I noted in an earlier post that I’ve estimated we have about five old dead trees standing on each of the 80+ acres at Roundrock. This is only an estimate, based on casual ramblings through the forest, and not an actual survey, but I think it’s pretty reliable.
Here is a typical snag standing on the high, level ground near the entrance to Roundrock.
(I seem to have tilted the camera a bit when I took this NW-looking shot. The ground here is actually level. Sorry.)
These old snags are important for the wild things that live at Roundrock. They serve as dens for opposums, raccoons, and squirrells. Some birds will nest in cavities they find or construct in these dead trees. Insects slowly devour the wood. Birds perch on them. These snags are busy, useful places.
Back in the days before the four kids scattered to the four winds, we used to drag them with us on occasional trips to Roundrock. They would come along, reluctant but dutiful. Then they would have a wonderful time dashing about the forest. Building campfires. Cooking weenies and ‘smores. Sometimes I could even get them to do a little work.
On one Thanksgiving Day visit we were hiking the trail to the pond and we approached a snag similar to this one (only a bit smaller). #2 Son (who must have been 17 at the time) ran ahead of us and threw himself against the gray sentinel. To his surprise, it uprooted and fell with a crash to the ground. Then, as all of us watched, a tiny flying squirrel darted out of a hole in the fallen snag and dashed away. (Here is a great photo of a flying squirrel.)
#2 Son was much chagrined by his deed. He had pretty much destroyed the home of a little forest resident. And since this was Thanksgiving Day, winter would be arriving soon.
We never learned the fate of that little critter, but each time we hike the path to the pond, we can see the tree our son took down and remember another family adventure.