Thursday, April 10, 2014

Norm and Norma

I had another Mourning Cloak in my yard today.  I compared this one against the photo I took of the last one, and they have different wear patterns in the cream border, so it is a unique individual.

I walked the Sudbury Reservoir Trail between Route 85 and White Bagley Road.  I saw a Mourning Cloaks at two different points on the shore as I walked.  It may have been the same individual.

Birding was pretty quiet.  There were about 8 Common Mergansers and 2 Mallards on the water.  Along the trail, I saw Song Sparrows, American Robins, Tufted Titmice, Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays and a Red-Tailed Hawk.

Of interest were some really thick, old vines wrapped around some of the trees.  I think they may be poison ivy but am not sure.  I don't think I've ever seen such a big twisted vine before.

Poison Ivy Vines (hairy ones on left) and Asiatic Bittersweet Vines (thicker, twisted vine)
(Thanks to Josh for providing the ID via comment!)

Asiatic Bittersweet Vine

Tonight I took a sunset walk at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land.  Just before I left the parking lot, I had my windows down and was just enjoying the sounds of the night when Norm (the mockingbird) flew into the thicket right in front of my car.  He made a couple of calls and then a 2nd mockingbird flew in right next to him.  I didn't have the proper camera setting for the darkness, but you can see that they were having an intense communication.  Shortly after, they flew off (probably because of the noise of my camera).  Norm has a mate!


  1. Dawn, I'm enjoying following your blog. I think there are two different vines in your photo. The "hairy" looking, smaller vines are certainly Poison-ivy (Toxicodendron radicans). The larger, twining vines are likely Asiatic Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus).

    1. Thank you, Josh! I love getting feedback and learning something! I've seen the vines before and never known what they were. I knew the young Bittersweet vines, but didn't know they could grow to be so old and large!