Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hollow Log

There are several old hollow logs on the woodland floor at Blue Jay Barrens.  This one is a favorite of mine and I stop to visit every time I pass this way.  The bark has long since fallen away and the log is the perfect height for sitting.  The woods down slope is rather open and this is the perfect vantage point for watching birds work through the tree tops.

This tree just happened to fall across the slope on a perfect contour and acts as a trap to catch debris moving down the hill.  The effect has been very noticeable this year with our alternating pattern of drought and heavy rain.  Heavy downpours tend to move down the slope as a solid sheet of water.  That runoff water easily transports the dry leaves.  Without obstructions such as this log, those leaves might exit the woods entirely.  The photo shows a deep collection of leaves on the right side that were caught as they moved downhill.  Ground is bare on the downhill side of the log.

It seems to me that this hollow log would make a perfect home for some animal.  I always expect something to come running out when I sit down.

The inside seems dry and water tight.  I check each time I come by, but spider webs are about the only animal signs I ever see.

A shot without flash shows what appears to be an exit at the other end of the log.  I love using the digital camera to explore where my head and body won’t fit.

When I walk down that way, there is nothing but tree top.  The tree takes a turn before reaching this collection of limbs, so a hole here wouldn’t line up with the trunk anyhow.

I returned to my original vantage point to more carefully examine the scene.  By zooming in on the light, I’m able to see some detail of what I perceived as the exit.  The illumination seems to be coming from above and creating diffused light among the spider webs.

Use of the flash confirms the presence of the webs and shows a water stain left by the rain.  There must be another hole somewhere along the log.

About 30 feet down the log I found this hole complete with spider web.  The web over the opening was dirty and had obviously been there for some time.  Nothing has been entering the log through this hole.  Apparently this log is not a safe place to be hiding.  I guess any small animal possessing my instincts for safe living quarters would be quickly weeded from the gene pool.


  1. Well, I like your hollow log article. Over here in Sweden i will give them credit for leaving some dead majectic trees and logs in their public parks. Oak trees as an example with their tendancy towards heart rot are wonderful wildlife trees even while alive, as a Sycamores, Elms and many others who will lose a strategically located branch way high up only to be hollowed out by rot of woodpecher and later utilized by other cavity nesting birds, racoons, squirrels, bees and the list is endless.

    I hope one day you do find an animal living there and will share the photo with us. Hopefully it won't be a skunk and her kits.


  2. Hi Kevin. A skunk family would make for some cute photos.