Posts Tagged 'trees'

Lobster Claws

The emptied husk of a dog day cicada (Neotibicen). This is the final form of the underground nymph stage of these annual cicadas, which spend four to five years underground sucking on plant roots, counting the days. They’re “annual” because there’s a brood or cohort every year. This is split open and hollow inside now, because the adult form has emerged to make its way up into the tree for a summer of, ideally, love.

There were nine of these on the bole of this fat beech in Green-Wood a week ago. That’s a lot. Other beeches had one or a few on them. Do they like beeches in particular, or are these exuviae just easier to spot on the silvery-gray bark?

Mammal Monday

Half a dozen Greys were around or up inside this tree. (Some kind of walnut, I think; fruit looked pecan-y but leaves didn’t.) Also I wasn’t sure if the nuts raining down upon me were intentional. Poetic fallacy and all.

The tree certainly makes the animal work for it.

Update: We ran into Daniel Atha, of the NYC Ecoflora Projet. He had just come from taking a specimen of this tree! It turns out to be butternut (Juglans cinerea), which is also known as white walnut. It’s the only living one in the city he knows of. The specie sis beset by butternut canker; in some states 80% of the butternuts have been killed off.

Reading: Resistance: Reclaiming An American Tradition by Jeff Biggers. (Please don’t use Amazon. The link is to Indiebound. Or your local library.)


Beech and Sassafras running the gamut.A nice-sized Sassafras albidum. They run smaller in the city, where they’re often much newer plantings.And somewhere in the middle zone, Prunus avium, bird or sweet cherry.

Beeching Out

All the same Fagus.Galls, burls, one and the same?

Did they dig out or dig in?


A Blue Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica)A line of sapsucker holes. About 3/4″ deep, through the bark.These holes are chiseled out by, in our parts, the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius), who drinks the sugary sap and snaps up any insects also attracted to the sweet stuff.

A Tree for Tuesday

I was circling around St. Michael’s tower in search of the Kestrels that have been frequenting the raptor anvil, as I like to call it, atop the cross up there. These local falcons will be a subject of a future week’s worth of posts. Yes, they have been active!

This excursion gave me an opportunity to revisit an old friend: a gigantic American Elm growing in a Sunset Park front yard. Actually, it pretty much is the front yard of the small row house it dominates. In the picture above, I’m standing next to the fence that pretends to contain this magnificent specimen, and aiming the camera up along the trunks, which look they’re engaged in conversation.

Which, of course, they are.

Ominously, next door is a construction site, and they’re excavating, which means this giant’s roots have probably been compromised.

Sap Fall

A great frozen waterfall of beech sap stalactiting from a massive specimen. The hang here is two plus feet!Gorgeous, but a sign of distress for the tree.


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  • Greater Angle-wing katydid calling outside from middle of block. Dzt! 5 hours ago
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