This is a mock strawberry, but I thought it was a real one, so I tasted it. Only a little, because the bumps looked weird. It was . . . insipid. Happily, according to the internet, it’s nontoxic.
I heard this flycatcher, and spent most of my allotment of birding time this morning waiting for it to perch somewhere relatively visible. By the time it did, I was accompanied by Terry, Charles T., Jeremy N., and Enrico, who were able to identify it as an Acadian by its song.
Went home and put in the air conditioners.
This one is hard to identify! My first guess was pine warbler, then yellow-throated vireo, then briefly Lawrence’s warbler, but in the end I’m going with the first-winter incarnation of bay-breasted warbler.
When this tree was in flower, I thought it was a bottlebrush buckeye, but now that there’s a fruit, I’m wondering if it’s a California buckeye.
A side-effect of spilling a glass of water on my old laptop is that on the new one, I couldn’t keep going with my somewhat ancient copy of Photoshop Elements, which I think came for free with a scanner a decade ago, and had to pony up for Lightroom Classic. The difference may or may not be visible to you, but I’ve been learning how to use Lightroom Classic for the past week or so, and today finally graduated to taking pictures in my camera’s “raw” format, instead of just having it compress jpegs on the fly. What this means is I have a little more latitude, now, to correct exposure and white balance after the fact, which is awfully helpful because I can’t tell you how many theoretically great photos I’ve taken have proved unusable because a bright sky in the background turned the bird in the foreground into nothing but a silhouette. Also, now I can click a button to correct digitally for flaws in the particular lens that I’m using, which is a subtle improvement, but maybe it’s something? The danger, of course, is that now I’ll be tempted to doctor the photos too much, and that they’ll end up looking same-y through my new ability to indulge my predilections, so I’ve been trying to make myself go easy on the “vibrance” and “saturation” adjustment sliders.
Toby was with me when I photographed this black wasp with blue wings, but then I had to bring Toby home, because the muggy heat was making him wobblier than usual, and I went back outside alone, which left me free to spend more time in the park than I probably should have. In the heat, unfortunately, the park was mostly still and dead. I did see a couple of quite beautiful, mostly black butterflies, but only one posed for me, and I made the mistake of trying to change the lens on my camera in order take a close-up; it fluttered away before I got the lens mounted. The only other thing of note was a woodpecker, high in its tree, and I was trying, ineffectually, to photograph it when a raptor crashed through the canopy, gripping a not-small furry creature in its talons, pursued by two other raptors, all of them crying angrily.
The prizewinner took his breakfast to the crook of a tree, and boasted over it, while tearing off gobbets and swallowing. He was in no hurry, and in a few minutes, several other birders caught up to us, one of whom identified the trio as Cooper’s hawks. I thought that the successful hunter must be a parent, and that the other two must be fledglings, who were hoping for a share of the parent’s meal. But now that I’m home, and can look at Sibley’s, I see that all three were juveniles, which would explain why the one who did make a kill did not share.
The siblings who hadn’t killed loitered on branches nearby and cried, loudly and unembarrassedly. They seemed to be asking for handouts. The raised claw, in the photograph just above, looks to me like a request—like a hawk’s version of an extended palm.