Saturday, June 24, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Mockingbird on stop sign

Mockingbird on stop sign

A northern mockingbird stopped on a stop sign. And, then, she sang...and sang...and sang!

Mockingbirds are highly intelligent (although not on the level of crows) and have an extensive vocal repertoire and mimicry ability (although not to the extent of brown thrashers). But don't be misled. They have a nasty temperament!

East Decatur Greenway: Decatur, Georgia, USA. 14 May 2023.


Saturday, June 17, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Winking Hawk

Winking hawk

A juvenile red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) winked at me. Or, maybe, she was covering her left eye with a nictitating membrane.

Decatur Legacy Park: Decatur, Georgia, USA. 6 June 2023.


Saturday, June 10, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Hazy sunrise over Arabia Mountain, Georgia

Hazy sunrise over Arabia Mountain, Georgia

Haze from the rampant Canadian wildfires has reached northern Georgia, where a 'Code Orange' air pollution alert has been issued (if nowhere as severe as in the US northeast and mid-Atlantic).

Sunrise over the summit of Arabia Mountain, in Stonecrest, Georgia, USA, at 6:40 am EDT, on 8 June 2023.


Saturday, June 03, 2023

Pic(k) of the Week: Hops? ... No!

Hops? ... No!

Convergent evolution?

The fruits of American hophornbeam trees closely resemble the seed cones of hop plants (which are used to flavor beer). But hophornbeams, despite a similarity in appearance (and name), are NOT hops...and, indeed, would not be particularly pleasant in a beer!

Seen in Sycamore Park, in Decatur, Georgia, USA. 13 May 2023.
Ostrya virginiana —commonly known as the American hophornbeam, eastern hophornbeam, hardhack (in New England), ironwood, and leverwood— is a species of Ostrya (deciduous trees belonging to the birch family Betulaceae) native to eastern North America.

Ostrya virginiana is a small deciduous understory tree growing to 59 feet tall (18 m) with a trunk 8-20 inches in diameter (20–50 cm). The flowers are catkins (spikes) produced in early spring, at the same time as the new leaves appear. In early summer, pollinated female flowers develop into small hop-resembling fruits, 1⁄8–3⁄16 inches long (3–5 mm), changing from greenish-white to dull brown as the fruit matures.