Archive for November, 2018


The Chair

Nicknamed “The Chair” by locals, my second phenology location resides off of Wantagh State Parkway behind some backyards in Wantagh, New York. This place is a slightly wooded area with an old drainage ditch resembling a large chair (hence the nickname) as the center. Being that there is a drainage ditch, there is concrete throughout location making for an interesting terrain. One reason I chose this place to compare to my location in Centennial Woods is because of its proximity to a major highway and the fact that it is virtually a part of the backyards in the neighborhood. Being that Centennial Woods is a protected natural area, I speculated there were be vast differences between it and The Chair because the Chair is exposed to the stresses of residing in a modern urbanized society. Additionally, many visitors to The Chair treat it like a trash room. This fact combined with the high amount of concrete in the area makes The Chair a viable location to observe how humans impact their environment.

Beyond the interesting observations that may come from comparing a place such as the Chair to Centennial Woods, I chose The Chair because of its importance to me. Although my friends and I only recently discovered it, the Chair has became a place of comfort and home for us as we spent countless nights hanging out here throughout the past year. We visited here virtually every weekend of senior year in high school and multiple times a week during the summer so I spent the last year observing phenological changes here (although I did not realize it at the time).

Path leading to The Chair.

View from entrance to The Chair.

Concrete lining ground with Wantagh State Parkway in the background.

When comparing the vegetation between my site in Centennial and the Chair there are not many similarities. In terms of composition, the two sites only had Norway Maple and Northern Red Oak  in common. Apart from the Norway Maple and Red Oak, the only other species I was able to identify was a Red Maple as most of the vegetation in the area are shrubs that appear to be invasive. Another difference (that I was very surprised to find seeing as how my Centennial location was relatively desolate of leaf bearing trees) is that a lot of plants have  retained most of their leaves at The Chair. Even more surprising is that many of them still haven’t broken down their chlorophyll, meaning they are still green. Although I found this observation initially surprising, upon reflection it makes sense when accounting for Long Island’s more temperate climate. Additional differences can be drawn when comparing the structure/age of the trees. Most of the trees at the Chair appear to more mature then those in Centennial as they are larger with thicker trunks and denser crowns (this last one being somewhat hard to compare at this stage of the year). Additionally, many of the trees at the Chair have been warped and now grow and various angles while the trees in Centennial generally grow in a typical fashion. The limited space and its location in an urbanized area leads to competition for resources/space, accounting for the strange growing patters at the Chair. Since Centennial Woods is an open forest, the tress have more room to grow and more available resources.

 

During today’s visit to my location in Centennial woods, I noticed a vast amount of changes brought about from the previous week’s daily rain showers. All of the flat ground on the N.W. side of the brook was completely water logged to the point where it reminded me of a bog. Additionally, the rain brought about a number of changes to the brook. The mass amount of precipitation caused the brook to increase in velocity and therefore discharge. Because the velocity increased there was most likely a higher rate of erosion, evidenced by the increased turbidity of the water. Additionally, a root system along the bank of the brook was more uncovered more then ever before.  Interestingly, this was also my first visit where I could not find any Waterstriders gliding across the brook. This is most likely due to the fact that the increased velocity has increased turbulence, causing the typically calm areas where I find them to be rough and choppy.

Area that is typically calm and teeming with watergliders now disrupted from heavy precipitation.

In terms of vegetation, the unidentifiable shrub with pink leaves and red oblong berries has lost most of its leaves and the berries appear as if they are dying. While a few pink leaves remain, they are no longer a vibrant shade of pink but actually more of a mix of pink and yellow. Additionally, many of the trees are almost completely devoid of leaves with exception to the conifers. Interestingly, while some of the Striped Maple in the understory lost their leaves, there is a mature Striped Maple that appears as if it hasn’t lost any. The most striking change from this visit came from the high number of fungi observed. Previously, I spotted mushrooms here and there but on this visit I found 3 definitive examples of fungi all within close proximity of each other and one mysterious substance I believe is a fungus

(11/4/18) Unknown shrub with less leaves and a loss in vibrancy

While I typically see many squirrels throughout Centennial, one encounter on today’s trip was particularly interesting. I was standing on the NW side of the brook when I heard commotion coming from the other side so upon further investigation I saw two squirrels chasing each other. When the squirrel that was being chased noticed me, it crossed the brook, ran within inches from me and then hid by a tree I was standing next to. The other squirrel aimlessly followed it until it noticed me when it was halfway across the brook, at which point he turned and ran. This was interesting to me because I believe the squirrel that hide by me is so desensitized to humans that it realizes humans can be of some advantage.

During this trip I also created an event map, enjoy!

p.s.- I’m sorry for my terrible art skills, I thoroughly tried I am just not good at any type of drawing or art

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