Tuesday, August 23, 2016

OAK-APPLE GALL

OAK-APPLE GALL

Donald A. Windsor

Oak-Apple Galls are formed by oak tree leaves under the control of the gall wasp Amphibolips confluentus, Family Cynipoidea. 


These two specimens were picked up under a Red Oak (Quercus rubra) in front of 51 Sheldon Street in the City of Norwich. I regret that I did not record the date, but it was the late spring or early summer of 2016.

The female wasp lays an egg on a leaf. The egg hatches into a larva that then feeds on the leaf, stimulating the leaf tissue to develop into a gall. The gall acts as a cocoon, protecting the larva as it pupates. When the pupa reaches adult stage, it breaks its way out of the gall.

Note the larval-pupal chamber suspended by fibers in the center of the opened gall.

Oak-Apple Galls have been found in several places in Chenango County.

Reference consulted:

Craighead, F.C. Leaf galls. In: Insect Enemies of Eastern Forests. Washington DC: US Department of Agriculture. Miscellaneous Publication Number 657. 1950. Pages 597-598.

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

OLD CHERRY TREE IN MCDONOUGH




OLD CHERRY TREE IN MCDONOUGH

Donald A. Windsor

These photos were snapped on 17 July 2016.


Could this Black Cherry tree (Prunus serotina) be the oldest of its species in Chenango County? If not, please tell me about a competitor.

This specimen is along the Finger Lakes Trail in the McDonough State Forest, between Bliven-Sherman and Gale roads, about a stone's throw to the southeast. It is not readily noticeable; you have to look for it.

I first encountered this specimen back around 1997 and first photographed it for my article in The Evening Sun in 2002. Unfortunately, that photo is no longer available for reproduction here, but it does appear in the references below.

I identify with this gnarled old tree, because we are growing old together. Unfortunately, I suspect who will ultimately outlive whom.

References cited:

Windsor, Donald A. A gnarled survivor. The Evening Sun (Norwich, NY) 2002 April 15 Monday; 112(21): 17.
Windsor, Donald A. A gnarled survivor. In: Souvenirs of Yesteryear. Exploring Chenango County, New York. Norwich, NY: Self published. 2008 December 5. Pages 12-13.
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Thursday, August 11, 2016

POISON IVY -- THE LARGEST SPECIMEN IN CHENANGO COUNTY




POISON IVY – The largest specimen in Chenango County

Donald A. Windsor

The largest specimen of Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) that I have ever seen anywhere is growing right here in Chenango County. It is about 40 feet tall with a spread (drip line) of about 15 feet across. One of its lianas (woody vines that root in the ground and climb up a tree) is the size of my wrist (7 inches circumference, 2 ¼ inches diameter). The Poison Ivy is climbing up a White Pine (Pinus strobus) with two trunks. Next to it is another White Pine with its own Poison Ivy. I refrain from giving the exact location of these specimens out of fear that some misguided do-gooder may destroy them.

Searches in the surrounding area have not found any more plants. Searches will continue.

Here are some photos of this specimen. The winter shots were snapped on 9 November 2015. The summer ones were snapped on 5 August 2016. Anne Altshuler is in some of the photos pointing.

Leaves and berries. 


The trunks of the 2 White Pine hosts. The Poison Ivy branches appear to be growing out of the pine trunks.


The ivy growing up 40 feet.


Berries.


Lianas growing up the trunk.


Large liana with pine needles caught in its rootlets.



Large lianas. Note the crossing from one trunk to another.


References consulted:

Leopold, Donald J. ; McComb, William C. ; Muller, Robert N. Toxicodendron radicans. In: Trees of the Central Hardwood Forests on North America. An Identification and Cultivation Guide. Portland, OR: Timber Press. 1998. Page 420.

Symonds, George W. D. ; Merwin, A.W. Poison ivy Rhus radicans. In: The Shrub Identification Book. The Visual Method for the Practical Identification of Shrubs, Including Woody Vines and Ground Covers.. New York, NY: William Morrow & Co. 1963. Pages 240-243. Master Pages 74-77.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

EXPLORING CHENANGO COUNTY BY HIKING -- JULY 2016


EXPLORING CHENANGO COUNTY BY HIKING – JULY 2016

Donald A. Windsor

The best way to explore Chenango County is to walk it. I lead hikes every Sunday morning, year around, for the Bullthistle Hiking Club and report them on our Yahoo group, BullthistleHikers, where the many photos posted by our hikers can be viewed. Here are my reports for July 2016.


3 July 2016 – Stonepiles along the Ludlow Creek, Smithville

On a cool, sunny Sunday morning, 2 July 2016, we had 6 hikers bushwhacking along the Ludlow Creek in Smithville: Peg Fuller, Charity Moore, Allan Strong, Maryann Weiss, Matthew Weiss, and Don Windsor. We covered 5.5 miles in 5.3 hours for a speed of 1.0 miles per hour. Our vertical ascent was 857 feet.

