Tuesday, January 31, 2012

April 2011 Journal

January 31 and it is 55 degrees... it sure feels like this stuff is right around the corner.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Hickory Nuts

I have taken some time over the last two winters to pick up hickory nuts and do some illustrations, here they are.  I know that these would be much more valuable if I were able to add scale to the images, but at this time I am not.

Bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis) these small nuts are about 2-4 cm tall with a thin husk. Notice in the top right image the sutures are slightly winged - most of the other hickory species have smooth sutures.  Pecan (Carya illinoensis) has winged sutures - I have not sketched pecan yet...

Pignut hickory (Carya glabra) these nuts are slightly larger (3-4.5 cm) than bitternut hickory and have a distinctive pear-shape.  The actual nut surface is smoother and less angled than bitternut hickory and shagbark hickory. Pignut hickory and sweet pignut hickory (Carya ovalis) are difficult to tell apart, however the most often described difference is in the mature fruit.  The difference: the husks of pignut do not split all the way to the base of the fruit however occasionally they will along 1 of 4 sutures, sweet pignut husks split all the way to the base along all sutures when mature (see below)

Fruit of sweet pignut hickory (Carya ovalis) similar shape and size as pignut but with sutures splitting all the way to the base of the fruit.

Shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) fruits are about 3-5 cm in length they are oval to round and do not have a distinct pear shape.  The husk is very thick (3-12 mmm) and freely splits all the way to the base.  The actual nut is strongly angled.  The insides are tasty.

Last but not least is shellbark hickory (Carya laciniosa) often times called kingnut hickory the fruit of this beast are 5-9 cm in size.  The husk of the fruit is also very thick 8-12 mm.  Also very tasty on the inside.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Coffee Stain

Black and white warbler head with a coffee stain eye ring

Friday, January 27, 2012

Lower Lake

I finally got my scanner working again hence the recent flurry of activity on here. I scanned in some of my favorite pages from my field journal and will try and post them along with the more common and more formal sketches. Here are the pages from a few warm days last April, we spent a few hours each day walking the trails at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes and around Lower Lake.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Eastern Bluebird

A handsome eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis) on staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina). Colored pencil and acrylic, roughly 9"X6".

Terminal Buds of Four Hickories

A look just at the terminal buds of four different native hickories: Clockwise from top left - shagbark hickory (C. ovata), bitternut hickory (C. cordiformis), pignut hickory (C. glabra) and mockernut hickory (C. alba). Colored pencil.

Hickory Twigs

Pignut hickory (Carya glabra) here are two different winter twigs. You may notice that I originally labeled the top one as sweet pignut hickory (C. ovalis) a very similar species, so similar that many consider them the same tree. If you want to see what the twig of C. ovalis looks like look at the pictures above because it is almost identical. There is supposedly a difference between the fruits of the two species - I will post sketches of those differences soon.

Mockernut hickory (C. alba) is one of my all time favorite trees. I dont know why they changed the name of this tree from Carya tomentosa to Carya alba; tomentosa was much more fitting as everything about this tree is tometose. The leaves, twigs, buds, leaf rachis are all as furry as can be.

Shellbark hickory (Carya laciniosa) often holds its leaf rachises well into the winter, this sketch still needs some lenticels added to the twig to finish it up, but you get the idea. Another common name for this hickory is kingnut hickory and you would know why if you saw one of the baseball sized fruits. All done in colored pencil.

Bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis) unmistakable yellow terminal buds

Friday, January 6, 2012

Various Twigs

Above is the twig and leaf scars of blue ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata)

Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida)  showing leaf buds and a flowering bud (turban-like)

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) twig is one of the few species having noticeably green twigs.

Sweet gum

A corky-winged twig of sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)

And a sketch of the famous "gum ball" fruit