The Grand Finale: May 5th 2018

•May 4, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Red Rocks Park is a beautiful place. It encourages individuals to interact with the natural landscape through a multitude of different ways. To the south of the park, there is the beach area, where people can swim in Lake Champlain. To the West, there are the cliffs, which the park was named after. In the middle, there are walking trails that intertwine with each other allowing visitors to travel wherever they prefer. I believe that Red Rocks has a special place for everyone, regardless of their love of the outdoors. For the older women with her dog, Red Rocks has a home for them. For the young school kids, Red Rocks has a home for them. For the college kids who have to think about their life ahead of them, Red Rocks has a home for them. Any culture could find their unique place here. I know I have.

When I first arrived at UVM, Red Rocks was on my agenda because I had heard such great things about it. However, I never went until we had the first phenology assignment due. That first afternoon, after witnessing the sunset made me realize that I belonged here at UVM. The rocks at the west most point are usually quiet and gives me a spot to think about recent events and sometimes I just listen. The waves crashing along the coast 70 ft. below are a sound that I don’t want to forget. I plan to return here occasionally when I get the chance, and hopefully bring friends who have yet to visit. Hopefully, they might find their special place here too.

April 17th and The Rain

•April 17, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Today’s weather was rainy, but not too cold with a temperature averaging 42ºF. I was actually hoping for rain because it meant that I could try to find the vernal pools that I saw on Biofinder awhile back; however, I’ll save that until later.

One of the most drastic changes that I observed was the water level of Lake Champlain. I approximate at least an extra 3-4 inches. The log in the photo (below) has always had a good 15 ft. from the water’s edge but now it was completely surrounded. As I was walking along the shore, I found the reason. A stream was flowing quite vigorously and I was surprised because I had never actually it flowing before. I guess all the snow melting plus the April showers made the water levels rise and probably flooded in quite a few places in the area. In the same area, the red maple tree (the same one I have been tracking through the whole year) has begun to bud (see below). Hopefully, I can see further budding if I’m able to come back here before the year is over. The edge effect is prominent in Red Rocks whether it’s the beach area and forest or the forest and lake. This definitely promotes forest-dwelling species because of the abundance of forest itself and the resources that it can provide.

I followed the stream attempting to find the vernal pools and subsequently the amphibians that make their homes and breed in the environment. I believe I found some, but couldn’t find any signs of wildlife. However, I came across a dead tree (not sure of the species), and in the trunk was a deep hole that could house birds or small tree-dwelling mammals.

Pictures Top to bottom: Red maple buds, high water levels, possible home, vernal pool, the stream.

March 19th Update

•March 17, 2018 • Leave a Comment

For my spring break phenological spot, I wasn’t quite sure where to go. When I visited my uncle, he suggested the nearby Audubon Greenwich. I’m glad he did because it fits in perfectly with the bird theme for this mid-March update. Similar to other Audubons, this sanctuary helps protect various bird species. Opened in 1943, the main sanctuary, with 285 acres, is comprised of hardwood forests(oak, beech, maple, and hemlock), old fields, lake, streams, and vernal pools.

Within the first 20 minutes of being there, we saw a hawk fly overhead. While I couldn’t clearly identify the bird, I believe that it was most likely a red-tailed hawk. While we were walking, we also saw a goose in the pond(see below). Besides those two birds, there was nothing else really noticeable to observe, except for a turkey track that I stumbled upon. One thing I did see was all the downed branches/trees on and off the trail. I assume that these were due to the recent snow storms that came through the area. However, they looked rather old, so the new room available will enable new growth in the upcoming spring and summer season.

Photos going clockwise: entrance sign of preserve, streams and pools, turkey track, small lake that contains smallmouth bass

 

Audubon Greenwich

•March 17, 2018 • Leave a Comment

March 5th

•March 5, 2018 • Leave a Comment

As said in Wetlands, Woodlands, Wildlands, a natural community is “an interacting assemblage of organisms, their physical environment, and the natural processes that affect them.” Ecological influences plays a huge role in how the community works through climate, interactive contact between species, soils, and hydrology.

After carefully searching WWW, I came across a community that is the picturesque of Red Rocks Park. This would be the natural community of a Limestone Bluff Cedar-Pine forest. These forests are dominated by Northern white cedar and are found in Vermont mainly along the short of Lake Champlain. In addition, these type of communities thrive on the top of limestone or dolomite bluffs and other calcareous bedrock. This was the telltale sign because I remember learning about the type of bedrock on the Shelburne Farms lab last semester. Red pine, white pine and hemlock are also commonly found trees within the community and if you look back at my photos I included some red oak pictures.

Finding Red Rocks Park on Biofinder was easy enough. I simply did the things that we did in lab. Layer wise, I checked the component box and then went box by box under the Community and Species Scale. As I went along, I found the the park has a wide range for vernal pool appearance, so I will definitely need to check that out one spring day. In addition, the park has the honor of being home to both rare and uncommon species.

As I wrap this update up, I will mention some simple observations that stuck out to me since last time I visited. I can see why we were asked to keep an eye out for the hydrology and substrate change. All the snow melting has caused deep ruts in the soil and paths. As a result, the substrate is being washed out into Lake Champlain through these rivets. What does this do? I can imagine that this would cause soil instability and result in more erosion.

