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Posts Tagged ‘Black Locust Thorn’

Another post full of things that don’t fit in other posts.

 1. Deformed Chanterelle Mushroom

I’ve noticed that something is causing chanterelle mushroom deformation this year. I’ve seen this happening in several different places so I was curious as to what might be causing it. After doing some reading on mushroom deformation I found that large amounts of water will cause deformation in chanterelles. That makes sense since we’ve had rain nearly every day for the last 3 weeks. This will not make mushroom hunters happy because chanterelles are considered a great delicacy.

 2. Chanterelle Mushroom

This is what a chanterelle should look like. This one was growing very near to several deformed ones. Why some were deformed and others were not depends on their water intake, I suppose. It seems odd to see mushrooms taking in enough moisture to hurt themselves.

 3. Poplar Sunburst Lichen

I stopped by a local tree to check on an old friend. This poplar sunburst lichen (Xanthomendoza hasseana) hasn’t gotten much bigger since the last time I saw it, but it’s still every bit as beautiful. The white material is new though, and I’m hoping it’s another lichen rather than some kind of disease.

 4. Eastern Spruce Adelgid Gall on Blue Spruce

Years ago when my son and daughter were little I planted a small Colorado blue spruce so we could have an outdoor lighted Christmas tree. I was looking at it the other day and noticed these strange growths on some branches that turned out to be galls, which are caused by a tiny insect called the eastern spruce gall Adelgid (Adelges abietis.) Thankfully the adelgids won’t kill the tree but if I prune the galls off before the eggs hatch it will interrupt their life cycle and put an end to the galls. I hope.

5. Moth Wing

I used to work at a place with overhead lights that stayed on all night and in the morning the pavement under the lights would be covered with moth and other insect’s wings. The wings were all that was left after the bats had fed. I found this wing on a leaf. It looked like its owner had tangled with a spider web before becoming a snack.

6. Black Locust Thorns

Earlier in the season I posted some honey locust flowers that several people thought were black locust flowers. I didn’t have the above photo of black locust thorns or the one below of honey locust thorns to illustrate my explanation, but the thorns are the easiest way to tell the two plants apart. Black locust thorns always grow in pairs where the leaf petioles meet the stem and are relatively short.

7. Honey Locust Thorn

Honey locust thorns grow singly and appear right out of the bark on branches and trunk. They can be 3 to 6 inches long and sometimes branch like the example in the photo. These are thorns that you don’t want to run into accidentally.

8. Canada Goose

Canada geese usually turn their backs and walk away but this one seemed as interested in me as I was in him. (Or her.) Maybe it was the designated decoy, keeping me busy while the flock waddled off. There were probably thirty geese in this pasture, including goslings.

9. Deep Blue Dragonfly

This dragonfly (or damsel fly) was deep indigo blue, including its wings, and was a very beautiful insect. I’ve looked online for it but can’t even find anything similar. I suppose that I should get an insect ID guide.

10. Japanese Beetle

No need for a guide for Japanese beetles-I’ve known them for years. I have to say though, that I’ve never noticed the white dots like this one has. After doing some searching I found that these dots are the eggs of the tachinid fly, and once they hatch the larva will burrow into the beetle and eat it. Then they will become flies and lay eggs on even more Japanese beetles. This fly has been found to parasitize 20 percent of the Japanese beetles in Connecticut alone, so if you see a Japanese beetle with white spots, let it be. Biological control of a pest is a good thing.

11. Bee on Knapweed

Butterflies and bumblebees love knapweed, I’ve discovered. They seem to be so engrossed in the flowers that they ignore me completely and let me snap away as long as I want.

12. Ox-Eye daisy

The yellow center of a common ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) is made up of tiny yellow disk florets that bloom from the edge of the disk to the center. These florets are perfect, meaning they have both male and female parts, while the white ray flowers, commonly called petals, are female. It is said that when these “petals” are pulled in the classic loves me / loves me not way the results are almost always favorable, because over 90 percent of ox-eye daisy flowers have an uneven number of petals.

13. Thunderheads

Strong afternoon thunderstorms have plagued this part of the state for 3 weeks now, causing flash flooding in some areas and swelling rivers to bank-full conditions. The air is so saturated it feels like you’re swimming through it. Couple that with hot afternoon sunshine and you have the two things a thunderstorm needs to form. On almost any afternoon the thunderheads grow to tens of thousands of feet and then the downpours start at between 4 and 5 pm. I hope it is a lot drier wherever you are.

 14. Ashuelot River on 7-4-13

This is a recent view of the Ashuelot River, showing how close it is to the top of its banks. It’s also very muddy, meaning that it is carrying tons of New Hampshire soil to the Atlantic.

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.  ~John Lubbock

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1. Snowy Trail Friday 3-8-13

This is what one of my favorite trails looked like last Friday after 3-4 inches of snow.

 2. Ashuelot River on 3-9-13

Then on Saturday the sun came out and the temperature shot up into the 50s. I’ve never seen snow melt so fast.

 3. River Waves 3-9-13

The river is still handling the snow melt well, and has hardly risen at all.

 4. Geese on the River 3-9-13

Canada geese were enjoying the sunshine and doing what geese do.

 5. Black Locust Thorns

I spent some time dawdling along the river banks, also enjoying the sunshine. I saw this thorny black locust tree there (Robinia pseudoacacia.)

 6. Shadows on Snow

I liked the way the sun turned all the shadows blue early in the morning.

7. Small Winter Stonefly

Shadows weren’t the only thing on the snow-this is a small winter stonefly, in the family Capniidae, according to bug guide.net. The nymphs live beneath rocks and gravel on the bottom of streams and rivers. When the adults emerge they can be found along the banks-even on snow.  The adults feed on blue-green algae and the nymphs on aquatic plants.

