.

.
Borrego Springs, CA

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I’m in an education mode tonight :)

One of the things I like best about volunteering at National Wildlife Refuges is the chance to learn something new almost every day.  So tonight, I would like to share with you some things I already knew, and something I’ve learned here at Mississippi Sandhill Crane NWR.  If you’re not in the mood for a lesson, then just X me out._MG_5722

It was laundry day here today, and in between loads I sat outside with Emma reading my favorite book.  I  heard some scuffling around in the surrounding brush, and found a hermit thrush making its way through the underbrush.  Do you see that rusty tail and distinct eye ring?

_MG_5738

Those two features, plus the bold breast spots confirmed that this was a hermit thrush for me.  Of course it helped that this is probably the only thrush that will be encountered in North America at this time of the year.  Smile

_MG_5730

Can you guess why this thrush was hanging around my rig?  It was those red berries it was interested in.  Thrushes love berries!  These are from the Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria).  Don’t you love that Latin name?

…The leaves and twigs contain caffeine, and American Indians used them to prepare a tea, which they drank in large quantities ceremonially and then vomited back up, lending the plant its species name, vomitoria. The vomiting was self-induced or because of other ingredients added; it doesn’t actually cause vomiting. Tribes from the interior traveled to the coast in large numbers each spring to partake of this tonic, and it was also a common hospitality drink among many groups. It remained popular as such among southeastern Americans into the 20th century and is still occasionally consumed today…

I don’t think I’ll be consuming any part of that plant any time soon, but maybe it gives the thrushes a buzz?  Think I’ll stick to my glass of wine in the evening…

_MG_5726

                                                                                  THE END!!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

19 comments:

  1. That was a great lesson Judy! Thanks. I have tons of Holly berryies here in Indiana, but not the same. We are having a Blue Jay / Cardinal argument here every day. I assume it is territory rights they are competing for. It is a shame we had to remove the overgrown bushes around the house. They provided so much habitat for all.

    ReplyDelete
  2. and I do know how to berries! or is it berrys? Don't think so.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great lesson -- now if I can just remember in case there's a test:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is the kind of education I like. There isn't a quiz tomorrow!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for the great lesson. I need to know more birds as I will be at Lockhart State Park in May.

    ReplyDelete
  6. We also enjoyed the lesson. We have been noticing some sort of bird here in the hollies and after the berries. Now we will try to look closer to see if it is the hermit thrush.

    John and Ellen
    connectedtothevinephotography.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I wish I could wear you around my neck like a bird identifying charm..I do have a bird book but it's hard to use,and I am lazy. I am attempting to figure out which little Warbler is which...so far I have noticed 3 different ones at our orange slices in the trees...Do I get a better grade if I suck up to the teacher?..It used to work for me.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Judy, I left you a reply on my latest post. Also, please check Jan 2010 on my blog! Love to learn about birds - thanx for the new info!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am wondering if you keep a life list of birds.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Nice bird lesson...now if I can just remember it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Very descriptive name for berries. I've eaten at some restaurants that served them I think!

    ReplyDelete
  12. There must have been an over abundance of those berries at the Indio FMCA rally this week! Lots of people sick.

    ReplyDelete
  13. That a neat little lesson. I wonder what the tea tasted like??

    ReplyDelete
  14. Judy, you'd love reading "Remarkable Plants of Texas". It is a wonderful combination of history and biology written by an English professor at UT. Matt Turner was in my Native Plant group when I lived in Austin and is a marvelous story teller. He has a great article on Yaupon. http://www.utexas.edu/utpress/books/turrem.html

    And this blog tells how to make your own tea: http://beaufortinlet.blogspot.com/p/yaupon-tea.html.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love reading your educational posts. Sitting around vomitting with friends does not seem like too much fun. :) I'll stick with my glass of wine too.

    ReplyDelete