Posted by: atowhee | February 1, 2019


A Spotted Towhee pair enters our garden every day.  They come creeping along the horizontals in our vinous hydrangea that follows the fence for twenty feet or more.  THey slowly worked their way toward a feeder not taken up by starlings or collared-doves.  They’re not above shoving aside a junco or House Finch if necessary.  The tiwhees like our Bewick’s Wren pair often stay within a few feet of each while they browse for goodies.

Sparrows hop but never walk.  Jays can do both.


The middle image shows the typical flight path of an Acorn Woodpecker moving through the nearest oak grove.  They slowly lose altitude until they near their destination then two or three strong wing beats lift nearly vertically to their new perch.  Often they are crying “ja-cob, ja-cob” the whole time.  It’s been nearly 120 years since Florence Bailey decided that was how their call translated into English so who am I to pretend I have a better transliteration of the Acorn Woodpecker’s call.  “A-corn, A-corn?”

Also hellebore in bloom and the blueberry leaf buds are swelling.  This is Andromeda’s April*.  She is green and fully in bloom.



* Andromeda was the daughter of the king and queen of Aethiopia (Αἰθιοπία) modern day Ethiopia. Aethiopia roughly translates to “country of burnt faces”, so one might conclude that Andromeda was black. Prof. Elizabeth McGrath discusses this idea in her 1992 article The Black Andromeda  based on Ovid’s writings. Andromeda’s mother, is Cassiopeia.  When Cassiopeia’s hubris leads her to boast that Andromeda is more beautiful than the Nereids, Poseidon sends the sea monster Cetus to ravage Andromeda as divine punishment.  Andromeda is chained to a rock as a sacrifice to sate the monster, but is saved from death by PerseusPerseus was returning from having slain the GorgonMedusa. After he happened upon the chained Andromeda, he approached Cetus while invisible (for he was wearing Hades’s helm), and killed the sea monster. He set Andromeda free, and married her in spite of her having been previously promised to her uncle Phineus. At the wedding a quarrel took place between the rivals, and Phineus was turned to stone by the sight of the Gorgon’s head.

Andromeda followed her husband, first to his native island of Serifos, where he rescued his mother Danaë, and then to Tirynsin Argos.  Perseus and Andromeda had seven sons: PersesAlcaeusHeleusMestorSthenelusElectryon, and Cynurus as well as two daughters, Autochthe and Gorgophone. Their descendants ruled Mycenae and would also include the great hero Heracles. In this mythology, Perseus is the ancestor of the Persians.

After Andromeda’s death, Athena, the goddess, placed her among the constellations in the northern sky, near Perseus and Cassiopeia.

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