8. Backlit Mushroom

Later in the afternoon I took about 20 pictures of this mushroom but didn’t like any of them because of the strong sunlight in the landscape beyond. Finally I cropped the background out of one and found something I could live with. I like the way the sun lit it up-which is what made me want to take the pictures in the first place.

 9. Barberry Berries

This Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) still had berries that the birds hadn’t eaten. That’s two fewer plants of this very invasive species to worry about.

 10. Bittersweet

Another invasive is the twining vine Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) which also loves to grow along the river. Here it is doing what it does best-strangling a native tree.  This vine was originally imported from Asia for erosion control.  Birds loved its orange berries and now it is everywhere.

11. Vernal Witch Hazel

I left the river and went to a local park, where I found this witch hazel blooming. Our native witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) blooms in the fall but many ornamentals are vernal witch hazels (Hamamelis vernalis,) meaning they bloom in the spring.

12. Daffodils

The daffodils at the park look just like they did weeks ago. They too have been waiting for warmth and sunshine.

 13. Marsh at Sunset

Sometimes if everything comes together just right the setting sun turns the water in the local marsh to gold. I like being there when it happens.

If you think Sunshine brings you happiness, then you haven’t danced in the rain. ~Unknown

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Happy first day of summer! Our local weather forecast calls for temperatures in the md 90s with high humidity, so I’ll be staying in the shadier parts of the forest. What follows are a few things that can be found there. This eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus) looked as if something had been taking bites out of its trailing wing edges. It was resting in the shade on a false Solomon’s seal plant and didn’t bat a wing while I was taking pictures. Do birds chase butterflies and take bites out of their wings? I thought these common split gill (Schizophyllum commune) mushrooms were bracket fungi because, even though they are one of the most common mushrooms, I hadn’t ever seen them. They are found on every continent except Antarctica and don’t grow there only because there is no wood for them to live on. Though they look like a bracket fungus they are mushrooms with torn and serrated gill-like folds that are split lengthwise. These mushrooms dry out and re-hydrate many times throughout the season and this splits the gill-like folds, giving them their common name. These ones looked like fuzzy scallop shells. I did see bracket fungi though. These turkey tails (Trametes versicolor) were surrounded by moss. I had to wonder if the moss was winning the battle. This eastern painted turtle (Chrysemys picta picta) was in the middle of the path I was on, quite far from water. He (she?) looked like he couldn’t decide whether to go into or come out of his shell.  After a few pictures I left him just the way I found him, thinking he would reach a decision quicker if I wasn’t there watching him. He was about the size of a soccer ball. I saw plenty of little brown mushrooms.  Even mushroom experts have trouble identifying these mushrooms and recommend that mushroom hunters stay away from any that are small to medium size and are brown, grayish brown or brownish yellow.  The deadly skullcap (Galerina autumnalis) is a little brown mushroom, and it wouldn’t be a good day if it were accidentally eaten. Many cherry trees have nipple or pouch gall on their leaves this year. These are small finger like nubs on the leaf surface caused by tiny eriophyid mites laying eggs on the leaf.  The mites secrete a chemical substance that causes the leaf to expand over their eggs. When the eggs hatch the baby mites feed inside the finger shaped gall. The galls caused by these mites don’t hurt the trees and are seen as a natural curiosity. Over time the galls turn from green to red and when the leaves drop in the fall the galls drop with them. Thorns on a native black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) tree. These are nowhere near as dangerous looking as the thorns on a honey locust tree, but I still wouldn’t want to accidentally run into them.  Farmers have used black locust for fence posts for hundreds of years because it is dense, hard, and rot resistant. It is said to last over 100 years in the soil. Black locust is in the pea family and is considered toxic. This tree was growing at the edge of the forest. Several together would make an impenetrable thicket. Native Deer Tongue Grass (Panicum clandestinum or Dichanthelium clandestinum) seems to be thriving this year.  I like the way the leaves look as if they have been pierced by the stem. When they do this it is called clasping the stem. Many plants-the common fleabane for example-do this. This grass prefers moist soil and plenty of sun. Deer Tongue Grass is just starting to flower. Native Porcupine sedge (Carex hystericina ) is another plant that likes moist soil and full sun and I usually find it growing near ponds and streams. It is also called bottlebrush sedge. The green prickly looking flowers are called spikelets. Both male and female flowers are on each plant. Waterfowl, game birds and songbirds feed on sedges seeds. The Sedge Wren builds its nest and hunts for insects in wetlands that are dominated by sedges. The color of these new maple leaves was beautiful enough to deserve a photo, I thought. It is amazing how many plants have new leaves that start out red or maroon before turning green. Since chlorophyll is what makes leave green, this tells me that the emerging foliage doesn’t have much of it. The pussytoes (Antennaria) in my yard have all gone to seed. The yellow hawkweed (Hieracium caespitosum) is also going to seed. Each plant can produce as many as 500 seeds in a single flower head. This plant is native to Europe and is considered a noxious weed.Way down at the bottom of the spathe, or pulpit, at the base of the spadix called Jack, the fruits of Jack in the pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum ) have been forming. Soon these immature green berries will begin to swell and will turn bright red. The seeds in the berries are more often than not infertile. Those in the photo are at a stage that most people never see because the wilted spadix is usually covering the immature fruit. I peeled parts of it away to get this picture. Doing so won’t harm the plant. These tiny green flowers of the wild grape (Vitis species) don’t look like much but they are very fragrant. I smelled these long before I saw them and followed their fragrance to the vine. The flowers are so small that I can’t imagine what insect pollinates them.

In the woods we return to reason and faith~ Ralph Waldo Emerson  

I hope you enjoyed seeing what the woods here in New Hampshire have to offer. Thanks for stopping in.

 

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