The photo is of the trunk, with missing chunks of bark, of an old Arizona ash tree in our yard.
A week or so ago Susie, my wife, and I were sitting on the back porch enjoying a cool evening breeze when I noticed chunks of bark missing from a large ash tree in the yard. I remarked about, speculating the tree had taken a lightning hit. Somehow it didn’t look like that to me, but we moved on to discussing something else and I forgot about it.
That evening the dogs and I were out at the office. I was writing and failed to notice the time. It was dark and, having not anticipated staying out past dark, I had no flashlight with me. At this time of the year it’s not wise to walk around shortly after dusk without light since our local copperhead snakes are hunting for emerging June bugs and cicadas. And, yes, copperheads are poisonous. So, rather than taking the direct, about 130 yard dark route through our backyard, I elected to take the lane to the front of the house where an outside light illuminated the path into the house.
Arriving at the yard fence, I opened the gate and the two puppies, Oso and Maya (21 month old German Shepherd siblings) sauntered in. Tally, their mother, however, lagging behind checking for cottontails or something. I stood at the gate and called her. Tally appeared around the corner of the yard and about halfway to the gate suddenly barked upward and the hair on her shoulders bristled. About that time I heard a loud crashing sound above me in a large sycamore tree in front of the house. The puppies also began barking upward at the tree. I could see nothing without a flashlight. I hurried in, retrieved a flashlight, but could see nothing and the dogs calmed down. Whatever it was, it must have had a significant mass to make such a racket. It was a mystery.
The next morning when I stepped out the backdoor to go to the greenhouses, I noticed large chunks of bark missing from a pecan tree in the yard. Upon examination, I found strips of bark missing from both sides of the tree up to about 10 feet just at roof line level. At the base of the tree were the missing strips of bark. I found no claw marks and no hair. It would have taken a fairly heavy animal to tear the chunks of bark off the tree. I then checked the ash tree. Its trunk also had large chunks of bark missing with the chunks laying on the ground at the base of tree. Again, no claw mark and no hair and the missing bark stopped about 10 feet from the ground. I tried to pull off chunks of its bark and could do little damage.
Something large had scarred the ash tree before that evening. Something large had then scarred the pecan tree between evening and morning. Something large had crashed through the sycamore tree the night before. Whatever it was left no hair and no claw marks. Maybe a chupacabra?