Posted: March 20th, 2017 by achris10
I visited my my phenology place for spring break on Thursday, March 16 which was two days after the blizzard that hit most of the north east. This site in Connecticut is very different from my one in burlington, for starters the area is in a lower region of my woods almost like a wet land but is not constantly covered by water, also it is dominated by hardwood trees such as red maples and oaks. Where as my phenology spot in Burlington is on a hill so is more of dry sandy area that is dominated by White Pines. Also the undergrowth is very different, in Connecticut it is almost completely Mountain Laurel, which is extremely dense since they do not lose their leaves in the winter. Where as in Burlington the undergrowth around my phenology spot is mainly saplings and shrubbery like Buckthorn and Honey Suckle. Although, the biggest difference was when I visited my site in Connecticut there was about 2 feet of snow on the ground, and the last time I had visited my phenology spot in burlington there was about 2 centimeters of snow covering the ground. This made a huge impact on tracks, with the deep snow in Connecticut there were very little tracks from mice and smaller animals because the snow was to deep for them to walk on top of, so they were probably moving along tunnels in the subnivean layer of the snow. While in my Burlington phenology spot, with just a dusting of snow I was easily able to see tracks from squirrels and mice.
My phenology spot in Connecticut also has a very interesting natural history. Back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s it was the edge of a mining facility that extracted clay for the making of bricks, this created a big hole in the ground which turned into a pond that I now swim in often. After the mining was done the forest began to grow back, but it was not given long before being logged in the 1970’s, you can still see scraped on the sides of many trees where logs and skidders scraped up against their sides. Now the forest has almost completely recovered filling in the old logging trails and pushing new growth each year.
I also saw and identified a couple of bird while in my Connecticut phenology spot. I saw a Junco pecking at the ground looking for seeds or maybe some other type of food source. In addition I recognized the familiar calling of a chickadee and saw it perched in a nearby tree. There were also quite a few birds that flew over me but I was unable to identify them. The phenological condition of the woody plants that I saw were some of the red maples and other trees had begin to bud, probably due to the warm weather in earlier weeks, but other than that there were no noticeable changes because of large amount of snow covering everything else.
Posted: March 10th, 2017 by achris10
I would classify the natural community of my phenology place as a lowland White Pine forest. It is much like the lowland spruce fir forest talked about in Wetland, Woodland, Wildland, as in it is adjacent to and grading into a wetland, has well drained soil on the upper parts of the knoll but down closer to the wetland there is wetter soil, and there are large boulders and what seems to be signs of past floods on the stream bank where there is a lot of erosion. Also the animals present in this community that I have either seen or seen tracks of are squirrels, mice, and various bird species, much like in a lowland spruce fir forest. The only main difference is that there are no spruce or fir trees in my phenology spot, instead their is a majority of White Pines with some hard woods and shrubs mixed in and about.
Since my last visit to my phenology place in February there have been a few noticeable changes. Due to the warm weather of Wednesday and from the other week there were some newly emerging buds on the surrounding shrubbery, and trees. In addition there were signs of life emerging from the ground, including the curls of ferns, and what seemed like a few blades of new grass. Although with todays snow and the cold weather we are suppose to be having I do not think these early emergers will do so well. When I looked closer at the fresh snow layer I could see faint squirrel tracks, it looked like they had been feeding around the base of the pine trees on the seeds of fallen pine cones. Also with the recent snow melts and rain the stream near my phenology place was flowing quite fast, and had risen about a foot up the bank. The water was carrying a lot of sediment, probably due to it eroding the soft edges of the stream bank as the water levels rose.
After using BioFinder it reveled that my phenology place is bordering a class 2 wetland, and the Highest Priority Surface Water and Riparian Areas. This makes sense because at the base of the hill that my phenology place is on there is a stream flowing into a wetland area. Also I found out that the physical landscape of my phenology place is representative.
Posted: February 6th, 2017 by achris10
Today I revisited my phenology place for the first time since my last posting, and it was a world of difference. When I first arrived at phenology place it seemed to be almost dead compared to the spring and fall when their was life all around. The air was still, cold, and unforgiving there were no leaves on the trees and the grasses and leaves that once covered the ground were now underneath a layer of snow, making it look like a barren tundra. Then as I cleared away an area on top of a log to sit I started to find the beauty that was surrounding me. I herd a variety of birds calling including a few that I recognize like a Junco and Chickadee. Also as I began to look closer at the snow itself and realized that I was surrounded by squirrel tracks, it looked like they had been running around the base of pine trees chasing each other and looking for food. I searched for tracks from different animals but surprisingly I could not find any where my phenology place was. This shocked me since my spot is right by a water source, I thought there would be lots of animals like deer and especially foxes because of the squirrels. Although it had just snowed and was continuing to snow while I was there so there is a very good chances that many tracks could have been covered by the snow. Even the squirrel tracks that seemed to only be a few hours old had a light dusting of snow on top of them. There were also many didciduous trees and shrubs that I noticed like Paper birch, Green Ash, Northern Red Oak, Buck Throne, and Norway Maple.
