Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge Part I Noxubee River

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Larry Tucei
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Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge Part I Noxubee River

Post by Larry Tucei » Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:34 pm

NTS, I went on my annual Hunting trip to Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge after Christmas and stayed till the 4th of January. I measured several trees at the Noxubee River and Oktoc Creek. I brought a Raft with me so I could cross the River at the Trail of Big Trees that I reported on back in 2009.The River level was low so it was difficult to launch the Raft but even harder to get it up the high embankment on the other side. After going upstream a few hundred yards I found an area that I could make it up the embankment. There were many larger trees at this location so away I went. Part one are the trees I measured at and around the Noxubee River with sets of photos from this area. I measured a huge Shurmard Oak with a CBH of 14’ 8” and a height to 139.5’ which becomes the tallest tree I’ve measured in Ms. I measured a couple more Shumard Oaks in this area to heights of 133.5’ CBH- 11’, and 132.5’ CBH-13’ 3.5”. I then walked down River a few hundred yards to measure a Cherry Bark Oak that I have noticed earlier. It had a height to 124.5 and a CBH of 12’ 2”. The next tree I measured was a Mockernut Hickory to a height of 121’ and a CBH of 10’. I then moved eastward a few hundred yards and measured a nice Willow Oak with a height of 116.5’ and a CBH of 11’ 6.5”. On the way back to my Raft which I hope hasn’t fell of the embankment I measured a Tulip with a broken off crown to 114’ and CBH 8’ 4”. I then managed to get my raft off the embankment and headed back down stream where I measured a few more trees were I launched at. I measured a nice Sycamore right on the River a Shellbark Hickory and a Swamp Chestnut Oak near the River. The Sycamore measured to a height of 112.5 and a CBH of 13’ 2”. The Shellbark Hickory was 115.5’ with a CBH of 7’ 3” and the Swamp Chestnut had a height of 116.5’ and a CBH of 10’ 5”. Chinchahoma, Cypress, Jones and Oktoc Creek flow into the Noxubee River from the north and west through most of the western and northern regions of the Refuge. The Creeks and River periodically flood the Forest with a couple of feet of water. The Refuge contains 48,000 acres of mostly Bottomland Forest but also has several thousand acre stands of Loblolly Pine. I measured trees on the northeastern side of the Refuge at the Noxubee River and the southeastern edge at Oktoc Creek. The refuge is full of Wood ducks, Mallards, Geese and other species of Ducks. There are sites of flooded timber set aside for Duck hunting only called Green Timber Reservoirs which are common in National Refuges. The Forest consists of Shumard Oak, White Oak, Cherry bark Oak, Nutall Oak, Willow Oak, Swamp Chestnut Oak, Mockernut Hickory, Shellbark Hickory, Shagbark Hickory, Sycamore, Persimmon, Hercules Club, Cypress, Hop hornbeam, Loblolly Pine, Southern Magnolia and many other species. The Refuge is typical Southern Bottomland Forest with mixed stands of most Oak and some Pine. The western part of the Refuge contains huge hills with the Loblolly pine dominating with mixed Oak and Hickory. The Oak trees and other species growing near and around the River are in the 120-130’ range. The tallest trees are approaching 140’ and I can’t wait till they reach that height. The trees here and throughout the Refuge are in the 85 year old class with the exceptional 100-150 year olds. Only the large Cypress and Tupelo Gum will exceed 150 years maybe some to 500? Larry
Swamp Chestnut Oak
Swamp Chestnut Oak
Shagbark Hickory Leaves
Shagbark Hickory Leaves
Shagbark Hickory Nut
Shagbark Hickory Nut
Shagbark Hickory
Shagbark Hickory
Muscadine Vine
Muscadine Vine
Rafting Downriver
Rafting Downriver
Sycamore
Sycamore
Tulip Tree
Tulip Tree
Willow Oak
Willow Oak
Mockernut Hickory
Mockernut Hickory
Cherrybark Oak
Cherrybark Oak
Cherrybark Oak Crown
Cherrybark Oak Crown
Shumard Oak
Shumard Oak
Shumard Oak
Shumard Oak
Shumard Oak
Shumard Oak
Rafting Upriver
Rafting Upriver
565px-Noxubee-NWR-Map1.jpg
Last edited by Larry Tucei on Tue Nov 18, 2014 5:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Rand
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Re: Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge Part I Noxubee River

Post by Rand » Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:12 am

Nice finds. I wish we had more sites like that in Ohio.

