Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ghosts Of The Forest

Several months ago, while on an excursion at Goodwin Forest, I learned that Beech trees are sometimes called "the ghosts of the forest," because they have a tendency to retain their leaves throughout the Winter, something referred to as:  


Marcescence is the term used to describe the retention of dead leaves on deciduous trees through the winter. Certain tree species show this characteristic more commonly; oaks, beeches, hornbeam, and witch hazel.




Initially I was content to capture a few pix for you of the Beech trees.  However, my focus changed, as you can see.



Spotting the turkeys in the woods near the fence line, I couldn't wait to get a few shots.  You see, there were two jakes strutting and I wanted to get them so desperately.    Hidden behind the thick tangled brambles, they walked slowly around and around yet never came out into the open like these two hens shown above. Drat!


Abruptly though, rather than following those in the woods, my attention became focused on the ones near the base of the feeders.  Can you see why?
Holy moose-poops!  What kind of turkey is that?

 I even woke up the Pres knowing he would want to see this critter! 


Wanting you to see the definitive contrast between the birds, I wanted to get multiple hens within close proximity.



Pretty, isn't she?






Then, like the others she headed toward the back corner, took a few fast steps and was airborne, landing on the other side and disappeared into the woods.


After I returned home from the gym, I decided to do a little digging myself as I pulled up the pix.


"The white hen is probably a color phase known as the smoky-gray. From a distance, these birds appear to be white, though they are not albino. They have dark eyes and normal-colored legs. Up close you can actually see all the colors of the typical eastern wild turkey. However, the colors are muted or ghost-like, making the bird appear white or light gray. This color phase is a recessive trait and it is likely that the bird's mother was a typically colored wild turkey. However, both her mother and her father had a recessive gene for this color phase. So, it is likely that the offspring of the light colored hen would be of typical color. She would have to mate with a gobbler that had the recessive trait in order to produce white poults and the chances of that happening are pretty slim."




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24 comments:

bettyl-NZ said...

How cool to see the 'white' bird. I guess there are variations in everything that has color.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

I have never seen a white turkey like that. Very neat!

EG CameraGirl said...

Very cool. I have seen a lot of wild turkeys but NEVER a smoky-gray one!

MTWaggin said...

Wow that would have been such a lovely surprise. What fun to see the odd colors on that turkey!

Lea said...

Very interesting!

Adam Jones said...

They look extra pretty in the snow.

Sandra said...

i will add this to my list of learn something new every day in blog land. the ghost tree and he ghostly turkey hen.. i knew the oak and the avacodo trees in our yard kept the leaves all winter and don't drop until pushed off by new, but not the name of it...

Pamela Gordon said...

That is so neat to see JP. I'm glad you got some photos and did a little homework on why she was that colour.

Marie said...

Oh, you are just the lucky duck! :-) How does one take a walk in the forest and end up with a totally syncopatic themed blogpost without even knowing it was going to happen! TWO ghosts! I loved learning about the ghost trees, and then how cool, there were suddenly wild turkeys in your path...and then here is another ghost, a lovely pale morph turkey. Wow!

Karen S. said...

Wow, what a fun adventure this was. Your photos bring us right there up close, and that turkey is just beautiful. Great colors and not very common to see.

Light and Voices said...

Fabulous photos of those turkeys sorta up close and personal.
JM, IL

Ginny said...

Are they some kind of partridge or prairie hen? Beautiful feathers. So from what you learned, this is a rare bird. Maybe Quail? I did not know that about the Ghost Trees, that fact is so cool!

TexWisGirl said...

she's a pretty stand-out!

Jen Masssey napierdailyphoto.blogspot.co.nz said...

cool!

Carver said...

I love seeing the wild turkeys.

Ann Thompson said...

Very cool. I've never seen a turkey like that before

bailey-road.com said...

She stands out, even in the snow.

Rambling Woods said...

How cool is that!!! Beautiful too. So much fun to research a nature find...... Michelle

Ida said...

Now that is so interesting and cool. So glad you got pictures of her.

Molly said...

She really does stand out from the other hens

Mollyxxx

Anni said...

Wow!!! They're all gorgeous. I can see why your focus changed. And she is so pretty amongst the flock...

Thank you kindly for sharing this link at I'd Rather B Birdin'.

eileeninmd said...

Cool sighting of the turkeys, and the white female is pretty. Great shots!

psychelyn said...

Totally cool ghosts :) These are very pretty sightings.

Villrose said...

Graphical birds!

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