Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sharp Shin and Sore Back

The Sharp Shin is really a Sharp-shinned Hawk. I don't know what's sharp about his shins but I know what's sore about my back. Twenty-eight smoke bushes are what made my back sore. I planted them all yesterday. The young Sharp-shinned Hawk was a nice diversion in the morning, as it spread it's feathers to dry from the morning fog.

Sharp-shins, or Sharpies as birders are apt to call them, are jay-sized raptors, ferocious little things who don't take any guff from bigger birds. After drying itself off, the Sharpie flew to another tree where it was harassed by a crow. But not for long. The dive-bombing crow quickly exited when the Sharpie lunged. In the blurry photo attached, the crow is veering off as the Sharpie prepares to nab him. This is a hatch-year bird with its coarse brown streaked and barred breast and light line over the eye. Next year it will have the pretty orange barring on its breast and gray back of an adult.

Also pictured is one of the many Smoke Bushes I now have planted in a line of sorts through the arboretum. Some are leafless. Those tend to disappear in the tall dead grass, so today I planted stakes next to them, stakes decorated with rather hideous orange duct tape that clashes with red leaves. I couldn't find the regular tree marking ribbon. Oh well, at least I'll be able to see them and not run over them with my mower... So long as I keep looking where I'm going and not at Sharp-shinned Hawks and other avian distractions.

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