While the advance into spring has been tentative to say the least, on Wednesday the intervale was showing signs of seasonal change. The area was in a time of transition- the thick slabs of ice left over from winter haven’t completely melted, and the Winooski was swollen with water from spring melt. The riverbank was fairly monochrome, a thick layer of alluvium has covered everything. Above freezing weather has revealed a cluttered yet blank canvas for spring to fill with green.
At first glance, there aren’t many signs of life on the river’s muddy shores…
A closer look shows that the silver maples are in bloom, preparing to put on their leaves and that some new visitors have frequented the shore of the river. The most notable change seemed to be a newfound explosion of birds. Across the stream a flock of Canadian geese gathered, sitting still in the breeze. In a cool and unique moment, a turkey vulture circled overhead, showing a variety of springtime newcomers in the area. Imprints in the mud showed evidence of some smaller avian visitors as well, leaving behind a feather and some seeds along with their tracks. I can only imagine them eagerly awaiting the explosion of new plants that is inevitable in the coming weeks. Aside from the birds, the only other tracks were from humans and their dogs.
The springtime cast of characters:
As best I can tell, the only species present at my phenology place are those that thrive near edges. My place lies at an intersection of agriculture and recreation on the Winooski River, with a cornfield just a few dozen feet away. The Intervale bike path as well as a walking loop abut my place as well, and the combination of heavy human traffic and forest edges doesn’t do well to suit forest interior species. The unique positioning of my location does, however, make it incredibly interesting to observe given the variety of influences on the habitat. I’m excited to see how spring unfolds across the patchwork of agricultural land and floodplain forest.