Mmm, tasty botany November 10, 2007
Secrest Arboretum is more than just a freak show for botany. Sure, it has all those outrageous examples of hybridized trees and shrubs in various forms. Gathered together for your viewing pleasure, one can see all the different species available in landscape trade and native plants. With so many well labeled plants, learning to identify trees becomes more manageable. This winter I hope to focus more on the colors and textures of their bark.
However, one can easily get distracted from trees when birds are perched as densely ornamental bulbs at Christmas. These yellow, tan and gray Cedar Waxwings are splashed with reds and golds that rival the fall leaves.
Tim Leslie leads Greater Mohican Audubon's Beginner's Bird Walks- and today our early birder's were treated to a flock over over 120 of these berry-gleaning frugavores (fruit-eaters). Cedar Waxwings are known for feeding gregariously, but a group this large created a stir even among the most hardened birders. The waxwings were hard at work on one of the crab apple species which bore miniature berry-sized fruits; it was labeled Malus lollipop. They were also attacking the blue berries of the cedars, their supposed name sake. High pitched whistles and bobbing flights from tree to tree held our attention for a considerable time and made the walk feel festive. There is nothing like a morning with friends, botany and birds to put a smile on my face. Hope to see you in the field.