Posts Tagged ‘tree’

Chipping Sparrows

I see several birds daily now, even in the gloomy rainy days. Their numbers continue to increase.

The chipping sparrows stayed among the limbs, close to the trunk of the tree.

They were active birds. At least a couple of them stayed for me to photograph.

This one might see food or want me to go somewhere else.


A Pruner, a Girdler and a ?

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We have a dawn redwood tree in our backyard

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that my mother gave us years ago. These pictures were taken the end of November.

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I found several twigs on the ground under the tree.

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What “cut” the twigs from the tree, and how did they do it to make the end look like that?

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There are tree pruner insects. A full-grown twig pruner chews through the wood from the inside out. This leaves a smooth cut on the inside of the twig. The ragged edge results from the twig breaking.

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This broken twig resulted from a female tree girdler chewing a v-shaped groove around the twig. The small larva overwintered in the fallen twig.

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The ones off the redwood tree don’t look like the work of a girdler or a pruner.

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It will probably remain a mystery … unless I find another clue in the future.



Thorny Caterpillars

Question mark butterflies lay their eggs in hackberry and elm trees.

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I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to spot these caterpillars on the underside of an elm leaf.


The spines would definitely be a deterrent to predators.


Question mark butterflies have a silver question mark on the underside of their hindwings. Comma butterflies are similar in appearance and have a comma on the underside of theirs.


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Question mark and comma butterflies both have a summer and a fall form. This is the fall form of the question mark. The picture above of the darker one on the rock shows the summer form

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This shows the question mark on its hindwing.

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This picture shows the fall form of the comma butterfly. I couldn’t one that showed the comma on the underneath side.

A Honeybee

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A lone honeybee stayed busy gathering pollen in the black ash tree in our backyard.

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It was obvious from the size of its pollen sacs that it was finding plenty to take back to the hive. I wonder how much pollen the sacs can actually hold?

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Ash trees are pollinated by the wind … and maybe with a little help from the honeybee.

An Interesting Stick

Our weather finally turned off nice for a change, and I found myself picking up sticks in the yard.


 I picked up a stick under the sweet gum tree and found two surprises underneath — a small shelf fungi and a slug. The shelf fungi was so small I couldn’t see if the underneath side was smooth or had pores.


There was no shortage of lichens on the fallen wood. My Missouri book “Walk Softly Upon the Earth” calls this a blister lichen (Physcia stellaris). My “Lichens of the North Woods” book calls it a star rosette lichen.

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Then I found these yellow-green lichens.

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It looked like they’re more yellow when they were young. The black had me confused, because it looked more like a crust than like the top of the smooth black ones above.


I do get frustrated at times when I’m trying to identify a find and can’t.

For me it’s more of a matter of learning to see, find and enjoy.

Catalpa Mystery


The seedpods on the catalpa tree can grow to up to 20 inches long, and in every which way but straight.


I’ve racked my brain trying to come up with an explanation for this coiled seedpod.


What were its growing conditions? If it grew around something, why isn’t it still around it?


Maybe it’s the Jonathon Livingston Seagull of the catalpa pods.

Collection of Fungi

The Grandmother Tree

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This maple was my favorite tree friend. The tree had been dead a long time and went down during a strong summer storm in 2002.

Buffy and I went for a hike to walk off the holiday overeating. We walked down to the creek on my rural property, which included walking by the Grandmother Tree.


The tree didn’t exactly look dead with all the moss, lichens and mushrooms growing on it. Recent rains rehydrated the brown jelly fungi (Exidia recisa).


Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) grew in clumps on the slowly decaying tree.


I didn’t think to check the underside for pores of this and the the mushroom below. False turkey tail mushrooms (Trametes versicolor) are smooth underneath.


I think they both are false turkey tail mushrooms.

Turkey tail mushrooms have pores underneath.


Puffballs grew in clumps.


I wasn’t able to identify these tiny mushrooms.


I have no idea what this is. “Black crust” came to mind. It does describe it, but it doesn’t resemble what I found when searching online for possible “black crust.”


Small globules of witches’ butter (Temella mesenterica) grew in one area along the side of the tree.


Names aren’t always needed for my enjoyment. I often (like now) find it quite frustrating to search for and not find names.

Besides, none of the above know what they are either.