Posted by: atowhee | July 24, 2018


July 24, 2018


The leaf on a deciduous tree has a brief, brisk life.  Back last winter when the tree looked dead and barren the slight swelling began on twigs and outer limbs. The incipient foliage was as creative, as necessary to the living tree as egg or fetus is among us animals.  By March the swelling had increased and could be seen on trees, from willow to oak.  The early leafing began then: plums, willows, redbuds. Over the next two months each species would open its new leaves in keeping with eons of evolution and response to warmth and day length and patterns ingrained in the grain of the wood itself. In this part of the world the oaks are always last to leaf out, last to lose their leaves, some winter on limbs, hanging brown and brittle

The newest leaves are often a pale green, most are thin soft, juicy, wispy even, only a fraction of their eventual size.  They are the solar panels of the plants.  They gather the sun’s energy. Using water and nutrients collected through roots, the leaves make magic. We call it photosynthesis.  Better we should call it leaf labor.  It is work of supreme import for us all—people, insects, trees, beetles.  They turn dead compounds into starches and sugars, they make the energy-supplying compounds without which most life on earth would expire.  Each works all day, every day, without a vacation, resting some during the dark hours.  Each leaf will grow, many will harden or darken as their genes require.  But they are defenseless against a stormy and hungry world.  Winds and their own tree’s falling limbs may kill or damage or dislodge a leaf.  Insects, in particular, are often greedy leaf-eaters. Those leaves not far above the earth have to contend with rabbits, deer, box turtles, iguana and myriad munchers.  By this time of our summer some leaves have fallen, others are starting to yellow in the annual drought, and many, perhaps most have suffered injury.LEAF LIFE

Later the drought and then the trees shutting off circulation before winter’s cold will cause leaves to shrivel, some to turn bright colors as they waste away, others to harden.  Eventually all will drop, some to blow away into the next county, others to replenish the soil from whence their life first came.

Not many large birds will suffer others of their kind onto a feeder.  Here the collared-dive shows one reason the species has been so successful.  Not energy wasted in needless combat over who gets to eat.DOVE PEACEThe profile of our native dove, sharp tail, small and round head–Mourning Dove at Wennerberg Park where I frequently see one or two.MODO SILO

Let it beeIMG_8318IMG_8322IMG_8332

Teasel season:TEASEL

We don’t have thrashers hereabouts, but we have birds who thrash.  This morning the maple limbs and their large leaves were shaking about, but there was no wind.  I finally saw the agitator, a young Black-headed Grosbeak feeding.
Overhead at dawn were a half dozen Vaux’s Swifts, circling above trees and roofs.  Inside our house we could hear the babies on their chimney nest, peep-peeping constantly.  These are chimney swifts who are NOT Chimney SwiftsVS AIRY

Yesterday I again saw a Band-tailed Pigeon fly into the same tree where I saw pair two weeks back.  There must be nest in that ash near the No Name Pond on the edge of McMinnville.  There was also a Marsh Wren at the pond, a species I had not seen nor heard there before.  Could this have been a youngster dispersing from some nesting site in the area?

Dammed by nature, damned by trashy people.   Somewhere is some person or group horribly guilty for inventing the plastic bottle.  And now we all can share in the guilt by just tossing the bottles heedlessly about.DAMND

And we don’t keep all our plastic down to earth or in the oceans.  Here was a balloon forty feet off the ground.BALLOO

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: