|American Robins eating hackberries|
It was about this time last year that I "discovered" Hackberry trees along the Lower Chippewa River. They've always been there. I just never noticed them.
What made me stop and look? A flock of birds, perched in the leaf-less canopy, silhouetted against a mean gray sky. Their movements caught my eye.
It didn't take much to identify the birds. They were gluttonously feasting on a dark fruit the size of cherries. Had to be Cedar Waxwings or American Robins. A quick look through binoculars confirmed it: Cedar Waxwings.
But what were those fruits? And what was that tree?
I was clueless. And I felt stupid. Why didn't I "know" that tree?
Figuring it out required getting out of the Prius (brr) with my little Canon Powershot to get some reference pictures.
Lucky for me, I could get close enough to photograph the bark. From there it was easy. Common Hackberries are known for their "cork-like bark with wart-like protuberances."
Turns out, figuring out the identity of this one tree last fall opened my eyes to some of the other creatures related to it, animals I also spotted for the first time, this past year.
|Hackberry Gall Psyllid|
|Hackberry Emperor butterfly|
|Hackberry Nipple Galls|
|Hackberry Petiole Gall (summer)|
|Hackberry Petiole Gall (winter)|
Now that I can identify a Common Hackberry tree, I keep looking for "new" creatures associated with it.
Today it was the same fruits, same tree, same weather - but different birds. Today's birds were American Robins.