In this image, it looks like a branch with seed pods hanging off it. The other images were to check on leaf shape, branching, thorns and so forth.
There's a big osage orange behind that has lots of "oranges." This one in front doesn't have any yet, and I noticed seed pods in there. I checked the leaves and branching and trunk bark -- but osage orange doesn't have seed pods.
Finally, it dawned on me, after realizing that the seed pods are the same size, shape and bundling as black locust that maybe a twig of those had fallen into the tree and landed on a branch so that it looked like it was part of the tree.
I went back and sure enough, that's what it was. Now that I know what I'm looking at, it's easier to see that this is not part of this tree.