13 October 2014
It was quite warm for the time of year when I left the house this morning, albeit heavily overcast, to do a little birding at several local patches.
The fruit of Staghorn Sumac Rhus typhina is already well developed and different species of birds are already starting to feed on it. I was able to capture a picture of this American Robin Turdus migratorius atop a tree where it had been feeding with other robins and Red-winged Blackbirds Agelaius phoeniceus.
During the winter months ahead this fruit will provide a rich source of food for many birds, also to White-tailed Deer Odocoileus virginianus.
A Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis was feeding on berries and judging from the picture seems already to have consumed quite a few!
Just based on my personal observations, Great Blue Herons Ardea herodias appear to have had a very successful breeding season and young birds seem to be everywhere. This juvenile was having great luck stalking its prey and seemed to snag a fish with every strike.
Along the Mill Race Trail we located this nest of a Paper Wasp Polistes sp.
It was quite large as these nests go, and by this time of the year would be empty. Queens of this species hibernate and survive the winter. In the spring they begin construction of a new nest which is completed by others. It is made of dead wood and plant stems, chewed by the wasp and mixed with saliva. Inside is a network of chambers which provide living quarters for the larvae which are nurtured and fed by the colony. This wasp is generally not aggressive to humans if left undisturbed and provides beneficial control of undesirable garden pests.