We parked on Tucker Road near Joscelyn Road and followed the DEC blazes south and then west. We crossed Ludlow Creek at the spectacular rock outcrops and ventured onto the high ground northwesterly to some stone piles. We paused for our well-deserved break and then bushwhacked northwesterly to the FLT leanto. We then took the FLT to the small stonepiles and then backtracked to Tucker Road. We then took Tucker east, back to our cars.

Matthew and Charity are both professional archaeologists from West Virginia, with an interest in stone piles, so it was enlightening to have them along. Stone pile sites extend from Ohio to the ocean and to Maine and Georgia. My botanical highlight was the superb growth of Angelica along Tucker Road.


10 July 2016 – Plank (Gorge) Road, Otselic and Pharsalia

Otselic did not get as much rain as Norwich, but the gorge was not dry either. On a cool, wet Sunday morning 10 July 2016 we had 8 hikers on the Plank Road into the gorge: John Carhart, Peg Fuller, John Nesbitt, Joyce Post, Art Sandberg, Sharron Sandberg, Maryann Weiss, and Don Windsor. We hiked 5.5 miles in 3.7 hours for a speed of 1.5 miles per hour. Vertical ascent was 826 feet.

We parked in the lot on Plank Road at County Road 42, across from Perkins Pond. We then hiked northwesterly on Plank Road down to the great washout, where it seemed prudent not to continue. We then backtracked to Purse Road and took that north. We paused for our well-deserved break and continued to Clarence Church Road, where we headed easterly. At the appropriate spot we took the shortcut to the Perkins leanto and then bushwhacked southwesterly to Plank Road and southerly to our cars.

It was very dark in the gorge, but very light at the leanto, as the photos indicate.


17 July 2016 – McDonough State Forest

Nice, comfortable Sunday morning to be outside as 8 hikers ambled around the outer boundaries of the Bowman Lake State Park in McDonough: Anne Altshuler, John Carhart, Joe Jackson, Joyce Post, Sharron Sandberg, Carol Smith, Maryann Weiss, and Don Windsor. We covered 5.3 miles in 3.0 hours for a speed of 1.8 miles per hour.

We parked at the FLT trailhead on Bliven Sherman Road and trekked easterly to Steere Road. We then took that road northerly to Preston Road, where we headed west to the abandoned Gale Road. Whereupon we then walked southerly to the foundations of Galeville for our well deserved break. Refreshed, we continued onward, past Bowman Lake, across Bliven-Sherman, and onto the maintained section of Gale Road. We picked up the FLT and trod northeasterly back to our cars.

On Steere Road we encountered a healthy stand of Sassafras trees, one about 30 feet tall with at least a couple dozen saplings. A large foundation was just north of the stand. The attached group photo shows our hikers backdropped by the Sassafras. Note the 3 different leaf forms: the fingerless mitten, the standard mitten, and the 2-thumbed mitten. We also found a large, about 26 inch across, Chicken-of-the-Woods mushroom in Galeville. We paid our respects at the Steere Cemetery and at the Gale Cemetery.


24 July 2016 – Buddhist Temple Loop, German and Smithville

Most fascinating hike ever! A Buddhist monk gave us a guided tour of the Palyul Temple in Smithville on Sunday morning 24 July 2016. Monk Tashi was indeed a wealth of information and a loquacious host. We asked him a lot of questions and he patiently answered them.

We 8 hikers (Anne Altshuler, Peg Fuller, John Nesbitt, Joyce Post, Sharron Sandberg, Robin Vanwagner, Maryann Weiss, and Don Windsor) covered 6.0 miles in 3.7 hours for a speed of 1.6 miles per hour.

We parked in German on Pucker Street between Burkholder and Cross roads and hiked southerly on Pucker. We paused briefly to view the regeneration after the forest fire on 7 May 2015. We continued to Hollow Road and took it southerly to the Buddhist Temple. After the tour we took our well-deserved break and backtracked to our cars.

This was a very enlightening and memorable hike.


31 July 2016 – Hunts Pond State Forest, New Berlin

A rainy Sunday morning, 31 July 2016, following a rainy hike yesterday, resulted in a low turn out. We had only 3 hikers in the Hunts Pond State Forest in New Berlin: Anne Altshuler, John Carhart, and Don Windsor. We covered 4.0 miles in 3.0 hours for a speed of 1.3 miles per hour.

We parked at the park entrance and hiked on the park road. At the south end we turned onto the snowmobile trail and went north to the northeastern corner boundary. We then bushwhacked south, trying to follow the elusive DEC border. Frustrated by the lack of blazes, we bushwhacked southwesterly back to the park road where we took a well-deserved break in the well-drenched woods. Refreshed, we then went southerly on the snowmobile trail downhill to a low wet curve, turned around and hiked northerly back up hill. We crossed over the dam and bushwhacked through the tall, wet vegetation to Hunts Pond Road and then northerly to our car.

My most memorable encounter was the lush mullein forests. One specimen was 12 feet high! Many bullthistle bushes were 10 feet high. Several pasture thistles were found. The red efts were so plentiful that Anne was very busy shepherding them off the trails. On the drive back to HoJo we passed 3 turkeys getting rained on in a wet, grassy field. “This is like looking in a mirror”, I mumbled.

