This June morning, I went up to putz around the community garden before the day's promised assault of heat. First, though, I sat in the pergola and ate a choco muffin, looking around at the 10 plots filled with veggies and flowers. As I did, my eye caught a red spot in a pine tree, about 10 feet above my garden. Curious. I inspected. It looked like a plum tomato, but why would it be in a tree? Only one garden is even growing a dwarf plum tomato plant this year, but those folks are in South Africa for the summer. Maybe a roving child had illicitly picked a ripe fruit and then tossed it just so into the pines?? I looked again: no way it would have just landed there, balanced neatly on a branch.
I set about tidying the garden, still pondering the red orb glowing in the early sunlight. Maybe a squirrel had put it there? Probably not: I've only seen one squirrel this year, and I just don't think they do a lot of storing tomatoes on a tree branch. Ok, maybe a bird? Well, the few birds we have around here are either way too small to carry a tomato or they would have just pecked it in situ
An hour later, I had given up finding a sensible answer to the mystery. As a delightful distraction, however, a Eurasian jay landed on the fence; I held very still, pleased to see this skittish bird so close up. Her more brightly-colored mate joined her a minute later, confirming that I was still undetected behind the gaillardias and daylilies. After looking around the garden for a moment, the female swooped down with practiced ease to the plum tomato plant, and... yup. She neatly plucked a ripe tomato and flew away with it into the pine forest, conclusively solving my mystery but perhaps beginning a new one for another curious human.
|photo from https://www.patrickblakephotography.com/EAsianBirds/ACrows/|