April 16th, 2018

I’m assuming this is a red maple twig, and I included a sketch of the odd buds on the side.




Here is one of two woodpecker cavities I found.




Here is the second cavity.




This is a good picture of the buds coming alive on a tree.




The edge can be seen along the Winooski River that I was mentioning in the blog update.




Seeing some green, but not enough for my liking!

April 16th Update

This has been an odd spring season, but it’s not uncommon in Vermont. Most of the Salmon Hole was still in its dormant stage; dull colors surrounded me and there were very few signs of spring. With the latest mixed precipitation, most of the vegetation was covered on the ground, but it was in the process of thawing with the heavy rain we received. The only organisms I could find roaming around the Salmon Hole were squirrels. There were no signs of wildflowers beginning to appear either, but they might have before we received a thick sheet of ice, snow, and slush. There were only small patches of green plants. Within the next couple of weeks when it warms up, we may see this change.

The edge effect at the Salmon Hole can be seen with additional sunlight exposure, wind, and moisture, and changes in temperature and vegetation because it’s right next to a cove in the river. The wind will be enhanced as it comes off of Lake Champlain. It will be cooler, and the vegetation has to be able to withstand sandy soils. The woods are not too thick, since there’s a road on the other side, so I doubt the Salmon Hole provides many, if at all, homes to any forest interior species close to my phenology spot. We may also see an increase in, for example, house cats since the Salmon Hole is not far from the residential part of Burlington. There is a great deal of pressure for animals down at the Salmon Hole, but it may be a good place to stop by for some food.

Below is a sketch of what I assumed to be red maple buds. I have an actual picture of it in the April 16th photos post.


Spring Break Phenology Site – Weathersfield, Vermont

Here is the embedded Google Map of my spring break phenology site, right next to my house.

I had a nice walk through the woods on Friday around noon until 1 o’clock. While I was here, I was knee deep in snow. I don’t have any snowshoes that fit me at home, so I was stuck with walking in my winter boots. We actually recently moved to this location, so it was fun exploring here. There are trails back there that somebody had made, but it was clear that they weren’t used often in the winter from the lack of tracks.

I could hear birds, but I could not find any. I am not good at identifying birds based off of their calls, so I couldn’t be sure what the birds were. I did, however, find a nest in a tree. The picture below shows the nest in the tree.

While I was there, I was also noticing that there would be patches very densely populated by a couple of trees. For example, there were areas where paper birch and American beech trees would absolutely dominate. There would be very few trees of other sorts around. In other areas, hemlocks and pines would dominate, and it was a lot darker in these areas, since the canopy of the evergreens was mostly filled in. I’m assuming some of these areas were logged in the past.

This is the picture where paper birches would dominate.

This was the area that pines and hemlocks dominated. It is much darker here.

Overall, the canopy and the understory seemed very healthy throughout the area I went through. There are a TON of American beech seedlings getting ready to grow.

Here is a picture of an area plastered with American beech seedlings.

While I was here, there were some mammal tracks, but I was unable to identify any. The wind was so harsh that day – it was blowing around 20-25 miles per hour according to the Weather Channel. It also doesn’t help that my elevation was nearly 1,400 feet.

March 5th, 2018

Shown above is what I suspected to be the ice scour.


A beaver was chompin’


And he was still chompin’. This tree had fallen into the river since the last time I was there.


Some trees that came down the river


The ice that was once safe to walk on was completely melted.


There is some sand that was deposited from when the river was high.


The ice jam was completely gone. The river was high and flowing hard.

March 5th Update

Wetland, Woodland, Wildland

I would classify the natural community of the Salmon Hole as a River Cobble Shore. As mentioned by Wetland, Woodland, Wildland, the Salmon Hole is sparsely vegetated. The rock dominates at the Salmon Hole. Where there is less flooding upland, there is more vegetation and a lot of trees compared to the shoreline. Ice scour can be observed down at the Salmon Hole, which can be seen in one of the pictures posted. Gravel, sand, and silt are deposited on the shorelines as well, which can be seen in one of the posted pictures.


