What In The Woods is That?

Our biweekly guessing game!

Whatever draws us into the forest—be it birdwatching or logging, hiking or hunting—all of us are unified by the sense of wonder we feel in the outdoors. The forests, fields, and streams of our region are full of mystery, and if you stop and look closely, you’ll see all sorts of oddities.

Below find a picture of one such woodlands curio. Guess what it is and you’ll be eligible to win a Season's Main Events Day Calendar. A prize winner will be drawn at random from all the correct entries. The correct answer, and the winner’s name, will appear when the next column is posted.

This Week’s Entry: Mystery in Maine

Thanks to Anne Huntington for sending along this photo. The picture was taken (in Wayne, Maine) after a heavy rain that was followed by a cold snap. What’s going on with this tree?

Mystery in Maine Image

Answer

The icicle was formed from water that had pooled in a cavity of a tree. The color was caused by tannins that leached from the wood (and other material if the cavity was open to the sky) and accumulated in the water. The heavy rain caused the water to overflow the cavity and run down the tree trunk. An additional clue from the photo: It looks like the icicle is in a slightly rotten seam of the tree, a sign the tree has some internal rot, further supporting the presence of a cavity elsewhere in the tree.

This week’s contest winner was Rita Klaus

Visit the What in the Woods is That? archive…