1.04.2009

An Acquired Taste

 
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Dr. Treebeard prescribed a walk in the warm sunshine for my cold so yesterday we went for a short jaunt into the swamp across the road from the house. Did I mention that the new house has swamp on three sides? Perfect!

I didn't get many pictures because we were walking west into a fierce winter afternoon sun. Being a bit under the weather, I didn't feel like futzing around with camera settings to compensate. As a result, there are no images of the kinglets, chickadees, white-throated sparrows, red-headed woodpeckers, brown thrashers, cardinals, etc. to share with you this morning. Nor do I have any photos of the swamp stretching out in all directions. All I have to offer is the image of a partially eaten bald cypress cone.

Bald cypress, Taxodium distichum, has to rank as one of my all-time favorite trees. It is beautiful in any season and has a number of intriguing traits. It is a deciduous confier (hence "bald") and produces knobbly knees (true function as yet undetermined) under the proper circumstances. It also produces hard round cones that are tough to open until fully mature. Squirrels, of course, are not deterred by the toughness. They seem to enjoy the challenge. We found quite a few dismantled cones on our walk.

Now wouldn't it be neat if some of those cones had been dismantled by yet another creature who was undaunted by the challenge? Alas, that particular creature, the Carolina Parakeet, is now extinct. What must it have been like to see a flock of those birds working on opening cypress cones? One can only imagine...

11 comments:

Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

*considers snapping and posting a photo of an empty tray from his microwaved frozen lunch found in the Swamp Bloggerific*

swamp4me said...

And pray, tell, what manner of frozen lunch is found in Swamp Bloggerific?

Uncle Bear said...

Miss Swampy, would you please consider laying a pencil, or six inch ruler by the photos you take? Because of my vision, sometimes I need help in figuring out sizes.
Thanks,

Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

Marie Calender's Turkey and Stuffing. MMmmmmmm.

swamp4me said...

Uncle Bear,
The cones are fairly small and almost round. They have a diameter of about an inch - about the same diameter as a quarter.

Bloggy,
Sounds yummy...but did you check the fat content on Marie's treats? Yowza!!

Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

10g of fat, 350 caolories.

Anonymous said...

Swampy- As usual you continue to teach me new things. I didn't know that the Bald Cyperus had a cone. I wonder if the Tamarisk trees in Maine have a cone, I'll have to research that. Hope you feel better soon. Slyvester is running up and down the RV at this moment as we have a cold front moving in and he likes the cooler temps. Teenager cats!
Mainiace

Anonymous said...

Swampy-Long day at the Visitor Center today. I meant to write the Larch trees that Treebeard always wants to look at when visiting Maine. Another of those deciduous conifers.
Maineiac

Marvin said...

I'm glad to see that when no squirrel-proof bird feeders are available for them to circumvent, squirrels can still find challenges in the natural world.

Someone was kind enough to leave a link to a good article on balloons on my blog. You hardly need convincing, but I though maybe you could make use of the information.

BirdGuides

Cathy said...

Hey Swampie!

Happy New Year!

Love your new header!
(new for me - sorry I've been away so long)

Loved your Solstice fire.

Smiled at the quail droppings.

Got wistful over the violet bloom.
( I think it was a violet)

Amazed by snow in November.

Are you the Swampie that shows up at Anthony's blog, Watts Up With That?

swamp4me said...

Bloggy,
Aha! You have found a reasonable Marie's! The last one I checked was a chicken pot pie (childhood favorite) - the label scared me so bad I didn't check any of her other goodies ;)

Maineiac,
Yes, indeed, larches do have cones. They don't look like cypress cones though. Hope things are going well at the Refuge.

Marvin,
Thanks for the link! I'm always looking for more information -- it helps to be well versed when you are fighting something that seems so innocuous to most.

Hey Cathy! Welcome back. Hope 2009 will treat us all better than 2008 did.