Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Viburnam Community

ABOVE and Below : Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

ABOVE and BELOW : Golden-crowned Kinglet

ABOVE and BELOW : Grey Squirrels

ABOVE : Flies

Photographing animals in Tompkins Square Park is generally much simpler than photographing animals in the real wilds out beyond our city's borders. In TSP the animals are considerably less wild than in the real wilds : they can be approached closely , watched and photographed .Though less wild , they are not tame and certainly not so tame as pictured in Quaker Edward Hicks' ( 1740-1849 ) classic series of paintings titled "The Peaceable Kingdom" in which Hicks renders in paint the peaceable world of Isaah 11:6 : "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb , and the leopard shall lie down with the kid ; and the calf , and the young lion and the fatling together .... " .
No , our park is nothing like this dream : winged beasts still drop from the trees of TSP and kill and eat cute loveable bushy-tailed squirrels .
Amazingly in this post some of the pictures were taken no more than 2 feet from their subjects .
This Leatherleaf Viburnam (Viburnum Rhytidophyllum ) has been chosen by a young female Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker ( Sphyrapicus Varius ) , who will become much more clearly " Yellow-Bellied" and with a solid red cap in time , as a source of fresh sap . Sapsuckers , a type of woodpecker ,wound trees and shrubs with their beaks by pecking an orderly set of openings in the bark of the plant . These wounds bleed sap which the Sapsucker later returns frequently to lap . These wounds to the bark of the plant can bleed for days and the Sapsucker will return as long as there is sap bleeding . Often many wounds are made and one wonders if this might not in extreme cases harm the plant .
Other animals are also attracted to this sap . Animals of the warm blooded type are the more noticeable visitors seen sipping sap . A variety of birds including sparrows and the pictured Golden-crowned Kinglet ( Regulus Satrapa ) visit the shrub for a treat of sap...and also for what stray ,tasty insects may also have been attracted to the sap . Our park Squirrels seem to enjoy licking the Viburnams sweet wounds as do some 6 legged and cold-blooded flies .
Finally , I would like to thank Dennis Edge for bringing this Viburnum to my attention .

Dennis Edge is one man I would invite to my funeral because has only been kind to me and also shared the gift of birding...seeing the beautiful birds of Tompkin Square Park and that is an incrediable rich deed.
All the stress melts away and the beauty of birds soothes the soul.

I am glad you gave him credit because he deserves to be honored == honorable mention!
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