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The Spring Surprise Is Sprung

Macro Mysteries Solved photography logo by Merry Hearts Medicine

If you’ve seen the four macro photos from the last post, you may already have a guess as to what subject I was photographing.

Haven’t seen them yet?  Then have a look at them and see if your sharp eyes can identify them before checking the answers in this post.

Here’s the source of the four images I presented last time:

stump covered in English ivy, part of the vines trimmed away to make cave

Are you still stumped as to what this thing is?

It’s a stump!  Well, it used to be, anyway.  You see, when we bought our house years ago, we had to trim or cut down several tornado-damaged trees on the property.

This particular stump in the photos was about five or six feet tall, which didn’t make it a good candidate for quick rotting.  We decided to embrace it as part of the property instead and simply grew vines over it to make it look a little better.

English Ivy vines covering a stump with new spring growth

This photo was taken today, 11 days after the previous one. Look how much tender spring growth explodes in such a short amount of time! The new growth already averages 8-10 inches long.

For many years the English Ivy vines have climbed up and down the stump until it has become a monstrous blob of jungle.  The first Macro Mysteries photos were of berries that the vines have prolifically produced the last few years.  I never knew they made any type of fruit or seed, since they multiply so rapidly without them.  The usual way the vines spread is by the aerial roots which you saw in the second set of photos from the previous post.

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Now for the story I promised:

A few days ago, I noticed the jungle blob was leaning a little to the left.  My husband and I gave it a solid push, and it moved quite a bit before springing back at us.  I told my husband that I really thought the stump had been consumed by the ivy’s roots and that we were looking at nothing but a ten-foot-high tangle of vines.

Out of curiosity, my hubby went into the house and came back with a broom.  He thrust the broom’s handle into the mass and met very little resistance.  It wasn’t long before we had grabbed garden tools and, along with our curious daughter, were hacking away at the vines.  We eventually saw bark, indicating the remnants of the stump, which seems to only be a couple of feet tall now.  The original vines in the center of the tangle were surprisingly almost as thick as my wrist.  Saws or an axe would be required to continue our jungle exploration.

All the fun halted, however, when we made a second attempt to push the tall mass over.  My hubby and daughter pushed on one side, while I pulled on a thick vine on the other side.  The vine in my hand snapped, revealing a bird nest.

“Oh, Mom!  You can’t kill them!” my daughter yelped.

northern mockingbird egg and hatchling in nest

The tired baby rests its head after being jolted around in the vines for several minutes. This nest belongs to northern mockingbirds, which are our most loud and aggressive yard companions.

 

So, the tilted tangle will remain the standing for a couple of weeks until the babies fly the coop.

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Here’s updated photos of the babies’ progress.  After a few days, one of the hatchlings disappeared.  The second nest photo is from this morning, which I took under heavy attack from one of the chick’s parents.

northern mockingbird hatchling baby birds

northern mockingbird chick huddling in nest, wing and tail feathers growing

There’s no trying to eat the end of my finger today. The chick is now old enough to want to hide from me.

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One thought on “The Spring Surprise Is Sprung

  1. Very interesting post. Quite the story of the stump, vine, and birds. Those mocking birds are mean when they are protecting their babies. Such a shame to lose that beautiful vine. I had no idea that ivy had berries on it. So, my guess of blueberries was very wrong. Hmmmmm

    Liked by 2 people

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