While sitting in Centennial Woods, I find myself in a hail storm. I’m not actually sitting as I normally do because of the inch of slushy snow covering the ground. Despite it being mid-April, it certainly doesn’t feel like spring has arrived. It’s strange that my February visit was warmer than it is now!  Many of the trees around me are coniferous, so they do not show any indication of the changing season. The brook too is covered in slush; I can barely see further out than 30 feet or so because of the hail, but the plant life is blowing around frantically from the wind gusts.

I looked into the brook to look for signs of amphibians, but with the weather I was unable to notice any signs. There weren’t any tadpoles in the brook, likely due to the freezing temperatures, and because amphibians are cold-blooded, I can’t imagine any of them being out and visible. However, I do believe the brook would be a fantastic breeding spot for migrating amphibians, since there doesn’t seem to be a noticeable fish population to prey on the eggs/young.

The location of my phenology spot seems as though it is located on a forest edge, although it is because of the landscape’s transition to the brook, not because of the close presence of urban development. The actual nearest forest edge is at least 100 yards away from me; the sounds of the city and highway are only a distant hum.  However, my location does experience some significant ecological edge effects; any wind, precipitation, or sunlight that comes in from the west hits the forest around me directly due to the lack of tree coverage in the brook. While some wildlife may thrive from living in the tall grasses of the brook, nearby tree-dwelling wildlife are exposed to harsher conditions than they would be if they were situated deeper into the forest. While Centennial Woods may have some interior species, I don’t believe it is in high quantity due to the amount of forest edge exposure. The forest isn’t very large and is surrounded by developed area; I don’t believe any k-selected species particularly would thrive here due to small breeding ground and lack of genetic diversity, as well as exposure to humans and their disturbing presence.

If this picture looks extremely terrible, then I did a pretty good job of showing what I saw. The hail and wind was insane so I tried to draw what it looked like from my point of view, but the weather limited visibility. The grasses and other vegetation in the brook were blowing around and stuck at a near 45 degree angle, as hopefully depicted.

 

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