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

NORWICH GREENWAY TRAIL -- NORTHERN STRETCH


NORWICH GREENWAY TRAIL -- NORTHERN STRETCH

Donald A. Windsor

Although Norwich is a city, it has a woodsy hiking trail, our Greenway, with stretches that seem to be far away in the boondocks.

On Wednesday evening, 27 July 2016, we walked the City Wells section. The photo shows three hikers examining the plaque on the 113 year old DL&W railroad bridge over the Chenango River. The plaque carries the date 1903. From left to right are Dave Gorman, Cathy Cruz, and Deena Cady.



The graffiti vandalism is an unfortunate eyesore, but is not permanent.

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

JAM POND -- LEGACY OF THE GLACIERS








JAM POND, GERMAN -- LEGACY OF THE GLACIERS

Donald A. Windsor

The most precious botanical resource in Chenango County is Jam Pond in the Town of German. This bog is a remnant of the glacier that melted here about 16,650 years ago (1). Jam Pond was formed by an iceberg mixed in with churned up glacial rubble, a so-called “kettlehole bog”. When the glacier retreated, the iceberg melted and left a deep pond. The water was nutrient poor, so bog plants moved in and remained. (2)

I visit Jam Pond every Fourth of July, or thereabouts, to check on it. Most of the plants are blooming at this date. I usually take several colleagues along. This year (2016) five of us went. In the group photo taken by Connie Tedesco are, from the left, Anne Altshuler, Loma Wilkins, Maryann Weiss, and Don Windsor.


Connie appears in the photo taken by Maryann.

We found these notable plants.

Blooming

Not blooming

Calopogon
Cotton Grass (buds forming)

Rose Pogonia
White-fringed Orchid (buds forming)

Small Cranberry
Snowberry

Large Cranberry
Bog Rosemary

Bullhead Lily
Huckleberry (berries)

Lotus Lily
Three-way Sedge

Pitcher Plant (most blooms ever!)
Round-leaved Sundew


Highbush Blueberry with Witch's Broom


Cinnamon Fern (No fertile fronds yet)

Looked for but not seen



Southern Twayblade


Dwarf Mistletoe






References cited:

1. Cadwell, Donald H. [Retreat of the glacier 16,650 years ago] In: Late Wisconsinan Deglaciation Chronology of the Chenango River Valley and Vicinity, New York. Dissertation. State University of New York, Binghamton. 1972. Page

2. Windsor, Donald A. Kettlehole bogs. In: Souvenirs of Yesteryear. Exploring Chenango County, New York. Norwich, NY: Self published. 2010 May 14. Volume 3. Pages 35-36.

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Friday, July 1, 2016

EXPLORING CHENANGO COUNTY BY HIKING -- JANUARY - JUNE 2016


EXPLORING CHENANGO COUNTY BY HIKING – JANUARY - JUNE 2016

Donald A. Windsor

We explored 14 towns in the first half of 2016, covering a total of 121 miles.

The best way to explore Chenango County is to walk it. I lead hikes every Sunday morning, year around, for the Bullthistle Hiking Club and report them on our Yahoo group site. Here is a summary of my reports for January - June 2016.

In the first 6 months of 2016 I led 25 hikes in Chenango County. We were in 14 towns. Some hikes were in two or more towns. I prefer hiking in the woods, so we tend to go to towns where state forests are located.

Town
Hikes
Miles
Hikers




Afton
17 Apr Stone piles, Melondy SF
3.6
5
Columbus
7 Feb Skinner Hill SF
4.0
11
Coventry
27 Mar Coventry SF
3.7
10
German
28 Feb Forty Brook, 5-Streams SF
13 Mar Stone piles, 5-Streams SF
26 Jun German roads
3.0
5.7
6.6
9
9
7
Guilford
15 May South Hill SF
3.0
6
McDonough
3 Jan FLT, Tower – Bowman Lake SP
17 Jan CCC Camp
21 Feb FLT
5.2
6.3
6.0
5
8
18
New Berlin
24 Jan Ambler SF
7 Feb Skinner Hill SF
3.9
4.0
10
11
North Norwich
3 Apr Whaupaunaucau SF
5 Jun Whaupaunaucau SF
3.5
4.9
4
3
Norwich
1 Jan Greenway
3.0
9
Oxford
24 Apr Buckley Hollow, logging FLT
7.1
8
Pharsalia
1 May Pharsalia Woods SF, Coy St
29 May Huggaboom Road, Pharsalia SF
19 Jun Grouse Gorge, Pharsalia WMA
5.0
6.1
3.1
4
8
10
Pitcher
6 Mar Pitcher Springs SF
12 Jun Pitcher Springs loop
6.0
4.7
10
8
Plymouth
8 May Frenchmans Road
29 May Huggaboom Road, Pharsalia SF
5.7
6.1
6
8
Smithville
31 Jan Ludlow Creek SF
20 Mar Stone piles, Ludlow Creek SF
10 Apr Snowmobile trail + DEC blazes
24 Apr Buckley Hollow, FLT
22 May Long Pond SF, Red Brook
4.1
5.9
5.1
7.1
5.6
11
14
15
8
12

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