I have one question though. How are you distinguishing shellbark hickory from mockernut? Specifically the picture of leaves you posted looks like Mockernut Hickory. I was looking at this key for reference:

http://www.cas.vanderbilt.edu/bioimages ... kories.htm

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge Part I Noxubee River

Post by Larry Tucei » Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:40 am

Hi Randy- The Bark looked more like Shellbark than Shagbark to me and the nut. The leaves I picked up could have blown in from where ever. I'm no expert but it just resembled a Shellbark more than a Shagbark. The next time I'm in the northern Forest I'll get someone to point out a Shellbark to me. Larry

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dbhguru
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Re: Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge Part I Noxubee River

Post by dbhguru » Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:58 am

Larry,

My hat is off to you. You've really mastered the art of constructing and photographing models. Who'd have guessed that those Larry Tucei dolls in your photos are only 3 inches high. They look so life like.

Seriously, your coverage of Mississippi is becoming ever more impressive. So at this point what is the Rucker Index for Mississippi?

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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Rand
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Re: Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge Part I Noxubee River

Post by Rand » Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:25 pm

Larry Tucei wrote:Hi Randy- The Bark looked more like Shellbark than Shagbark to me and the nut. The leaves I picked up could have blown in from where ever. I'm no expert but it just resembled a Shellbark more than a Shagbark. The next time I'm in the northern Forest I'll get someone to point out a Shellbark to me. Larry
Well, the shellbark hickories I see in NW Ohio have much wider bark scales, and they tend to be a lot shaggier, e.i. they scales hang away from the trunk more. It's the mockernut/pignut/red hickories that I struggle to differentiate. The twigs looked like mockernut to me because of their hairiness, but I could be wrong.

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bbeduhn
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Re: Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge Part I Noxubee River

Post by bbeduhn » Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:45 am

Larry,
Fantastic finds, as usual! I think there may be some issues with species, especially the turkey oak, which grows in poor soils, usually to about 30', 60'+ max. Cherry bark, perhaps? The black oaks have suspect bottoms, more like water or laurel, but the bark does look a bit like black. If they are blacks, they're huge! Also not in their typical habitat.

Mississippi has far more mature bottom lands than we ever expected. What, no 17' sweet gums this time? Keep trudging through the swampland.
Brian

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge Part I Noxubee River

Post by Larry Tucei » Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:08 pm

Brian- You may be right about the Turkey Oak it could be a Cherrybark but what got me it's leaves were still on the tree while all other Oaks had none and they resembled Turkey Oak. I have never seen this so I assmumed it to be a different species. The other tree for sure, not Water Oak or Laurel perhaps Shurmard Oak? It's amazing I'm good at ID-ing trees but still have difficulties. The funny thing is I've been doing it for years and still struggle with some species- Oh Well I'll get there some day. They all look alike at times dang trees if they could just talk I'd know! LOL Larry

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bbeduhn
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Re: Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge Part I Noxubee River

Post by bbeduhn » Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:12 pm

Larry,
Shumard makes more sense. Looking forward to part 2.
Last edited by bbeduhn on Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Rand
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Re: Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge Part I Noxubee River

Post by Rand » Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:23 pm

If I've learned anything hiking with members of this group, is that one's ID accuracy is 100%...so long as there is nobody else around to catch your mistakes.

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Jess Riddle
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Re: Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge Part I Noxubee River

Post by Jess Riddle » Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:08 pm

Larry,

I'm starting to realize how hard the gulf coastal plain has been cut over and how hard it is to find a place like Noxubee. That forest sounds like a really fun place to explore with so many large trees.

I'm also impressed with how many oak species can be found at a single site in the coastal plain. The diversity certainly makes the forests interesting, but it can present a challenge for anyone trying to identify the trees. Looking at your photos, I think cherrybark oak may be a more variable species than you've been giving it credit for. There are a bunch of cherrybark leaves in your first two oak photos, and the bark looks like cherrybark (which is pretty similar to black oak). Shumard generally has very streaky bark, and I agree with Brian, turkey oak is restricted to deep sands in the company of sand post oak and longleaf pine. The color of the fallen leaves can help separate the oaks two. Cherrybark and southern red are dull gray from all the hairs on the underside of the leaves while black and shumard are browner and a little glossy because of the lack of hairs. I wonder if your big hickory isn't a bitternut. The habitat makes much more sense for bitternut, and their bark looks a lot like mockernut but tends to support more moss.

I'm glad Noxubee large, so that we can look forward to more updates from the area. Does Noxubee have the highest Rucker Index in Mississippi?

Rand,

In the south, distinguishing mockernut from pignut and red by the bark isn't too difficult. Mockernut has smoother, more rounded ridges and is lighter in color, so the bark looks more like bitternut than any of the other hickories. Off coarse, if you can reach leaves or fruit, that's still the easier way to go. As far as pignut versus red, good luck. I don't think there's any species pair that gives me more trouble than those two. I tend to see red on richer hardwood sites and pignut on more acidic sites with hemlock.

Jess

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