The first image shows squirrel tracks and the second image depicts canine tracks. Pictured next is the only lycopod that managed to stay above snow. Finally, the last picture shows exactly what my site looks like.
During spring break, I revisited the same location that I went to during Thanksgiving break. This site is in the woods behind my house and is part of a public drinking watershed area. A map showing the exact location can be found in my Thanksgiving post.
I visited this site on Saturday March 18th, a few days after winter storm Stella passed through the Northeast. A few warm sunny days beforehand melted some of the snow therefore but freezing overnight allowed me to walk without sinking. During my visit, I discovered countless squirrel tracks every where. Additionally, I found a set of canine tracks but I was unable to identify the animal that made them. Birds, including black-capped chickadees, blue jays, and red-winged blackbirds could be heard calling in the tree tops. I also saw downy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers and eastern bluebirds flying in the area. In terms of woody plants on my site, the buds seemed to be noticeably larger as if they were beginning to burst. The once visible lycopods were buried under the snow.
Using the biofinder tool, I found several uncommon and rare (S2-S3) plant species in and around my site at Ethan Allen Park. I do not know which species they are but next time I visit I will try to locate and photograph a few. The blue dot is approximately where my phenology site is located and the yellow circles are the general location in which the uncommon/rare plant species can be found.
Not too much has changed since my last visit to Ethan Allen Park. Perhaps the biggest difference is the snow has since melted (Although it has since snowed again). The exposed sandy soil was wet and muddy in a few locations do to the snowmelt and rain. The warmer temperatures also brought more people out to the park for recreation. During my visit, I did not see any new or significant evidence of wildlife other than what I previously noted.
My phenology site at Ethan Allen Park closely resembles a type of natural community called a White Pine Northern Hardwood Forest. An obvious piece of evidence is the abundant number of Eastern White Pine trees located in and around my site. The sandy soil creates ideal conditions for Eastern White Pines to grow. Also, there are several hardwoods including oaks and maples scattered in the woods near my site further suggesting that my phenology site is a White Pine Northern Hardwood Forest. This natural community is listed as S4 by the state of Vermont which means that it is uncommon-common.
The first picture, although not quite clear, appears to be squirrel tracks. I found similar tracks in various locations, not just in my place. The pattern seemed to resemble the likes of a galloper which is a characteristic of the gray squirrel. Gallopers land with their hind feet ahead of their front feet.
The second picture is more clear cut. It can be characterized as a dog because of the claw prints and the measurements most closely matched those of a dog. The print measured close to 4 inches which is about double that of most other “dog-like” animals such as the coyote, gray fox, and red fox.
Since my last visit in December, Ethan Allen Park has changed. The ground is now coated with snow and ice, except under the pine trees. The amount of people using the park for recreation has also decreased from previous visits. During this visit I did not see or hear any birds or other animals such as squirrels. However, I found some tracks that I identified belonging to a dog and what I thought was a squirrel. Some time in the interim between my last two visits, all of the leaves fell off the black locust tree.
Ethan Allen Park has a rich human history. The watch tower in the park was built on Indian Rock and served as a traditional Algonquin lookout. The park was officially opened on Memorial Day, 1905. In the 1920s, Ethan Allen Park was a hotspot for entertainment. Various activities included concerts, picnics, dancing, and partying with bootleg liquor (This was during the Prohibition Era when alcohol was forbidden by the 18th Amendment). In the 1950s, an ice rink was installed as an additional attraction. Since then and throughout its entire history, the park has been a large recreational site where people could utilize the trails, playground, and picnic areas.
Who is Ethan Allen?
Ethan Allen was a prominent Revolutionary War hero who moved to Vermont from Connecticut. Perhaps one of his most famous accomplishments was capturing Fort Ticonderoga with Benedict Arnold without any bloodshed. In September 1775, Allen was captured during an assault in Montreal and he was shipped to England as a prisoner. Returning in 1778, Allen became involved in land disputes, rather than join the war effort again. Vermont had since declared its independence and he hoped to have it admitted as the fourteenth state. Unfortunately, Congress did not support his interests so Allen turned to Canada and requested that Vermont become a new Canadian Province. This was viewed as an act of treason but since the motivation was rooted in the Vermont land disputes, no further action was taken against him. Ethan Allen lived in Burlington for two years, from 1887 to his death in 1889.
Date: December 8
Weather: Bitterly cold, windy, snow flurries
In the past few days, snow accumulated. Unfortunately by the time I was able to get to Ethan Allen Park, most of the snow had melted so I was unable to look for animal tracks. One key difference I noticed was the color of the ground. During previous visits, the ground was littered with brown pine needles. However, during my most recent trip, many of the needles became a pale tan. I also discovered some small patches of grass poking through the needles. Overall, the ground transformed from a blanket of brown to a mosaic of brown, pale tan, and green.
The two juvenile Eastern White Pine trees on my site displayed an interesting pattern. The smooth bark was broken up by periodic bands of splitting. Sap was dripping from the cracks in the bark. A sketch of this pattern is shown below.