February 5th Update

•February 5, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Hello all. I have returned to UVM for the second part of the semester and thus being part of the Rubenstein College, I continue my phenology blog. I have chosen to keep Red Rocks as my spot and I am glad I did. There is a different mood when visiting in the winter than in the summer and visitors witness a new perspective on the trees and location. Specifically talking about the beach area, I found the sand to be covered by untouched snow. Along the edge of the water, there were ice chunks floating in the water(see photo). While walking the paths, I stumbled on dozens upon dozens of dog prints, and mixed in with those–squirrel prints. I could see how they are classified as bounders. In addition, the Northern red oak buds (pictured below) are the same ones I photographed in the fall.

 

Photos: Clockwise: Northern red oak bud, squirrel prints, more squirrel prints, water’s edge, miniature icebergs

  

Bud Drawing:

 

Special Eyewitness: I was walking and came across this astonishing feature by the water. I guess that the crashing waves splashed the nearby trees and then the droplets froze over. I honestly think this looks straight out of a winter wonderland scene.

December 9th-The Finale

•December 7, 2017 • Leave a Comment

It’s the end of my first semester here at the University of Vermont. For the last post before winter break, my assignment was to learn and write about some human history of my phenological spot. I found this PDF prepared by Sophie Mazowita for the City of Burlington back in April 2013. The document is chock full of history about how Red Rocks was established and how human impact affects the land leaving the City of Burlington to come up with efforts to prevent this. It also teaches about the natural land such as geology, soils, and hydrology. While I could literally write an essay about the whole history, I’ll just mention some little things that I found interesting.

The 100 acre land used to belong Edward Hatch, a prominent figure in Burlington around the 1800s. Here lied his private estate that Mr. Hatch used primarily for wood and pasture. Eventually, his family sold the land to Burlington in 1970 and thus began the transformation into a public park. The park was divided into two parts. the western section is the mostly wooded area and thus termed the natural side. The eastern side, including the beach area, is mostly comprised as a public area with picnic tables, walking trail and parking lot. Quite recently, naturalists have raised issues of over human interaction with some sections of the park. This interaction has introduced several invasive species and led to a clear intrusion into the non-pathed section. There is a section in the document about how to manage this issue and how the City of Burlington has tried to correct it. However, there is still much to be said and much to do. If you would like to read more about Red Rocks, I suggest that you visit this link: http://www.sburlrecdept.com/documents/RedRocks.ManagementStudy.pdf

Source:

Mazowita, Sophie. “Red Rocks Park: Working towards a community-based management plan.” April 2013. PDF.

Green Pond Pictures

•November 27, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Green Pond and Red Rocks

•November 27, 2017 • Leave a Comment

The transition between Summer and Winter, there are many changes within the natural world. Us humans are lucky to bear witness to the thing called Fall.

In western Connecticut, there lies a small body of water, Green Pond. In Summer, humans have the control of the area. Lackadaisical beach days make up the entity of the pond, but come Fall, the power changes. The water temperature decreases from a warm 70º to a frigid 45º and no longer do humans come visit. There is only the occasional dog and his owner, who are able to view the bustling chipmunks and squirrels scramble for nuts and berries, storing them in their nests in preparation for the Winter. The birds that have not migrated yet, or will not, remain and those with open ears and eyes can spot these small creatures. Rarely seen without their mate, these little guys supply themselves with seeds to support themselves over the winter. The fallen leaves are the few remaining occupants of the grass, now long and scraggly, ignored and allowed to run wild. The bugs that had previously existed have either died after laying their eggs, or are is the midst of doing so.

250 miles North of Green Pond is Lake Champlain. Along the edge is Red Rocks Park. Like Green Pond, in Summer, there are many human visitors to this area, flocking to catch a glimpse of the dazzling Champlain sunset. But in Fall, there are few newcomers to this area. Dogs are commonly seen, sniffing out the squirrels and other rodents that hide underneath the dense leaf cover. High above, hawks dance above scouting out nesting spots and prey, with their mile-far eyesight. On the water, bass boats line the shoreline until the end of the season. The changing water temperature creates a new environment for the many species that live within the deep water. Many have experienced this change before, but there are also many that have not and must learn from other organisms how to survive.

Each place has their own signature thing that distinguishes from another, but they are very alike. Lake Champlain and Green Pond, only a fraction of the many ecological places that are here on Earth.

 

Green Pond

•November 25, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Whoosh. The slight breeze from the South glides over the open water. The autumn leaves bristle; disturbed from their short term resting place. A pair of songbirds dance with one another, as they cross the pond. Underneath them, hidden from all but the most watchful eyes, lie bass and other fish. These aquatic creatures can be seen for a second when they lunge from the water to grab a bite to eat. The food they feast on comes in the form of small bugs that swarm and hover over both land and water. Though numerous, these small beings are quickly brushed aside when the breeze comes back. They are relentless buggers; when the breeze vanishes, they come back as quickly as they left. High above, the clouds pass across the baby blue sky. For up here, time is forever, the clouds go wherever the wind takes them. Quite contradictory, small biplanes that share the air go wherever they please, untethered to a will of another. This is the way Green Pond works. Everyone and everything interacts with each other–the fish and the bugs, the wind and bugs, and the clouds and planes.

But this is only Fall. There are still three more seasons to be witnessed.

Winter is coming.

 
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