May 22-09

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2009: May: May 22-09
Blossoming tree    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Doug Smith
Spring colors    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Brenda Leigh
Defective Pine cones    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Brenda Leigh
Robin egg blue    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Brenda Leigh

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Friday, May 22, 2009 - 06:47 am:

I can't tell you what kind of tree Doug Smith spotted this emerging blossom on, but it certainly looks like it's going to be a beauty. It's the time of year when everything is starting to become colorful, like the flowers in the next shot, taken by Brenda Leigh. I love the contrast of the old rusty water pump and the burgeoning Hyacinth flowers. The Daffodils are a favorite of mine, too.

Then Brenda found some unusual looking pine cones that she figured had some sort of genetic defect, causing them to develop just a stem and no "body" to the pine cone. Two things to note as you take a closer look at this photo:

1) The crown of white sap on the tip of one of the bad cones.

2) Lean right in and you'll be able to see the fine line of a spider web reaching from the far right pine cone, over to the branch and then on around it and across to the branch behind.
Some of the fine details you only get to enjoy, when you slow down and take time to smell the flowers or in this case notice the spider webs. :->

Brenda's last photo is a definite sign that spring is really here. Robin eggs in their nest. Soon the Mother of this little brood will have three hungry mouths waiting to have Mom bring them some dinner.
Pat & Glenda (Gormfrog) on Friday, May 22, 2009 - 07:07 am:

Top photo is probably not a 'blossom', but the remains of the elongated 'growth bud' after tree breaks dormancy in the spring. Hickory trees often give the impression that they are blooming in the spring woods when they are waking up.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Friday, May 22, 2009 - 07:22 am:

Great pictures today! Thank God it's spring!!!

By John W Anderson (Wd8rth) on Friday, May 22, 2009 - 08:01 am:

The inside cone on the bottom row also has a crown of white sap. some of the other cones have the top bud. Maybe part of the early growth. Great pictures

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Friday, May 22, 2009 - 08:03 am:

Interesting photos!
There are a lot of Cardinals in the Troy, MI area this year. Their bright red feathers are easily spotted in the green grass as they look for insects. I wonder if they lay red eggs.

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Friday, May 22, 2009 - 08:13 am:

Ok Alex...I caved in and searched the color of Cardinal had me wondering, they are a whiteish color with tan and gray markings.

By D. Clark (Dcclark) on Friday, May 22, 2009 - 08:30 am:

Very nice photos, Doug and Brenda! I really wonder what's up with those pine cones.

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Friday, May 22, 2009 - 08:41 am:

Thanks Janie...but do we really know who the father is? :)
You know the old saying: Mama's baby, Papa's maybe!

By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Friday, May 22, 2009 - 09:23 am:

It does feel good for spring to be here. Beautiful pictures, and unique.

By Serena Sturm (Serena) on Friday, May 22, 2009 - 09:33 am:


Beautiful colors today. Everyone have a great Memorial weekend!!

By Kathyrn Laughlin (Kathyl) on Friday, May 22, 2009 - 12:05 pm:

Alex & Janie, remember only the male cardinal is bright red; his bright color helps make him visible to male rivals and potential mates, so it's worth the risk being visible to predators. For the female, and the eggs, bland colors are pro-survival.

Alex, oddly enough there's cases where birds raise eggs that they didn't lay. The cowbird will go to the nest of a different species, push out the original egg, lay it's own, and leave. Even though this egg may be different in size or color, the unwitting foster parents raise it.

So, if you're a songbird, it's Mama maybe as well.

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Friday, May 22, 2009 - 12:50 pm:

KathyI...that's pretty amazing and just when I thought it was safe, there is even scandal in the bird world.

By Little M (Littlem) on Friday, May 22, 2009 - 04:15 pm:

yes, you must look out for those cowbirds! cuckoos are also brood parasites and will do similar things.

and there is a LOT of scandal in the bird world. tree swallows, for example, have an incredibly high rate of extra-pair paternity (about 90%), which basically means that a given chick in a brood has a high likelihood of having a biological father that is not the male tree swallow investing his time in chick rearing. in short, mom was running around with other male tree swallows!

so alex, you're not too far off on that one!

but there are a lot of nice things too. eastern bluebirds in some areas will lay two clutches of eggs in a season, and the kids from the first clutch have been observed participating in chick-rearing of the kids from the second clutch.

have a great memorial day weekend everyone!!!

By Thomas Baird (Thomas) on Friday, May 22, 2009 - 05:02 pm:

Good photos showing Spring is amongst us.

By mickill mouse (Ram4) on Friday, May 22, 2009 - 05:52 pm:

We found a robins egg on the ground outside our bedroom window. We do know there is a robins nest in the tree. There was a hole pecked in it and it did look like something could have been in the egg because there was something wet on the egg and the paper-towel Bill put the egg on. When we first saw robins fly in and out of the tree we saw a white egg with blue speckles on it, on the ground, but my neighbors' dog got at the egg first. There are also two or three sparrows flying in and out of the tree, too. A lot of nesting material around the tree. All the birds sure do a lot of squawking first thing in the morning, but we love to hear it. ;O)

By a m hill (Lvcamnotes) on Friday, May 22, 2009 - 06:41 pm:

i've always believed that robin's eggs are colored
blue. and the picture of the robin's nest looks
true. i'm amazed at the intricate structure of
the nest -- and i believe the robin is of the best.
a poet and don't know it -- just kidding.

By Richard L. Barclay (Notroll) on Friday, May 22, 2009 - 08:24 pm:

Nothing defective about those cones - they are last years cones on a fir tree (probably balsam fir) and normally point upward and shed their scales and seeds over winter. The new ones will be coming out soon enough and will also point upward as opposed to the spruce cones which point downward.

By mickill mouse (Ram4) on Friday, May 22, 2009 - 08:44 pm:

The robin eggs in the picture is exactly what we found on the ground. I should have kept it, but decided not to. They are the most incredible blue color.

By Russell E. Emmons (Russemmons) on Saturday, May 23, 2009 - 02:13 am:

There has been a major invasion this winter southward of White-Winged Crossbills a bird of the far north boreal forest normally. This winter they were all over Michigan and as far south as Kentucky and thereabouts. Crossbills with their unique beak are adapted at eating the seeds in pines, spruces and firs. This may have been what caused the cones pictured here. When a flock or even a few alight in a conifer to feed they usually make a mess of broken and chipped cones on the ground under the tree!

Robins nests often suffer predation from Blue Jays which notoriously peck and/or eat the eggs. We had 2 Robins nests already this spring in our yard ravaged by Blue Jays!

Robins and Bluebirds are both known to make 3 nestings a season at times.

By jonathan clark (Clarkstone) on Saturday, May 23, 2009 - 03:19 pm:

I believe that is a concolor fir also known as a white or silver fir. These trees are native to the rocky mountains and the pacific northwest. Nice close up.

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