2016 tree following 6: It’s in the details
July 10, 2016 by squirrelbasket
Sunshine through oak leaves, July 2016
It’s the height of summer and the pedunculate oak (Quercus Robur) in the middle of Thompson’s Park, Cardiff, is looking remarkably healthy for such an old tree.
Mostly it is one mass of leathery green leaves, so I had to inspect it closely for some time before I found anything to report.
I was eventually pleased to spot a few interesting details as well as taking pictures of the usual “general views”.
The sun was high in the sky so the oak’s shadow forms a small puddle beneath it
As usual the pigeons are on top of the tree…
This one has lovely eyes – feral pigeons are a variation of rock doves (Columba livia domestica)
There is a lot of mildew warping the leaves of oaks I have seen on the riverbank recently, but this oak seems to have escaped apart from one or two leaves…
Some of the leaves seem to be mottled, as if growing thin from within
Dead leaves on a snapped twig
This late in the season there still seem to be a few new red/gold shoots
This one looked interesting…
…and I do so wish this were an insect or grub of some sort – but it’s probably just a very symmetrical blob of bird poo!
Have I noticed this triangular hole in a branch before? Probably
Now this WAS interesting (ignoring the white ring of bird poo) – I suspected it was some sort of strippy gall…
…it’s almost like a bean pod
I think I have found out what it is – perhaps a ram’s horn gall? If so, it is formed by the larvae of the wasp Andricus aries. You may recall that I have already spotted oak marble galls on this tree, created by a related wasp, Andricus kollari.
This mature specimen shows why it’s called a ram’s horn gall – the picture is from the Hawk Conservancy Trust – click on the image to go to the source
Of course I would love to see acorns, but I am not hopeful. I had trouble finding any female flowers earlier in the year and I wouldn’t know a baby acorn if I saw one.
No idea if these are new flower or leaf buds or developing acorns…
…ditto these lumpy bits
The tree’s bark still attracts me – not sure if this is white lichen or pigeon poo
This was the size of a chocolate button but is a rusty old nail – I wonder what notice was pinned to the tree so long ago?
There is little under the tree now it is so dark under there – just a few daisies. But if you get it from the right angle…
Colourful bedding plants beyond the tree – this time last month the bed was bare and being planted
From this direction you can see the branches stretch out over to the left from the trunk on the right, but it’s hard to see against other dark trees behind it
So the oak is keeping up appearances so far, but I wonder what August will bring – it’s usually my least favourite month for tree following as things get a bit tired and messy.
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