Who Am I?

In October, my blossoms looked like yellow spiders and the seed pods, which took a whole year to develop, were tight closed:


By December, the long spidery legs of the flowers are gone:

December Blossom

The seed pods are starting to dry and will soon release their seeds:

December Seed Pods

By March, the seeds have been released… ejected in fact… sometimes as far as 15 feet from the tree on which they grew:

March Seed Pods

Who am I?

Continue reading

Perfect Christmas Snow

There was a perfect, gentle, still, Christmas snow today when I took the dog for a romp in the woods.  The surface under my feet was uneven, slippery in spots… I had to go slow… But the air was just cold enough and the fluffly, slowly-falling snow was a delight.

Winter Woods

There was no sunlight to give the snow sparkle.  But I managed to find a bit of color here and there… mostly the earthy tones.


Yesterday’s thaw and rain made the creek run fast and the sound of it gurgling was relaxing.

The snow was littered with plenty of twigs, branches, and leaves as a result of yesterday’s wind.

Oak Leaves

Merry Christmas, Everyone!


Did you ever think about the word pitch?  When I was surfing around to learn more about gummosis, I ran across a phrase that made me wonder about the etymology of pitch.

Whoa… let’s back up…  Gummosis.  Last winter, I found this Black Cherry that was covered with goo.  There was also a little critter stuck in the goo… but that’s a story for another time:

Cherry Goo  Visitors to Cherry Goo

 I threw the pictures up on Flickr and got some responses that must have satisfied my curiosity I guess… because I forgot all about it.

Until recently when I saw this goo on a cherry tree…  again.  Amazingly, I remembered the word “gummosis” and looked it up:

Gummosis is a general, nonspecific condition of stone fruits (peach, nectarine, plum and cherry) in which gum is exuded and deposited on the bark of trees. Gum is produced in response to any type of wound, regardless of whether it is due to insects, mechanical injury or disease. (source)

You can imagine that fruit growers will be on the lookout for this symptom indicating that something is attacking their trees!  In the case of Black Cherry, it is the timber folks who are concerned as gummosis can reduce the value of the harvest by as much as 90% (source).

Gummosis on Black Cherry

In the case of this most recent discovery of gummosis, it was on the same cherry tree as the Black Knot I wrote about previously.  So in this case, it is a fungus causing the tree to produce the pitch…

Oh yeah, pitch!  Let’s get back to the word pitch…  In one of the sources I read (which I can no longer find, of course) the author suggested that the tree produces the gum in an effort to pitch out the intruder.  Pitch to pitch out the intruder…  That’s when I started thinking about the word…

Black Cherry with GummosisIt’s a noun… it’s a verb…  It is used in lots of totally unrelated ways…  Before you check out the following websites all about the word “pitch”, you could play this party game:  See who can come up with the most uses of the word!

Some words are just so good that you just have to use them for lots of purposes…

Why My Daughter is Upset

School Closings:

Akron Central Schools
Albion Central Schools
Alden Central Schools
Alexander Central Schools
Alfred-Almond School District
Allegany-Limestone Central
Aloma D. Johnson Charter School
Amherst Central Schools
Amherst Christian Academy
Andover Central Schools
Attica Central Schools
Aurora Waldorf School
Autistic Services School Program
Barker Central Schools
Batavia City Schools
Belfast Central Schools
Bemus Point Central Schools
Bethel Head Start, Bowmansville
Bethel Head Start, Buffalo
Bethel Head Start, Harlem Road
Bethel Head Start, St. James
Bflo. Academy of Science Charter School
Bishop Timon/St. Jude School
Blossom Garden Friend School
BOCES, Carrier Center
BOCES, Hewes Center
BOCES, Lo Guidice Center
BOCES, Ormsby Center
Bornhava Preschool
Brocton Central Schools
Buffalo Academy of Sacred Heart
Buffalo Catholic Elementary Schools
Buffalo Public Schools
Buffalo Seminary
Buffalo United Charter School
Byron Bergen Central Schools
Canisius High School
Cantalician Center, Amherst
Cantalician Center, Buffalo
Cardinal O’Hara High School
Carousel Nursery School
Casa Dei Bambini Montessori School
Cassadaga Valley Schools
Central Baptist Christian School
Charles Finney High School
Charter School of Applied Technology
Chautauqua Lake Central Schools
CHC Learning Center
Cheektowaga Central
Cheektowaga Sloan School District
Child Pro at Blasdell
Child Pro at Monarch Academy
Child Pro at St. Hyacinth’s
Children’s Day Out Day Care
Christ the King School
Christian Central Academy
Clarence Central Schools
Cleveland Hill Central Schools
Clymer Central
Community Charter School
Corner House Nursery School
Coudersport Area School District
Cuba Rushford Schools
Dansville Central Schools
Dayspring Christian Academy
Depew Public Schools
DeSales Catholic School
Dunkirk City Schools
East Aurora Union Free Schools
Eastern Hills Preschool
Eden Central Schools
Eden Co-Op Nursery
Elba Central Schools
Elmwood Village Charter School
Elmwood-Franklin School
Enterprise Charter School
Erie 1 BOCES, Harkness Center
Erie 1 BOCES, Ken-Ton Center
Erie 1 BOCES, Potter Center
Falconer Central Schools
Fillmore Central Schools
Forestville Central Schools
Franklinville Central Schools
Fredonia ABCD
Fredonia Central Schools
Frewsburg Central Schools
Friendship Central Schools
Frontier Central Schools
Galeton Area School District
Genesee Valley Central
Global Concepts Charter School
Gowanda Central Schools
Grace Nurseryland Day Care
Grand Island Central Schools
Hamburg Central Schools
Head Start, Delevan
Head Start, Holy Cross Center
Heritage Education Program, All Sites
Hinsdale Central Schools
Holland Central Schools
Holley Central Schools
Holy Angels Academy
Holy Cross Head Start, Akron
Holy Cross Head Start, Central Center
Holy Cross Head Start, NW Center
Holy Cross Head Start, Sheridan-Parkside
Holy Ghost Lutheran School
Immaculata Academy
Iroquois Central Schools
Jelly Roll Junction
Kadimah School
Kenmore-Tonawanda Schools
Kids Capital Child Care
Kids N Play
King Center Charter School
Lackawanna City Schools
Lake Shore Central Schools
Lancaster Central Schools
LeRoy Central Schools
Letchworth Central Schools
Little Brown’s Daycare
Lockport City Schools
Lyndonville Central Schools
Marjon School of Beauty
Mary Queen of Angels School
Maryvale Schools
Medina Central Schools
Moppets Nursery School
Mount Mercy Academy
Mt. St. Joseph Academy
Mt. St. Mary’s Academy
Nanny’s Nook Daycare
Nardin Academy
New Creation Fellowship Academy
New Life Christian School
Newfane ABCD
Newfane Central Schools
Niagara Catholic High School
Niagara Charter School
Niagara Children ETC/Lockport Rd Site
Niagara Co. Headstart, Inc., All Sites
Niagara Falls City Schools
Niagara Wheatfield
Nichols School
North Collins Central Schools
North Tonawanda Catholic School
North Tonawanda Schools
Northern Chautauqua Catholic School
Notre Dame Academy: South Buffalo
Notre Dame High School
Oakfield-Alabama Central Schools
Old Time Baptist Academy
Olean Head Start
Oracle Charter School
Orchard Park Central
Otto-Eldred School District
Our Lady of Black Rock
Page 1 Preschool, East Amherst
Page 1 Preschool, West Seneca
Panama Central Schools
Park School
Pavilion Central Schools
Peace of Mind Quality Childcare Center
Pembroke Central Schools
Perry Central Schools
Pine Valley Central Schools
Pinnacle Charter School
Pioneer Central Schools
Pixie Village Preschool
Playpen Day Care
Prayer & Praise Academy
Pre-School Learning Ctr.-Springville
Prince of Peace School, Niagara Falls
Queen of Heaven School
Raggedy Ann & Andy Day Care
Refuge Temple Academy
Ripley Central Schools
Royalton Hartland Central Schools
Rumper Room Day Care
Scio Central Schools
Sherman Central Schools
Silver Creek Central Schools
South Buffalo Charter School
Southeast Work Center
Southtowns Catholic School
Southwestern Central Schools
Springville-Griffith Schools
SS. Columba-Brigid Montessori School
St. Aloysius, Springville
St. Amelia’s School
St. Andrew’s School, Kenmore
St. Christopher’s School
St. Dominic Savio Middle School
St. Francis High School
St. Francis of Assisi, Tonawanda
St. Gregory the Great School
St. John Christian Academy
St. John Lutheran School
St. John the Baptist School
St. Joseph School, Gowanda
St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute
St. Leo the Great School
St. Mary of the Lake
St. Mary’s High School, Lancaster
St. Mary’s School for the Deaf
St. Matthew Christian Day School
St. Paul Lutheran Pre-School
St. Peter & Paul School, Hamburg
St. Peter & Paul School, Williamsville
St. Peter Lutheran, Northridge
Stanley Falk School
Stella Niagara
Summit Academy, All Sites
Sweet Home Central Schools
Tapestry Charter School, K-8
Tapestry High School
Temple Beth Zion Preschool
Tonawanda City Schools
Trinity Lutheran School
Visually Impaired Preschool
Warsaw Central Schools
Warsaw Head Start
Wellsville Central Schools
West Seneca Central Schools
West Seneca Christian
Westfield Central School District
Westminster Comm. Charter School
Williamsville Central Schools
Wilson Central Schools
WNY Maritime Charter School
Wyoming Central Schools

