Thursday, September 23, 2010

Early Fall Feast

I’ve never really kept track of when the walnuts on the Black Walnuts (Juglans nigra) are ripe.

Usually I see this - a pile of shells long after the nuts have been eaten. The walnut shells have cracked fairly cleanly along the seam.

But a week or so ago, noticed a few nuts still encased in their husks on the ground along the Rock Garden Trail (segment 12). Notice that it’s sitting among developing fruit of the Strawberry Bush (Euonymus americanus)?

Then I came upon a few of these along the upper trail back to the parking lot. Starting at one end, ‘someone’ had nibbled most of the husk off the nut and through the end of the nut itself.

An ‘end-on’ view showing the neat cross-section of the nut. There were quite a few of these in a couple of spots along the trail.

One of the suspects. This squirrel was hunting on the ground early that morning.

I’ve never seen anything like this before. Is this an unusual approach to opening walnuts in the wild?

Click on an image to view a larger image

Related posts:

- Dinner for One


Anonymous said...

I've been told that flying squirrels eat the hickory nut that way. I havent taken the time to do a lit search to find out for sure though...

JSK said...

That's interesting. Thanks for the comment.
We do have flying squirrels in our area but I didn't think about them when I saw these. I assumed it was 'regular' squirrels.