Posts Tagged 'trees'

The forest for the trees

TaurusTreesA hike in the fall woods is always a sensual and philosophical experience.KatydidI was in a yellow light under oaks and beeches in an overcast sky, later speared through by shafts of sunlight.Yes, both the woods and I were speared. My eyes kept shifting from the whole to the parts. Walking over even relatively smooth trails still requires at least one eye on the path for rocks and roots and unexpected katydids. You can just see one of the animal’s tympana, or ears, on the top foreleg, just under the joint, here.Shroom1And of course you must stop, and catch your breath, which has run away from you, and turn around. I mean all the way around.Shroom2This Chicken-of-the-Woods, with its cascade of yellow and orange petticoats, wouldn’t have been noticed otherwise.

In the Hudson Highlands

panoramaOn the flank of Mt. Taurus above Cold Spring, NY, yesterday. (Click on this image to view a larger version.)

Leaf Color Chat

leaves1What are the leaves saying?leaves2These colors maybe signaling something. Several somethings, in fact. leaves3I’ll be talking about our friends the leaves tomorrow night at OutdoorFest’s Mappy Hour, 7-9, at the brand new Threes Brewing Co. in Gowanus. So new that it hasn’t opened it; this is a preview event. See here for more details.sumacLeaves, beer, and then maps. A good trio.

No filters were used on these photos.

Cobras!

Gleditsia triacanthosWellllll… not exactly. Honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) pods posed to show off their curls.pod1So I brought these pods home, and two weeks later, they gave birth! Actually, some… thing emerged, cutting out circular escape passages after devouring the no-doubt tasty seeds within.pod2Here’s a list, which we must presume is only partial, of insects that enjoy this tree.pod3The cut-out portion of seed pod, and the bug.pod4

A Bumper Buckeye Crop

Aesculus flavaThere is a single old Yellow Buckeye (Aesculus flava) on the edge of the Long Meadow. I walked by on Tuesday, wondering if there might be any of the big seeds, or buckeyes, still around, or yet to fall. Well, I hit the jackpot. There were many and they had just fallen, so they were plump and gorgeously colored. They’ll darken, fade, and shrivel soon enough, so enjoy them now.

Yellow Buckeyes are native to southern Appalachia. We don’t have to many up here; they don’t even rate on entry in New York City Trees. Much more common are the Common Horsechestnut (A. hippocastanum), a native of Eurasia, and the Red Horsechestnut, a hybrid between the Horsechestnut and the Red Buckeye.

While the seeds — buckeyes, conkers — look very similar, the larger Yellow Buckeyes have fleshy, smooth pods that tend to decay quickly, while Horsechestnut pods are spiky and dry to hard little cases. Aesculus flavaThe buck’s eyes?

Excavations

IMG_4301Evidence of Pileated Woodpecker in the Hudson Highlands. The biggest hole is 7″ tall. This kind of excavation work is standard for this crow-sized woodpecker, which has a skull designed to absorb all that pounding.

Chestnuts

Castanea dentataAmerican Chestnuts (Castanea dentata). Be careful handling these burrs, or pods: the spines are v. sharp! Castanea dentataMost of the nuts produced by these young trees are scrawny, undeveloped things, quite fibrous inside, but they still seem to disappear into the maws of the squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis).Sciurus carolinensisThis one was vocally displeased with my poaching of the two plumpest nuts.


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