I went down a road that I had been curious about for years, just to see where it went, and found myself in a wide open, treeless field. When you live in a state with 4.8 million acres of trees places like this are pretty special, so I took a photo of it. When I looked at it later on the computer it looked like a tropical, white sand beach. Unfortunately the “sand” is snow, but I can dream.
After being surrounded by forest for nearly all of my life, being in a place like this makes me feel strange, like being in a house with no walls. It’s great to visit places that are so wide open and have such “big sky,” but I don’t think I could live there. I wonder how prairie people stand it.
Since I complained about having only seen script lichen twice, not only am I seeing it everywhere now but I’m noticing different kids. The dark lines, which are the fruiting bodies (apothecia), are very different between the upper and lower halves of this photo. The upper ones are long and horizontal while the lower ones are short, branched, and squiggly. I think the upper example is elegant script lichen (Graphis elegans) and the lower common script lichen (Graphis scripta). There are 39 species of script lichen.
The yellow body (thallus) and dark orange, cushion shaped fruiting bodies (apothecia) tell me that this is a sulfur firedot lichen (Caloplaca flavovirescens). Though I see this small lichen occasionally this is the first time I’ve ever seen its apothecia. I found this one growing on a stone in an old stone wall. There are 131 species of Caloplaca in North America alone, so identifying them can be challenging.
I thought this crustose lichen might be one called tiny button lichen (Amandinea punctata), but after some reading I find that tiny button lichen rarely grows on rock. It prefers bark or wood dust. Since this lichen was growing on nothing but rock I have to lean more towards rock disk lichen (Lecidella stigmatea), which is described as having a dirty white, gray, brownish gray to sometimes partly pale rusty thallus (body) with blackish brown fruiting bodies (Apothecia).
The fruiting bodies of the rock disc lichen are either even with the body of the lichen (plane) or are convex like those shown in the photo. If they were concave we would most likely be looking at one of the map lichens. Each one of these little apothecia isn’t much bigger than a period made by a pencil on paper, so you have to look closely when trying to make a good identification. Luckily the camera often sees what I can’t.
Pileated woodpeckers were building condos in this pine tree. They roost in hollow trees and have many entrance holes to the nest, but I’m not sure if that’s what was going on here.
I had to hold the camera up over my head and shoot blind to get this view looking inside a pileated woodpecker hole, so it isn’t the sharpest shot you’ve ever seen on this blog. You can see that he has excavated all the way to the hollow heart of the tree. I wonder if they know the tree is hollow before they start excavating.
It took me a while to find it because there are a lot of trees out there, but I found the tree with the zig zag scar again. I don’t know why I thought I’d learn any more now than I did when I first ran into it last fall, but I wanted to see it again and take a closer look. Of course I don’t know any more now than I did then-just that it’s a scar deep in the bark of a white pine that looks like a zig zag. It starts below the soil level and runs up the trunk about 3 feet and then stops. I don’t know if lightning or another natural event caused it or if it was a boy with a pocket knife. It is an oddity though, no matter what caused it.
I did some online searching and didn’t find anything that looked like it but I was contacted by another blogger who found an old hemlock with an even stranger scar. If you’d like to see it, just click here.
This close-up shows how thick the bark is on either side of the zig zag scar and how they come together like a zipper. The bark on older white pines is naturally platy and deeply furrowed, but it looks to me like the tree has been trying to heal this scar for a very long time.
I saw a culvert that directed spring water off a hill and into a pond. I tried to get a shot of the miniature waterfall and the ice cloak that it had wrapped itself in, but it’s a little hard to see that in this photo.
There is a lot of old fencing left in our woods from the 1800s when this was all pasture land. One day I saw a dead pine limb that had grown around the wire of an old stock fence and had broken away from the tree and was now hanging from it. The diameter of the limb was probably about 2 1/2 to 3 inches.
For the limb to have grown around the wire as it did, both would have had to have been undisturbed for quite a long time, I would think. I’ve heard of some strange things being found in trees, but wire isn’t that unusual. It is a logger’s nightmare though-imagine running a chainsaw into that. .
I found a piece of pitch pine bark that had orange colored parts that were as thin as paper.
This is what I saw when I held the piece of pitch pine bark up to the light. Is this what a squirrel sees from inside a hollow tree?
The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes. ~ Arthur Conan Doyle
Thanks for coming by.