Friday, January 9, 2015

Newport New Park (1/9/2015)

Yes another picture of the park.  This is one I have been itching to take after I saw it during my walk one day, but did not have my camera with me.  It shows what I would call heartwood.  Heartwood is typically formed in the center of the trunk of a hardwood tree and it the hard stuff you want to make flooring and furniture from.  Obviously this photo shows the old trunk of a tree that was cut.  The soft wood (aka sapwood) near the bark is completely gone (evidenced by the mossy ring), while the heartwood is still there.  It's great evidence of the hardness of this heartwood and its relative resistance to rot.  It really is what keeps the trees up.  Such a neat example.

The tree which was most likely an oak, was growing next to the pond I took the next picture of.  This pond seems to be used for research purpose, since it has white PVC pipes in it, which are probably used to study the water level in the pond.  I tried to hide the pipes when I took this picture.  

The water in the pond is currently about 3 feet deep, and by early spring it will hopefully be 5 to 6 feet deep; and then by summer it will be dry.  The reason for this fluctuation is not the runoff.  The level of the water in these ponds indicate how high the groundwater is.  As I mentioned in previous posts, this is so important for the amphibian in our woods.  A pond that is dry in the summer cannot have any fish, and so there are no fish in these ponds to eat the tadpoles of the frogs and salamanders that live in our area.  Our ponds are the breeding ground of the endangered Mabee salamander.  These gusy will come out on warm days in late February to breed and lay their eggs.  Probably the neatest thing is to hear their mating calls in late February.  The woods in the back really come alive around that time.

You can see the setting sun shining through the trees.  It has been cold these past few days, and the pond is currently frozen.  No problem, it looks like they'll be ready for the salamanders and frogs come late February, early March.

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