Paper birch Red Oak
Green Ash Squirrel Tracks
Posted: December 10th, 2016 by achris10
We are now bringing our phenology place blogs to a close for the year and have been asked not just to observe the landscape of our places in the present day this week, but also to divulge into their history. Now I do not know the history of my exact spot in Centennial Woods, but after spending hours in the library and looking at many of the special collections books I have found out that Centennial Woods has a pretty cool history. Going back about 10,000 years the sandy soils of the woods show that it was once part of the champlain sea. In pre-european settlement about up to the the 18th century the wood were used by native americans as hunting grounds, and they even lived in some areas. Then from the mid to late 18th century and into the 19th century the Centennial Woods land area had a few different owners including C. Baxter, H. Stevens, and Hickok, who mainly used it for agricultural land, explaining some of the flatter areas, barbed wire fencing remains, stone walls, and why most of the trees are around the same age. The farm was then abandoned around 1860 and trees like pines, and many hardwoods started to grow in causing centenial woods to now have some of the oldest tree stands in Vermont. Although this is still not considered an old growth forest because it was farm land at one point it is still an amazing area and has some huge trees that you can visit. The land fell into official ownership by the University of Vermont in April 1974, and from then on has been used as an area of research, recreation, and a spot to escape from classes and the overwhelming stress of everyday college life by many students of UVM.
Centennial Woods has given me an experience that you can find in few other places, a feeling of tranquility, a connection to nature, and the history of the land. Being able to go back to the same spot of woods on a consistent bases and watch its changes is something few people get to experience and I feel like it was an escape that has grounded me as a person.
Posted: November 28th, 2016 by achris10
The phenology place that I chose to have over thanksgiving break was in Winsted, CT in my woods. Ecologically and phonologically this place was very similar to my place in Burlington but, there were some slight differences. First lets talk about the similarities, in terms of ecology, my place over break was backed by woods, it over looked a field, and had a major source of water near by in the form of a pond, much like my phenology place in burlington. The differences were found in the types of species that I saw living in the area, while sitting I saw multiple red squirrels running up tress, and on the ground, where as in burlington I have seen many grey squirrels around my phenology spot but have never scene a red squirrel. Also my spot in CT had lots of different kinds of mushrooms and fungus growing on dead logs and at the edge of the field. Where as, at my phenology spot in burlington I have scene only one kind of fungus that looks kind of like an orange slim. In addition at my place over break the dominant types of trees were eastern hemlock and red maple, this created a much more shadowing over story so there is a lot less undergrowth than my phenology place in Burlington which has a dominant tree specie of White Pines. Phonologically my place over break and the last time I visited my phenology place in burlington were practically the same, the leaves had fallen off all of the trees giving it a fall feeling and all the low ground cover had either died back for the winter or had been cover by falling leaves, just like my spot in burlington. I think this is because Connecticut is south of Vermont so is about two or three weeks behind with that changing of seasons and weather, so what my phenology place in burlington looked like three weeks ago is very similar to what my spot in CT looks like now. I think it is amazing that two places can be separated by hundreds of miles and still be so similar yet different at the same time.
Posted: November 7th, 2016 by achris10
Posted: October 24th, 2016 by achris10
The vegetation has changed tremendously since the last time I have visited my phenology place. The leaves on the hardwood trees like maples, have changed color completely and lost most of their leaves. In addition it is much easier to see long distance since most of the bushes and saplings that blocked my sight line have now lost their leaves. I am now able to see all the way across the field that is next to my spot, where as before I was only able to see the very beginning of it. Also on the ground where there was once a large amount of this one type of ground cover plant (I do not know what the specie it was) has now died back and been covered with fallen leaves and needles. It seems my spot is a hub for wildlife, most likely because it is by a stream, a water source for many animals. Today I saw a grey squirrel eating some nuts or berries on a long about 20 feet from me. Also I saw some deer droppings near the bottom of the hill my spot is on top of. There is also what seems to be close to an entire ecosystem in the pine tree I have been leaning against. There are wood shavings/pulp on the ground from bores and other insects burrowing into the tree. Also there are bigger holes in the tree which could be reminisce of a wood pecker nest since I saw one feeding on the tree today. Lastly there were many different bird species in the surrounding woods and some that were just passing through, I could hear there calls and was even able to see a few as they flew by.
Posted: October 17th, 2016 by achris10
My phenology place is on campus in Centennial Woods, it is about 15 minutes away from my dorm, and is relatively easy to get to. You start at the opening of Centennial woods where the sign and the bike rack is, walk down the path until you get to where site two was for the Centennial woods lab assignment. Then instead of continuing down the path you go to the right and there is a somewhat hidden side path that goes down the hill. At the bottom there is a river, go across the river and climb the steep bank on the other side. At the top there is a big pine tree and underneath the tree is my phenology place. I chose this spot because it is a good vantage point to see everything going on around me. It is right next to a river which is a major water source for most wildlife. Also it overlooks a marshy field, which the long grass provides cover and food for animals like deer. Lastly the big pine tree is very comfortable to sit up against for long periods of time, which is helpful when you have to write a phenology blog. The vegetation varies throughout my spot. On top of the knoll and underneath the pine tree it is mainly short shrubs that are not taller than eight feet with some scattered bigger trees, it is some what dense which makes seeing the field a little hard but not impossible. The field consists of cattails, long grasses, and some shrubs. By the stream bed and behind the knoll it is mainly forested with a mixture of older trees, saplings that are only about three years old, and a ground cover of ferns. The Common species of woody plants that are around my spot are, Eastern White Pine, Buckthorne, and Red Maple.
Posted: October 17th, 2016 by achris10
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