Oak

Quercus rubraI’ve noticed these grapefruit/softball-sized growths on the side of this big old Red Oak (Quercus rubra) before. But on my most recent pass, there was a new one.Quercus rubra

Japanese Maple 3

Acer palmatumJapanese Maple (Acer palmatum) in Green-Wood. (All three of these pictures were taken on the same day within a few moments of each other, under the same overcast light. No filtering or fiddling.)

Japanese Maple 2

Acer palmatumJapanese Maple (Acer palmatum) in Green-Wood. (All three of these pictures were taken on the same day within a few moments of each other, under the same overcast light. No filtering or fiddling.)

Japanese Maple 1

Acer palmatumJapanese Maple (Acer palmatum) in Green-Wood Cemetery. This is the first of three photos of separate trees located next to each other. All three pictures were taken on the same day within a few moments of each other, under the same overcast light. No filtering or fiddling.

Rivers

RiversThe Rivers of America series started in 1937 and ended in 1974. Sixty-five books were ultimately published. I recently tried reading the volumes on the Hudson, the Colorado, and the St. Lawrence, but I couldn’t get past the first chapter of any of them. They were too Forties for me, a whitewashed, cheerleading view of history. Ah, well.

Anyway, here’s the listing as of the 1940s. Because the names of American rivers have a magic to them: Housatonic, Shenandoah, Susquehanna, Monongahela, Mississippi…. Many, of course, have Native American names (or European debasement of Native names); rivers often hold on the oldest languages.

Sassafras

Sassafras albidumThese two giants surprised me in Green-Wood recently. They’re Sassafrass (Sassafras albidum), usually seen as a rather smaller tree. Sassafras albidumI did a double-take or three. But there they were, the distinctive three leaf-shapes. And check out this bark, characteristic of old specimens: it is deeply, deeply furrowed, like the Southwestern canyon-lands.

Return of the Green-Wood Merlin

Falco columbariusI said recently that Merlins (Falco columbarius) were comparable in size to Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata). Ummmm, well…. That’s a Merlin on the upper left. The other birds are Jays. Up to seven were in the tree recently on a very gray day, harrying the falcon until it flew off. Falco columbariusWheeler’s Raptors of Eastern North America has these figures for Merlin dimensions: male length head-to-tail 9″-11″, wingspan 21″-23″; female length 11″-12″, wingspan 24″-27″. (Female raptors are always larger than the males.)Cyanocitta cristataSide by side comparison. Actually, the Jay is closer to the camera by maybe two feet. The Jays were making some cat-like sounds in the tree as they maneuvered around the falcon, mostly underneath it, and flew in and out of the tree. There were a few strafing passes launched at the falcon, the Jays doing so making a very unusual buzzing sound. Interestingly, the Jays even chased each other a few times here while they were working cooperatively to chase off the raptor.


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