Final Phenology

Although spring is still on its way, there was not that much phenological change in Centennial Woods this week. The area seemed a bit greener since the last time I went and there is definitely more ground vegetation, but the trees are not in full bloom yet and there is still no wildflowers out yet. I noticed a couple spots with some fiddleheads growing in and I noticed that the river was definitely rushing a lot more than last week after the heavy rains.

I think that nature and culture intertwine with each other in my place because my spot is an area where a lot of people and animals visit all the time. It is a place that people go to get away from the urban life in Burlington and spend some time in nature. Visiting this place really makes you feel at peace with nature and just hiking through can give you a sense of culture in this area.

Through this process of visiting and observing my place, I have become a part of my place because I now understand the inner workings of it. I know what plants and animals live here and how the forest functions. I now understand how this area grows and lives and how it changes throughout the seasons. Watching the changes of my area have made me feel that I comprehend my place and feel like I am part of it. This has caused me to believe that I have not just been coming to this place as an outsider to watch it change phonologically, but I have been observing it in a different mindset because I am a part of it.

Spring has Sprung in Centennial Woods

This was the first time I had been back to my spot since the snow had melted and it seemed like a totally new place. The grass was just getting green and the stream was rushing after the heavy rain. No wildflowers have begun to grow in this area yet, but I did notice some fiddleheads and dandelion leaves that have begun to grow on the forest floor again. There were some small shrubs such as barberry that were beginning to turn colors and bloom once again. Although most of the trees were just beginning to bud, I did notice one tree that was blooming with small red flowers. Based on the shape of the flowers, I determined this tree to be a Silver Maple.

As the season continues, I am sure that a lot more trees and wildflowers will begin to bloom, but for now there are only a select few plants that have begun to transition into their spring appearance. However, based on the appearance of the ferns and all the buds, the forest should be in full bloom soon.

Drawing of flowering tree and bud:

Phenology at Duke Estates

When I was home for spring break, I went to a wetland conservation area called Duke Farms that used to be a privately owned estate and is now transformed into a conserved natural area. The natural history of this place is that it was originally a great estate for the Duke family, but once the owner passed, she decided to leave the land to be a wilderness area for the natural species residing here. While I was there, I noticed that there were a lot of Northern Red Oaks and Red Maples in this area which are two common species in my phenology area in Centennial Woods, however, the most common tree species in the estate was large Sycamore trees. Even though I noticed a lot of common tree species between the two areas, my place in Burlington has a lot more pine trees than the Duke estates.

When I was at my phenology spot last time, I heard what I believed to be a thrush but other than that there was no evidence of any bird life. However, at the Duke farms there was a lot of bird life, as well as some squirrels and field mice. I saw robins, bluejays, and even a red headed woodpecker that was carving a hole into a snag. I also saw a group of wild turkeys in the woods and ducks pairing up with a mate in the lake. There was a lot more wildlife here than in Centennial Woods, which is probably because it is becoming spring a lot earlier here. Hopefully, spring will come to Centennial Woods as well and there will be a lot more birds and animals present next time.

Woodland Community in Centennial Woods

Centennial Woods Site

A. According to Wetlands, Woodlands, and Wildlands, my area is a woodland area in the Champlain Valley. A woodland area is a forested area that provides habitat for numerous species of plants and animals alike. The soils of the Champlain Valley are usually either clay or sandy-soiled and the region doesn’t get as much precipitation as the rest of the state, which is why it is a great habitat for a wide variety of different animals and plant species. Despite the deforestation of this area, which led to changes in this natural community, we still see lots of species that are typically native to this area such as silver maple, red maple, white oak, beech, and hemlock. All of these tree species and more are present in my area of Centennial Woods. I think that this area can be best expressed as a “Silver Maple-Ostrich Fern Forest” which is listed as one of the common natural communities in this area of Vermont. Because of the abundance of Silver Maples in this area, I would definitely classify it as a Silver Maple forest because of, despite the many different kinds of trees in this area, including a lot of pines.

A woodland area is also a diverse community for animals, and I have seen evidence of many different species at my sight . While I was at my spot, I noticed a trail of red fox tracks on the frozen part of the stream that runs through my spot, in addition to the hare and deer tracks that I saw last time I visited. I also heard a lot of bird calls, whereas last time, it was very silent at my spot.

