Monday, November 10, 2008


I like the way the grays of fall fade into the background, trees receding into a softness.

I heard, but didn’t see, a raven. I thought I might get some hint of these shaggy corvids, since the rocks are their habitat, but actual contact still made my day. There were also some hawks and turkey vultures, a couple of woodpeckers (downy, hairy), and nuthatches.

This is a gall. A little Cynipid wasp of some kind laid her eggs on, in this case, an oak tree leaf, inducing the tree to produce this structure, which ends up protecting and nourishing the wasp larva within. It’s not known exactly how galls are triggered and produced, but there are many hundreds of them, one for each wasp species. Check out this wild cotton candy-like gall I found in Green-Wood last year. The Cynipidae are tiny things, not at all like the angry stingers you think of when you hear the word “wasp.”

You can see the hole (on the left) where the new wasp emerged from this hybrid, trans-species womb. On one that was more broken open, I could see that the inside looked like a dried sea sponge. I have another gall type I found at Doodletown up at Bear Mountain; it's smaller, smoother, and more round, and inside are tiny threads that radiate outward from the center.


amarilla said...

Are you sure that's not my brain on drugs?

By the way, that is a nice landscape, unusually liquid for an outcrop.

M.Thew said...

Those ancient weathered mountains, once -- before our time -- as tall as the Rockies, are, like little town blues, melting away...