January 11, 2004

Winter Tree & Shrub ID, Tracking, and Winter Exploration

(Photos and report by Walter Muma)

Six people met at the Arboretum of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, in spite of an imminent winter snowstorm. Fortunately for us, it warmed up considerably today, so we had a comfortable ramble through the woods.

One of the highlights was feeding chickadees from our hands!


A Douglas Fir cone. Although not native to our area, it was interesting to have a close-up view of this western tree.

A rather unusual cone.


A Black Walnut twig.

Last year we were unable to say for sure what this tree was. During the summer both Dean and Walter re-visited the tree, and arrived at different identifications for it.

So again this winter we visited the same tree and determined for certain that it was a Black Walnut. The deciding factor was the shape of the bud scar, shown here in this photo.


Sassafras bud and dead leaves.


Later on we headed cross-country

Deer lays. We found about 20 of these altogether.
Daniel in a hollow tree. I hope that's not a tree from Lord of the Rings!


A goldenrod gall, opened up to show the grub inside.

These grubs are edible, and two of the group had a snack!


Deer tracks on ice.

The deer came onto the ice from the bottom left. Note the skid marks. It then walked much more cautiously until it left the ice at the upper right.

We had quite a busy day, as evidenced by the following lists of trees, shrubs, and birds we identified:
Trees identified today:
  • Black cherry
  • Large-toothed Aspen
  • Eastern Cottonwood
  • Black Willow
  • Honey Locust
  • Pin Oak
  • Red Oak
  • White Oak
  • Horsechestnut
  • Ohio Buckeye
  • American Chestnut
  • White Spruce
  • Douglas Fir
  • Eastern Hemlock
  • White Pine
  • Red Pine
  • Eastern White Cedar
  • Tamarack
  • European Larch
  • Yew
  • Sassafras
  • Ginkgo
  • Silver Maple
  • Red Maple
  • Black Maple
  • Sugar Maple
  • Manitoba Maple
  • Pawpaw
  • Bitternut
  • Butternut
  • Black Walnut
  • Shagbark Hickory
  • Hop Hornbeam (Ironwood)
  • White Birch
  • Yellow Birch
  • Kentucky Coffeetree
  • Basswood
  • Tuliptree
  • White Ash
  • Sycamore
  • Beech
  • Hackberry
  • Redbud
Shrubs and woody vines identified today:
  • Beaked Hazelnut
  • Alternate-leaved Dogwood
  • Grey Dogwood
  • Red Osier Dogwood
  • Poison Ivy
  • Common Buckthorn
  • Witch Hazel
  • Red Elderberry
  • Multiflora Rose
  • Mugho Pine
  • Blue Beech
  • New Jersey Tea
  • Speckled Alder
  • Barberry
  • Staghorn Sumac
  • Hawthorn
  • Nannyberry
Birds identified today:
  • Bluebirds!
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Cardinal
  • Crow
  • Chickadees
  • White-breasted nuthatch
  • Goldfinch
  • Robin
  • Canada Geese
Thanks to everyone who came out to make this an enjoyable and educational day!!

To learn more about identifying trees in winter, please see the Ontario Trees website.


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