B. I think that my spot was much more lively this time because it is now March and is becoming spring soon, and the birds are aware of this. Last time I visited, it was very cold and there were not animals around or birds out at all but this time I could hear the calls of several warblers, I believe. This is one phenological change that I noticed at my spot this weekend and I know that as the snow coverage continues to grow thinner, there will be a lot of significant changes to this landscape. In addition, I noticed that the small stream running through the area was frozen solid last time, however, now the ice is very thin and it is beginning to thaw in many areas. With the amount of precipitation and snow melt, there will probably be a lot of sediment runoff as we enter more into spring and the outside world begins to thaw. Because I did not visit this spot in the fall, I am not sure now it changed when Winter began, however, I am eager to see how this woodland area will evolve as it begins to warm up.

Animal Life at Centennial Woods

 

Coming back from winter break, I wanted to change my spot to some place different from the spot I had down by the waterfront. I ended up choosing a spot near the stream in centennial woods, which had a more diverse range of animal life than down on the shoreline. To get to my spot, you enter centennial woods from campus and follow the trail until you get to a small bridge that goes over the stream.

Tracks:

    

When I began looking around, I was surprised to see so much animal life, despite the frigid temperatures that we’d been having. I found several different tracks that I believe to be deer tracks due to the length of the stride and the oval shape of the tracks. Most of the tracks had been covered with a thin layer of snow so it was hard to see the actual imprint and use that to determine the type of animal. I also found some fresh dog prints, most likely from someone taking their dog for a hike. Most of the tracks that I found were diagonal tracks from both the deer and dogs, however I found some very interesting tracks that looked like that of a galloper. Based on the size of the tracks and the style of the jumps, it seems to be a snowshoe hare.

Galloper Tracks:

Besides the prominant Eastern White Pines that surround the area, there are a lot of native deciduous trees at my site. One specific tree that I noticed because of its bark and the buds was the Boxelder, which seemed to be a very prominent tree in this area. In addition, I noticed the bud of a sugar maple and an American Beech as well. Also, there were several northern white oaks which I identified by the couple of dead leaves that still hung on the tree.

Buds:

  

Bud Drawing:

Overall, this section of the woods has a lot of different animals and plants dwelling here and I am excited to see it progress as the weather begins to get a bit warmer.

My Phenology Spot:

Human History of the Shoreline

  

Down near the waterfront, this landscape has been interacting with people for decades and is an important part of downtown Burlington. Based on the map from 1937 to 2017, there used to be more farmland surrounding this area and now there are more industries and the railroad is a huge part of this area. On this side of the bike path, there is a lot more of an industrial area, with the railroad coming through this area near the shoreline. Also there are a lot of warehouses and houses around here as well. There is definitely a great amount of human interaction with the natural world and human history is obvious around here as you can see signs of old Burlington and the industrial side to this beautiful area. My area has a strong connection with people and the urban area, which makes I a very unique and beautiful area.

Over the course of the months of observing this place, I feel especially connected to this area and I feel like it is a beautiful and different piece of land that connects the urban environment of Burlington to the beautiful nature of the shoreline. I feel like over the course of time, the area around it has changed with humans, but this area has remained the same. I hope to continue observing this area next semester and see it change through the spring as well.

Phenology in Middlesex, NJ at the River

Location: GreenBrook River Shoreline

Date: November 18th, 2018

Weather: Cloudy, Cold, 26 degrees

GreenBrook River Spot:

For Thanksgiving break, I chose a spot in the woods by the Greenbrook river that flows through my town in New Jersey. I chose this spot because it is very close to my house and is one of the few natural areas around where I live. Because I live in the suburbs of New Jersey, there are not that many nature preserves or nice parks that close to me , but I felt like this spot was good because it was right near me and was situated near this river. I noticed that the soil was very dark in this area and was mostly very wet with the melting snow and rain. I looked up the bedrock in this area and they said it was mostly shale, sandstone, and clay. Despite the fact that they said the soil in this area would be very sandy, I found that this soil had a lot more clay in it, and my area in Burlington had a lot more sand. Also, I noticed that all the trees in this area had completely lost all their leaves and that there were no evergreen trees around at all. I believe that the main tree species around here are Red Maple and Hazel Adler. I did notice that there was one small woody shrub that was growing around the river area and that it was still green and had some berries on it. In addition, I could see a lot of deer prints in the mud, which showed that they were a main animal species in this part.

