Final Phenology Post, Not My Final Visit

My exploration of the Salmon Hole didn’t begin with the start of the phenology blog, and it won’t end just because I’m not required to visit anymore. The Salmon Hole is such a unique place that offers many opportunities for myself including fishing, exploring, or just watching the sunset. While I’ve been here, I’ve observed things that I never would have noticed if we hadn’t learned about it in NR 2. I’ve realized there is much more going on than my activity at the Salmon Hole. Observing animal behavior and phenological changes over time has amazed me and made me appreciate the place more than I would have otherwise. There are amazing things happening in this world, and we, humans, are often oblivious of what’s going on around us.

Since the temperatures have officially warmed up, the water level is at a staggering high. The water is nearly three to four full feet higher than it normally is. We are finally starting to see green life as well; flowers are sprouting and the buds on trees are starting to finally open up as well. We were able to see squirrels, chipmunks, and a woodchuck on the land, and we saw Mallard Ducks, Common Mergansers, gulls in or near the water. We saw mink and otter tracks in the sand near the water as well. Life is beginning to come back to the Salmon Hole.

As for nature and culture intertwining at my place, there is one main connection that has many branches of it. Recreation is heavy at the Salmon Hole, weather it is bird-watching, swimming, fishing, walking/hiking, or enjoying its aesthetics. Although industry is popular, its reliance on the Winooski River near the Salmon Hole is very minimal. However, people in Burlington, Winooski, and the surrounding area are able to get out of the city and go to the Salmon Hole and get a taste of the nature of Vermont. After being at the Salmon Hole for even thirty or forty-five minutes, I sometimes forget that this is just squeezed in between Vermont’s largest city and a large town. However, there is heavy traffic of humans, animals, and fish all interacting in the same place.

I absolutely consider myself a part of my place. Human influence is strong at my place, and I’m here often enough to make an impact. I try to make my footprint light, and I even like to lighten the footprint of others because of their careless nature. I’ve found myself taking trash and fishing line back to my dorm. I also feel a part of my place when I choose to fish. Fishing, in my eyes, is the closest way for me to connect to nature because I’m physically able to hold another live, mobile organism. I’ve chosen to appreciate my place in a different way than others, and I think I deserve to be a part of my place. I feel welcome here.

Here are some pictures of my last visit:

 

Fiddleheads poking out of the ground

 

Mink tracks on the left, otter tracks on the right

 

Mallard Ducks

 

High waters

 

Woodchuck sighting

 

The flowers are beginning to spread like wildfire

 

Someone’s been chomping

 

Another view of the woodchuck

 

More green at the Salmon Hole

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.

 

Biofinder

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