails should be courting now and beginning their annual nest building activity.

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