Monday, May 7, 2012

Black oak

So fortunate I was to do another climb so soon, this time in a different area of Boston. To some people any forest might look the same, but I usually get a different impression of every place I visit. Subtle differences in the flora and the landscape make every forest unique.

 Here we had great diversity in the small area surrounding our tree for the day, everything from hemlocks to chestnuts to birches and oaks. We had hickories and maples, lowbush blueberries and trailing dewberry and cranesbill, and in the air we could hear warblers and bluejays.

Although this oriole greeted me from the maple outside my window this morning!

Black birch always have interesting trunk and root forms.

In the woods we found flowering mayflowers.

Just by reaching my arm out there was pine, oak, hickory and beech.

Trailing dewberry

Velvety baby oakleaves

Lots and lots of blueberry flowers

Eventually the sun came out and made the fresh green glow.

Beetle mating. They took their time. This is on the trunk of the oak we climbed - there were dozens of them, and we thought it might be firefly beetles.

I was feeling somewhat weak from a strep throat infection so I did some sitting around while the others were kind enough to set up the ropes. But eventually it was time to get up, and all my weakness faded away.

This was an old rugged black oak with the most amazing moss- and lichen coverage. We were most cautious where to put our feet as to not hurt the lichens.

Next tree over was a great old hemlock, of the kind that are very rare now. The top quarter was still alive, but the lower parts were dead, from the wooly hemlock adelgid pest. Truly one of the saddest things going on now in the Eastern woods.

The red bud scales from hickory trees were a nice contrast from all the green.

Many limbs were dead but there was plenty left to lean on.

There was no wind and the air was so refreshing.

My black-oak flower pictures didn't turn out so well. There were only a few flowers on the tree.

I had to leave early to head back home and with heavy heart I descended from this restful place. But on the ground there were little geraniums and butterflies.

Also, fabulously fragrant and pretty but very invasive Autumn olive, with intoxicating smell. I guess if you pruned it hard after flowering so it never set seeds, it could perhaps be planted in a garden. 

But THE most fantastic thing happened after I left, unfortunately. A great horned owl landed in the oak I had just descended from and where my friend Paul was still sitting, and her mate was soon found comfortable in a pine nearby. My friend managed to get a picture of the male, but the female left everyone awestruck and nobody had their camera ready. Just my bad luck - I SO want to see an owl!
But I will return, I know where to look now.

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