History of the park: It was first established as Suier de Mont National Monument in 1916. In 1919 it became the first National Park east of the Mississippi. It is located on Mt Desert Island which is just off of the coast of Main’s main land mass. From the summit i could see that water was surrounding the park. I could also see other small islands nearby called the porcupine islands. On my hike I was struck by a few things I encountered. First of all, half of the rocky path was slick with ice after the snow melting and freezing. This made it more difficult but so much more fun to get to the summit. There was a lot of bare rock especially as we got higher in elevation. some of the formations were really interesting and almost made rocky tunnels for parts of the trail. At lower elevations there were the standard mix of hardwoods, softwoods, and shrubs. the higher up we got, the more scarce the vegetation became. Near the top there were only scraggly short evergreens and some blueberry bushes and lichens. There were roped-off areas that I was told were put in place to protect lichens in the park from hikers.
Red Spruce Northern Hardwood Forest seems like the most accurate description for my phenology spot. This is because my spot is not at a high elevation and consists of mixed hardwood and evergreen tree species including beech, birch, pine, and maple. The ground is also not steeply sloped or particularly rocky.
as for signs of spring I observed the ice beginning to melt on the pools of water. I saw a robin on a sumac near these pools, and some of the grasses under leaf litter are starting to turn green again. Some of the hardwood trees are also showing new growth and budding.
I was interested by a patch of shrubs that all had bark scratched or eaten off. The marks remind me of deer rubs but are low to the ground and are not on large trees.
On Biofinder, I can label the water that runs through the area along with the yellow/orange circle that indicates rare and uncommon species.
I went to my phenology spot at about 1:30pm. It started snowing partway through my visit. luckily i was able to find some tracks before the snow covered them too much. I didn’t expect to find many tracks other than from humans and their dogs.
I did find dog tracks along the main path, but I saw these small tracks winding all over in between the trees. my initial guess was that they were rabbit tracks because it looked like the hind feet were long and big compared to small round front feet. My second guess was that these were squirrel tracks because they mostly seemed to start and stop at the bases of trees. I have also seen more squirrels in this spot than rabbits.
I came home and used the track ID paper from class to analyze my pictures. This looks like the pattern of a galloper. both grey squirrels and cottontail rabbits are in this category. I believe that these are grey squirrel tracks because of the small size of the hind feet. I would expect the prints of a rabbit to have much longer hind prints. I could also make out the shape of the feet in some prints. the toes seem too elongated to be a rabbit.
I am not very good at IDing trees just by the twig so this was not the most successful trip for tree ID. I gave it my best shot using the twig ID sheet from class as well as by remembering what kinds of trees I IDed in the summer/fall.
I went to my Aunt’s house for Thanksgiving this year. I decided to do my phenology post on this area because the climate is so different from both Vermont and Connecticut. She lives on the shore of the lake. most houses have a sandy or rocky waterfront in their yard. My aunt’s waterfront had a big problem with erosion as they first moved in. Because of this, she opted to create a natural waterfront, and a generally more healthy landscape. This included planting native plants with strong roots to avoid erosion. she also had a bat box and a duck box hung from white oak trees to provide more habitat. Woody plants I found particularly interesting were the American Holly and the Magnolia. I have rarely seen Holly get very tall, and there were two Holly “trees” that must have been trimmed to have a long bare trunk and all the leaves and berries at the top. It may be a different kind of Holly, or a different plant altogether. I have seen very few magnolia trees, and finding the huge empty cone was so cool to me that I brought it back to school to keep on my desk
6:15 pm, 37 degrees. it was snowing quite a bit when I first head to the spot, but it is too warm for amy ice to really form. the ground and plants are just soggy and wet . I explored further from the log benches, and payed special attention to human impacts of the land. The path and bench themselves show that this is a frequently visited spot on campus, and of course some litter can be found
Someone had obviously come and worked on the tire swing because it was tied much higher than the last time I visited
I went further downhill towards the big rock lined ditch that I believe is a runoff pool. There are no big trees around it mostly shrubs like stag horn sumac. There are pvc pipes leading to the bottom of the ditch that has a pool of water surrounded by tall grasses.
a sort of dried stream runs to the pond and acts like a path to an area that has a handful of big painted rocks. People had clearly spent time and effort making these paintings.
My phenology spot is a patch of woods behind some of the redstone parking lots.To get there, I follow the sidewalk in front of redstone lofts. there are many staghorn sumac plants on the side of this sidewalk. downhill. On the left there is a grassy hill and the sports fields. the sidewalk has a path leading off that is bordered by black chain link fencing. If you go straight up the path you will reach a fallen log across the path and a makeshift bench against an oak tree.
If you go to the right instead you will find a tire swing hung in the trees, and even further left is a gravel-lined depression in the ground that has a small pond at the bottom. I hope to find out through the school what the purpose of this ditch is because it looks purposely man-made.
Prominent woody plants at the beginning of the path are red oaks (on which I saw a cute little black spider), a few sugar maples, and many smaller woody shrubs which I have not confidently identified. they may be
Going uphill from the log bench the tree species change slightly there are a couple eastern white pines, more sugar maples in the understory, and a very interesting catalpa tree. there is a big stump in the middle of the path that looks like it should be dead, but there are two catalpa trunks coming out the side that provide plenty of shade around the stump