[NatureNS] Fw: Spruce Cones; yellowjackets

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From: "David & Alison Webster" <dwebster@glinx.com>
To: <NatureNS@chebucto.ns.ca>
Date: Tue, 6 Oct 2015 20:54:45 -0300
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Dear All Again,                            Oct 6, 2015
    Shortly after I sent the Oct 4 post about Spruce Cones I had second 
thoughts; memories e.g. of a Squirrel running up a large apple tree, running 
out and down a pendant limb to an apple, with stem in its mouth lifting the 
apple just enough to part the abscission layer, running up the limb and 
running down the tree headfirst while carrying a large apple, bouncing 
through the ground cover to some apple storage and then bouncing back to the 
tree for a rerun. And doing this all evening as long as the light lasted; 

    I had been in a hurry on Oct 4 to finish the job at hand (cutting 
in-leaners and low branches, which had begun to drag on the truck, along a 
main woods road) and didn't take time to more than notice the large number 
of cones. So today I walked back to look at a selection of downed cones or 
sprigs of cones.

    In almost all cases of sprigs bearing more than two cones (one unusually 
long sprig had 12 cones) it was obvious, from the clean slanted cut surface, 
that they had been bitten off. Individual cones or short sprigs frequently 
had ragged transverse ends; torn off by wind or beast or bitten off from an 
awkward position.

    Clearly there was Squirrel involvement and there is no good reason to 
assume they were not the main author of the downed cones.

    The recent rains have given rise to a great variety of small fungi. One 
that in particular caught my attention  (have not previously seen anything 
like it) was a stand of evenly spaced Earth Tongues (?), with <1mm diam. 
translucent stipes, ~1 cm long and ending with a small white swollen 
fruiting surface. These were growing on a length of very rotten poplar 
windfall (long free of bark when it fell across the road 3-4 years ago and 
tending to break when lifted at one end).

    Yt, Dave Webster, Kentville

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "David & Alison Webster" <dwebster@glinx.com>
To: <NatureNS@chebucto.ns.ca>
Sent: Sunday, October 04, 2015 8:57 PM
Subject: Spruce Cones; yellowjackets

> Dear All,                                            Oct 4, 2015
>    While at North Alton briefly today I noticed a huge number of Red 
> Spruce cones on the ground. I suspect this is just shedding due to a 
> bumper crop and not harvesting by a squadron of super squirrels.
>    The Yellowjackets who have a nest in the porch finish are still active; 
> even early in the morning with the nest area shaded.
> Yt, Dave Webster, Kentville 

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