HAW and THRUSH

rusty blackhaw Cherry Bend April 22, 2015 Wood Thrush nest Cherry Bend May 14, 2015-3

This is a little tale about HAW and THRUSH. One of my favorite native shrubs is
Blackhaw or Rusty Blackhaw, with deep green glossy leaves, great masses of flowers
in spring, prune-like fruits in fall and winter. I photographed a haw covered with
dazzling masses of white flowers in the vicinity of Cherry Bend, in the Ozark
National Forest, on April 22, 2015. I photographed another at Hobbs State
Park-Conservation Area January 31, 2015, when all those flowers had made masses of
dark, prune-like fruits. Then there is between times, like today. David Chapman and
I were out birding for spring migrants in the National Forest when he noticed sudden
movement around what we soon realized was a nest, in a haw’s stout fork. A light
rain was coming down, mostly deflected by leaves. With binoculars, we could just see
the tiny bills of what appeared to be recently hatched young. We never approached
the nest, in respect for the birds. Later, after it stopped raining, I got some
photographs from distance, using a zoom of about 40X. Not great photographs, but at
least the birds continued with their business and we could see what was going on.
The adult feeding these nestlings was hard to see, but finally we identified a Wood
Thrush, one of North America’s finest singers, and a bird that like so many others,
has been hurt by habitat loss largely of our making. If we could just stop for a
minute – just pause a bit in our busy rounds of exploiting the earth — we could see
the divine cycle: the flowers in spring and their pollinators; the shrub that offers
its form for a bird’s nest; the fruit, that will feed birds in winter, and will
therefore have its seeds dispersed, renewing the cycle.

Joe Neal                        Rusty Blackhaw berries Hobbs SP Jan 31, 2015-1

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