Her school is not on the list…

radar 2008-12-19

Maybe they’ll close early???


Ryan Exline was killed in an auto accident yesterday.  I can’t even begin to describe how I feel.  Ryan has been a big part of Audubon for a long time…

Ryan - Eagle Keeper

Camp Counselor

Snake, northern water with bloody hand
Herp Nerd

Ryan attended home school programs with his family when he was in high school.  He became our youngest Eaglekeeper before he was technically old enough to perform such duties.  However, because of his maturity and responsibility, the Eagle team had no problem letting him start early.  He was the 2004 recipient of our Audubon scholarship which he used to attend a herpetology camp in Vermont.  When he returned, he was instrumental in setting up some of our herp programs for teens.

Ryan, I cannot even believe you are gone…  You will be missed by all…

Here is the full Obituary from the Warren Times Observer:

RyanRyan Paul Exline, 22, of 4945 Rte 957, Russell, PA, died on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident.

Ryan was born November 26, 1986, in Canton, Ohio, the son of James and Robyn (Hemsley) Samuelson, Russell. Ryan was a graduate of the Pennsylvania Homeschooling program and was a graduate student at Duke University, studying for a Conservation Degree. While at college he worked parttime in the Duke University Lab.

Ryan was a member of the Wiltsie Community Church and was formerly involved with the Busti Church of God youth group. He was a member of the Jamestown Audubon Society and enjoyed wildlife and skiing.

In addition to his parents, he is survived by two sisters, Aubree Rinderle and her husband, Greg, Pittsburgh and Alyssa Samuelson, at home; four brothers, Jarod Samuelson and his wife, Kari, Portland, Ore., Joshua Samuelson and his wife, Christy, Erie, and Jacob and Jonah Samuelson, both at home; maternal grandparents, Bill and Betty Hemsley, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio; five nieces, one nephew, and several cousins.

He was preceded in death by paternal grandparents, David and Dorothy Titus; and paternal grandfather, Milton Samuelson.