Phenological changes 

The river’s ice has all melted, so the river flow is very intense. The massive ice jam has also melted. The ground is beginning to thaw out, so there is a lot of mud on the walking trails. In addition, the river has deposited a lot of sand on the shores of the Salmon Hole, as shown in one of the pictures. We also started to observe animal behavior at our site. We found a squirrel high up in a tree, but we couldn’t get a good picture of it. We also found massive marks in multiple trees from beavers. One tree had actually fallen into a little cove in the river. I expect fish to be coming upstream sometime soon to spawn, including trout, salmon, and sturgeon. There is a sign prohibiting fishing from March 16th to May 31st to protect the spawning waters.



In the river itself, there are many rare species, both animal and plant. I’m not sure what the plant species could be, but I’m assuming the rare animal species is the lake sturgeon. There are some uncommon species along the banks of the river as well. One of the main parts of the river is also considered a Class 2 Wetland. On the very steep ledge near the road, there is a rare upland natural community. The sandy peninsula and the main rock land that you stand on when you get there is considered a uncommon wetland natural community.

February 1st, 2018

Much of the surface is covered in ice, whether you are in the woods, on the rock, or on the water. It is more barren than in December, and the ground is much harder as well. Ice has formed over the water and has created a massive ice jam in some places. It is safe enough to walk on. There is still flowing water in the rapids and in other places farther down the river. There are odd ice formations just above the sandy area in a setback along the river. There are many wildlife tracks, but we could only find a few since we had to beat the sunset. The days are getting longer and longer, and soon enough, the ice will melt. Below, see some pictures from my time down there.




Incredible ice formations in the woods. They remind me of a large patch of mushrooms…





Some of the safe ice to walk on is in towards the right of the picture. There is still flowing water to the left near the rapids though…





Again, some of the safe ice to walk on was in the middle. The ledge, which was filled with green and trees with many leaves still remains barren.





Very large ice dam on the other side of the river

Human History

The following was taken directly from large signs and posters near the hydroelectric facility at the Salmon Hole:

“Archeological finds by the great falls in Winooski show evidence of habitation from the Paleo-Indian period 10,000 years ago, on through the Woodland period, 3000 years ago and up to the time of the European settlement. When the French and up to the time of European settlement. In 1772, Ethan Allen’s youngest brother Ira saw the falls for the first time and wrote ‘this was the place in my heart delighted in.’ He had immediately recognized the falls’ commercial potential. The principal reason Ira Allen decided to build his empire on the Winooski, however, because the great falls could provide the water needed to run the grist mills, sawmills, and textile mills he planned to build. Since the lower Winooski was deeper than it is today, small ships were built at the Salmon Hole at the foot of the great falls; there, too, rafts were loaded with lumber and floated into Lake Champlain on their way to the Quebec market. In 1837-38, the Burlington Woolen Mill Company built a complex of nine buildings, a dam, and a canal on a five-acre site running west from the great falls. In the late 1970s, a group of individuals worked with the Winooski Community Development Corporation to offer public sector incentives to private investors, and revived the two remaining mill buildings on the Winooski side of the river. The Champlain Mill was redeveloped as a mixed-use complex for retail stores, restaurants, and offices. The Colchester Merino Mill was converted into an apartment building. The Winooski One Hydro Electric Project and its adjacent park and fishway complete the renewal of the area, as the great falls on the Onion River continue to generate the clean and renewable energy that water has provided for centuries.”

It seems that the Salmon Hole has not had its shortage of visitors throughout human settlement. Within the past few centuries, humans have used water as a resource to produce energy for the mills, and now it’s produced for electricity. Today, some of those mill buildings have been renovated for other purposes. Lastly, the Salmon Hole is a home to many fishermen during the summer days.

Some last photos for the 2017 year:

Facing Winooski entering the Salmon Hole

Walking trails

Fishing at the Salmon Hole

The dormancy of the leaves

Facing the open area of the Winooski River

Water transport system