Skip to main content

Look closely...

Black Oaks are beautiful trees. And this shot, if I do say so myself, is a rather crisp image of the dark, deeply fissured and rugged bark of Quercus velutina. This is a tree that withstands the ages. Black Oaks favor rough, nutrient-deficient soils, and often occur in habitats where scorched earth policies rule, at least in the olden days. Prairie wildfires were essential in maintaining midwestern savanna habitats that this this thick-barked oak thrives in. Its outer husk is tough enough to ward off the conflagrations that would kill lesser timber, thus perpetuating oak dominance. A Black Oak of this size has been around a long time, and seen a lot. Who knows how many species of birds have graced its boughs. How many pounds of lichens have lived and died on the robust trunk. Kilos and kilos of acorns have fed dozens and dozens of squirrels, deer, and other critters. Yep, untold scores of other plants and animals have consorted with this giant over the decades; it has played a vital role in the ecological web of the sand prairie where we found it growing.

But look at the bark closely. Another animal is right before our eyes.

Coming into focus a bit better now that we've moved in? Gotta look close - we are viewing one of the masters of camouflage, a critter far easier heard than seen.













There. I'm sure you see the Gray Treefrog now. Oaks. They aren't just for squirrels.

Comments

Jana said…
The last photo of the tree frog qualifies as one of my favorites on your blog! I shows such incredible camouflage. How did you ever spot that frog in the first place?
Fantastic post. I just love tree bark and to find a gray tree frog is a bonus. Good spotting.
Jim McCormac said…
Thanks Jana and Lisa. How did we spot it? Well, I just had LASIK and had the eye docs put in bionic supermanlike eyes so nothing can now elude my laserlike vision!

Jim
KatDoc said…
Great tree frog photo. When you said "Look closely" I figured there had to be something camouflaged on that trunk, but couldn't find it until the second picture.

Who is your LASIK surgeon and can I get super-vision implants?

~Kathi
Jim McCormac said…
Yes, you too can be endowed with super eyes, KatDoc - just visit my Lasik surgeon, Clark Kent...

Jim

Popular posts from this blog

The Pinching Beetle, a rather brutish looking bug

The world is awash in beetles, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Few of them can match the intimidation factor of a Pinching Beetle, Lucanus capreolus, though. Those formidable looking mandibles look like they could slice off a finger.

Today was one of those coolly diverse days. I started off down in Fayette County, visiting the farm of a friend. He has restored about 25 acres of wetlands, and the response by the animal community has been nothing short of phenomenal. Blizzards of dragonflies of many species, amphibians galore, and nesting Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, and Sora. Among MANY other things. And all in a short two years. Add water and they will come.

Then, working my way home, I ducked into a Madison County cemetery that has a thriving population of Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, and shot images of our native prairie dog. Then, I stopped at a spot along Little Darby Creek, waded on in, and procured some pretty nice shots of various stream bluets and dancers. …

Calliope Hummingbird in central Ohio!

A hatch-year male Calliope Hummingbird strikes a pose. Small but tough, the hummingbird was feeding actively yesterday in 39 F temperatures. It frequents feeders and gardens at a home in Delaware County, Ohio, about a half-hour north of Columbus.

Fortunately, the wayward hummer appeared at the home of Tania and Corey Perry. Tania is a birder, and knew right away that the hummingbird was something special. For a while, the identification was up in the air, which isn't surprising. The Calliope Hummingbird used to be placed in its own genus, Stellula, but has recently been submerged into the genus Selasphorus, which includes Allen's, Broad-tailed, and Rufous hummingbirds. The latter two, especially, are quite similar to the Calliope in subadult plumage. Rufous is the default "vagrant" hummingbird here, with dozens of records and birds turning up annually. There is but one Ohio record of Allen's Hummingbird, from late fall/early winter 2009. Ditto the Calliope Hummi…

Ballooning spiders

Fear not, ye arachnophobes. The subject of this entry is indeed about spiders, but the star of the show is about as cute as a spider can get. And you'll want to know what we're about to learn...

On my recent West Virginia foray, we were strolling down a seldom-used lane, when a bright yellow object caught our eye. It was a goldenrod crab spider, Misumena vatia, on top of a post! Not only that, she - it is a girl - was acting extraordinarily goofy. The spider would stilt up as high as she could go on her legs, weave back and forth, jig side to side, and otherwise engage in what appeared to be spider break-dancing.

Click the pic for expansion, and you can see two columns of silk issuing from her spinnerets. This is an important point, as we set about determining what this non-web-making spider is doing.


So fixated was our spider on her task that she even rejected what would seem to me to be a perfectly scrumptious meal. This little caterpillar climbed rapidly up the post and dire…