Friends will be received at the Wiltsie Community Church, 65 Swede Hill Road, Russell, on Saturday, December 20, 2008 for two hours prior to a memorial service to be held there at 4 p.m., with Rev. Todd Venman, pastor, officiating.

Memorial contributions may be made to Wiltsie Community Church Building Fund, 65 Swede Hill Rd., Russell, PA 16345 or Jamestown Audubon Society, 1600 Riverside Road, Jamestown, NY 14701.

Creative Slump

Our photo club assignments for January and February are snow and barns.  I went out for a short walk Saturday with my camera, hoping to be inspired by something I saw…  But I just kept thinking… I already have lots of shots of snow and a few of a barn that I already like… Maybe I could cheat and use those…

That’s not the point of the assignment!  The point is to take new shots between meeting times – to force ourselves to try new things…  I must have been in too foul a mood to find new angles, ideas…

New “snow” shot:
White Spruce 2

Old “snow” shot:
Breaking Trail

New “barn” shot:
Boat Barn

Old “barn” shot:
Old Barn 4

I just like my older stuff better…  Guess I better get out there again and try something different…


I finally managed to get over to the Roger Tory Peterson Institute to see some of Julie Zickefoose’s paintings and sketches.  My daughter Emily and I went.  Emily is a big fan of Julie’s dog, Chet Baker.

One painting in particular was fun to see because of a series of 4 posts Julie had put up on her blog about the process of painting it.

Eastern Phoebe by Julie Zickefoose

I wanted to put links to each post here, but I found it hard to do…  This link will get you to the first three:


And this is the final of the four posts:


(I don’t want to say anything bad about other blogging platforms, but permit to say that I really like WordPress!)

It was also very fun to see Julie’s first watercolor made at age 12, and her first bird painting made for her grandma at age 16.

The exhibit is at RTPI through January 31, 2009.  Don’t miss it.  It’s called “Letters from Eden” – same as the title of her new book, which is also on sale at RTPI.

Striped Maple

While hiking at Allegany State Park over the weekend, a gorgeous color kept drawing my eye.  I’m used to seeing browns in the winter woods, but usually it is beech leaves, stubbornly clinging sometimes till spring.  This color was richer, though… deeper… and with a more golden tinge.

Striped Maple Samaras
This photo does not do justice to the color I saw…

Samara.  I like that word.  According to thefreedictionary.com, samara is defined as follows:

sam·a·ra (smr-, s-mâr, -mär)

n. A dry, indehiscent, winged, often one-seeded fruit, as of the ash, elm, or maple. Also called key fruit.

And, because inquiring minds like to know, indehiscent means:

in·de·his·cent (nd-hsnt)

adj. Botany
Not splitting open at maturity: indehiscent fruit
These were definitely samaras – very maple-like.  When I got closer to see exactly whose seeds they were, a quick glance at the bark told me:  Striped Maple (Acer pensylvanicum).  The bark is smooth with green and white stripes, giving the tree its name.

Striped Maple Bark

Striped Maple Range MapStriped Maple is an understory tree that doesn’t usually get very big – maybe only 40 feet or so.  It likes moist, upland soil.  I don’t think we have any here at Audubon, but there are plenty of them in the Park.

It’s mostly an eastern tree, as you can see from the USDA Plant Database map.  Another map I saw somewhere once and now can’t find shows it mostly in the upper elevations of the states that are green on this map.

Here’s what it would have looked like last spring (thanks to Monarch!)
Striped Maple in bloom by Tom LeBlanc

From that leaf shape, you can see why some people call it Goose Maple – the leaves looking like gigantic goose footprints.  Some call it Moosewood, presumably because in areas that have moose it is a favorite food?  (And speaking of food, there is a restaurant in Ithaca, NY with that name that serves the most delicious foods!  I try to eat there every time I’m in Ithaca and have several of their cookbooks… but I digress…)

My favorite name for this tree hints at a very interesting use for the soft leaves:  Charmin of the Woods.  I’ve never put it to that use myself.  Have you?