Winter Walks 2017 #1

Eurosta solidaginis, the goldenrod gall fly, a tasty treat for vertebrates, made sweeter by the winter cold — sugar is the anti-freeze. Photo by Katie Holmes.

Winter Walks are a tradition of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at Cornell University, started by Professor Peter Marks in the 1970s.  Winter walks grew out of the teaching of Plant Ecology field labs (taught in the fall), as students wanted to continue Friday afternoon outings in the “spring” semester.  So while many animals are dormant, gorges are icy, and trees lack the green noise that can be distracting, faculty and students go out into the woods and share natural history knowledge for a few hours.  On February 3, we had our first walk of the year, with a good turnout, including students from Field Ecology (BioEE 3611) and Peter.  We visited the south side of Monkey Run, which is part of the Cayuga Trail.  It was under 25F, but with some sunshine and a great group!  Here are a few things we saw:

Platanus occidentalis, the American sycamore. Flaky bark reduces vines?
Black ash, in a wet spot next to Fall Creek. Lenticels are abundant low on the trunk.
Sapsucker galleries on a rather large hop hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)
Beaver damage on large big tooth aspen trees, far above Fall Creek
A familiar site on winter walks. How many bud scales on Ostrya vs. Carpinus?
Up close with the fungal gall attacking hickory in the genus Phomopsis.
Fungal (Phomopsis sp.) damage/galls in a hickory canopy
Beech bark disease

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