 

  

   Red Berries on Woody Shrub 

Comparing Landscapes:

My phenology spot in Burlington is drastically different than my spot here in New Jersey. I tried to pick a spot on the water so it would be more similar, but the similarities basically end there. Since my spot in Burlington is near the shoreline, the soil is mostly sandy and fine, but here the soil is very clay-based and thick. Also, the soil in Burlington is very well-drained and even after a rainfall is not very wet, however near the river in New Jersey, the soil was extremely wet and was very thick and muddy. I had to be very careful not to fall in while scouting the area. Although this was negative for me, it was positive because I could observe all the animal prints left in this mud. I saw some small prints, most likely squirrels and I saw a lot of large deer prints because they are so common around this area. In Burlington near my shorefront area, I see a lot of birds and find evidence of small animals like raccoon, but I have never seen any larger animals like deer in that area. Also, I felt like my phenology spot by the river was a lot more brown and less colorful, but I can attribute that to the fact that the black willow shrubs are still green and grow everywhere in my shoreline spot, but here almost everything has died off at this point. I really enjoyed looking at these different spots and seeing how different my hometown is compared to Burlington. Although both are beautiful and different, I do feel my sense of place is stronger closer to my home.

       The Soil and Stream                               Deer Tracks in the deep mud

Middlesex:

GreenBrook River Phenology spot:

Drastic Changes Down by the Shoreline

Event map:

While down at the waterfront this week, I noticed some very drastic changes to the landscape in my area. Because of all the rain this week, the lake’s water levels rose a lot and it caused the area to look very different. The place where I observed the sandpipers last week was completely covered with water and much of the small Black Willow woody shrubs were also totally or completely under water. In addition, I observed the there were a few new small streams leading from the tree area out into the lake, which was not there two weeks before.

     

Outside of water levels, I also noticed that the dominant tree species, Eastern Cottonwood, has lost all of its leaves and the small shrubs, possibly bittersweet, near the edge of my site have yellow berries that have just begun to turn red. Despite it being so late in the season, many of the smaller shrubs have remained green. I wonder if this is because they remain green and remain alive all season or maybe they will begin turning or dying off very soon.

The last few weeks at my site have been very similar, but this week, the area has had many drastic changes having to do with the water levels and the leaf changes and I am excited to see how much it will change once the temperature begins to drop more and we get deeper into the seasons.

The Changing of The Seasons at the Shoreline

Visited on October 20th, 2018.

Weather: Windy, Sunny, 55 degrees

This area has changed a decent amount since last time I came down. Most of the trees have continued to change colors, however, many are now beginning to to turn brown and drop their leaves. I noticed that the Ash trees that has been so full of color last time, now are very sparse on leaves with only a few hanging on. I also saw another dominant species in this area which I believe to be the Eastern Cottonwood tree. Their leaves are now a golden yellow and turning brown and they seem to make up most of the overstory in this area. However, the shrub that grows out of the sand in this area, most likely black willow, are still fully green and do not seem to be changing colors or dying off, even though fall is in full bloom around us.

Birds Eye view of the area:

This area also seems to be an important area for birds as well. Last time I saw a lot of seagulls while I was down here, however this time, there were lots of ducks sitting around in this area. There were bird tracks all over the sand which showed just how many birds dwell in this area. There were also a prominent amount of common sandpipers, which are very small birds with a long beak and white and brown coloration. They traveled in small packs along the water line, most likely looking for food. Other than these ducks and the sandpipers, there were no tracks of any bigger animals, besides possibly some dog tracks.

 

First Visit to the Shoreline Site

 

The spot I chose is down on the waterfront, just off the bike trail. I found a spot just on the shoreline that has a lot of native trees and an interesting assortment of different species of trees, woody shrubs, and small plants growing out of the sand. I noticed a decent amount of birds, including sandpipers and seagulls, and saw some tracks of other animals. There were a lot of ash trees in my area along with some very prominent bigger trees with interestingly shaped leaves that I wasn’t able to identify yet. There was also a lot of poison ivy and different ferns. Also, the trees have just started turning colors as it has just started to be fall and I would love to see this area as it changes the seasons.

I really like this area because it is an combonation of a beachy area and a forest and has a lot of interesting shrubs that we didn’t study. I had never walked on the bike path towards colchester, but it turned into a very cool area and I’m very excited to start looking deeper into the types of plants and animals in this area.

exact location: