Cook Forest Update   Edward Frank
  May 24, 2004 10:59 PDT 

I made a trip to Cook Forest, PA yesterday. Someone needs to do some
measuring in this amazing place. There are a number of species in the park
that are not included in the Cook Forest Tall Tree List. I decided to
measure a couple of those species to expand the list. I visited the Paved
o measure a some trees found in an abandoned field along the far edge 
of the trail:

Common Apple: 25.26 feet, pole and tape measurement

Hawthorne (sp) - [possibly a pear hawthorn?] - 20.14 feet, pole and tape

Hawthorne Leaf

There are about a half dozen apple trees in this overgrown field and maybe
a dozen or so hawthorns. These are the heights of largest individuals of
each of these species. These may not be the tallest of these species found
in the park, but they are measurements. One of the highlights of the visit
today was the presence of several Red Efts in the field grass. A second
neat thing found along the trail was a series of bracket fungi growing on
some dead trees. Orange and red beetles were crawling all over these
fungi. I haven't identified the beetle species yet.

Beetle on fungi

Assisting with the measurements were Brittany Aljoe, Ron Aljoe, and Sue Aljoe.

Ed Frank

RE: Cook Forest Update   Dale J. Luthringer
  May 24, 2004 11:39 PDT 


Yes, you've scooped me on the apples and hawthorns... shucks. Did you
get a circumference on those species? I think I know where a Carpinus
caroliniana is that isn't on the list either. I can here Colby telling
me to get out there and check out his Amelanchier sp. too. See, I
haven't forgot...

Nice beetle pic. I've been told that beetle is supposed to have some
type of symbiosis with hemlock varnish shelf. I haven't been able to
take the time to look further into it though.


(photo by Ed Frank)

The Varnish Shelf Fungus (Ganoderma tsugae) is found typically on dead
hemlock trees and stumps.  The orange and black beetle (Megalodacne heros) seen here feeds on the fungus - photo by Ed Frank

Re: Cook Forest Update   Edward Frank
  May 25, 2004 05:24 PDT 

A Red Eft is a small orange salamander with spots that is commonly found in
wooded areas in this region of PA. It has a fairly wide distribution
across the eastern US I believe.

Ed Frank

Re: Cook Forest Update- red efts
  May 25, 2004 09:56 PDT 
Red efts have a colorful and interesting life cycle. After being born they
emerge from the water very tiny and still showing their gills. They grow up on
land where their bright orange coloring and red dots warn predators that they
do not taste very good and have the added benefit of helping hikers to avoid
stepping on them which can be very difficult after a rainfall when they come out
from their hiding places in the hundreds. They eventually return to water to
breed and live out the rest of their lives absorbing oxygen through their skin
and occasionally coming to the surface for a gulp of air. At this point they
are known as red spotted newts having traded in their orange coloring for
olive green but retaining the red dots down their backs.

When I worked as a naturalist at a pond site in Vermont I used to watch the
sunset every evening often while swimming or standing in the pond. If I stood
still enough the newts would swim up to me and perch on my feet perhaps for a
better view.