Phenology Finale

Posted: 4th May 2019 by ecschrei in Phenology Visits

This is the last post for my phenology site, and I have mixed feelings about saying goodby to my spot. I loved how pretty of a spot it was and how quiet it was when the planes weren’t flying directly overhead, but I won’t miss the long trip to my spot as it was a 6-7 mile round trip bike ride with about 300 feet of elevation gain or a 2 mile walk from the trailhead in winter without trying to wipeout. For my final observations, I am excited for the arrival of spring the budding of trees, and the decrease in the water level.

The water level has already significantly decreased since my last visits, and from my time spent fishing, I can say that the river is pretty shallow near the shore right now. The different levels of height that the river was recently at is shown by the series of smooth sediment that can be visualized to look like a set of stairs.

Sugar Maple Bud
American Elm Bud

I do consider myself a part of this place due to the large amount of time I have spent there and the miles of effort intentionally spent to reach my site and spend time there. Nature and culture intertwine as even though my spot is secluded, it is on a human made path near agricultural land and where there has been intentional planting of silver maples nearby and signs regulating the harvesting of fiddleheads.

Springing into Spring!

Posted: 28th April 2019 by ecschrei in Phenology Visits

Hello and welcome to spring everyone! There are some exciting new observations and signs that point to the phenological calendar flipping to spring. In the past couple weeks the annual spring snowmelt flooding of the floodplain has occurred.

Using the second graph for a reference of the flood stages, and noting that according to the National Weather Service Flood Impacts: Low lying farmland in the Burlington Intervale will flood from the 12-15ft stages and be inundated above the 15ft stage.

Some interesting observations of species found within my spot include ostrich fern fiddleheads, red fox tracks, and nearby silver maple buds.

Thats all for now, but new exciting observations are coming soon!

Kinsman, North and South Peaks

Posted: 18th March 2019 by ecschrei in Phenology Visits

A spot that I decided to use for the comparison to my site in the Burlington Intervale was the summit of Mount Kinsman, North Peak. This peak is part of the Cannon-Kinsman Ridge within the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The ridge runs north from Kinsman Notch to Echo Lake and Profile Lake the source of the Pemigewasset River in Franconia. The ridge is approximately 20 miles long and forms the west side of the Franconia Notch.

Kinsman Ridge looking North from near the summit of North Kinsman

North Kinsman at 4293 vertical feet tall is a pyramidal shaped peak with a summit just below treeline. This is part of the montane black spruce and balsam fir forest ecosystem which is the closed canopy forest layer at the highest elevation gradient in the White Mountains. Common bird species include the grey jay, the black-throated sparrow and chickadees. Common animals include snowshoe hair, red squirrels, and other species.

Snowshoe hare tracks near the summit of North Kinsman

This location is very different from my phenology site at the elevation is 3500 feet higher with a complex montane ecosystem compared to a floodplain forest. The differing mountain ecological layers in New Hampshire are roughly 300-500 feet higher than in Vermont with the alpine zone not occurring until 4200-4800 feet.

Snowy Intervale

Posted: 7th March 2019 by ecschrei in Phenology Visits

March 6, 2019

The conditions on the walk into my site were markedly improved from my last trip where it was a solid sheet of ice. The conditions were a dusting of light powder that was from a snowstorm that stopped during the walk in covering a couple inches of hard crunchy snow with a bottom layer of ice for a total cover of 3-4 inches.

The top photos are from this visit, the bottom images are from the previous visit.

All trees are in good conditions with no indication of blowdowns or broken branches. The river had a dusting of snow on top of the ice and was about 6 feet below the floodplain level. There was a different climate on the other side of the river as the fields let in more sunlight which results in snowmelt.

Some tracks that I found at my site are gray fox and red squirrel.

This seems to be a trail that has been used multiple times by the same animal. It has a direct register with a track stride of 34cm and straddle of 5-10cm as the multiple track sets made this hard to determine. The track length is 5-6 cm long by 5-6cm wide. The track has 4 toes, claws, and a X mark in the negative relief. The only two animals with a track of this profile are the Red Fox and Gray Fox and the tracks are a Grey Fox due to the shape of the heel pad.

This next track goes to a sugar maple (acer rubrum) which is about a foot outside the of the photo. The track is a hopper/galloper and has a stride of 45cm and a straddle of 4cm for the hind foot and a straddle of 1cm for the front foot. Based upon the track size, this is a red squirrel track.

The next post will focus upon a different location that I explore during break and likely somewhere at a higher elevation in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Icy, Icy Intervale

Posted: 14th February 2019 by ecschrei in Phenology Visits

Visit on February 10, 2019

So, I visited my site on Sunday to snag some photos of the conditions from the previous week when my phone died and I couldn’t get any pictures. The conditions were the same with a lot of ice and some snow on the ground, the river completely iced over and terrible tracking conditions.

These two photos show how treacherously icy the Intervale road and surrounding fields were with sheets of ice, some patches of snow, and some exposed ground.

This was the only wildlife sighting of a farm field occupied by a large flock of crows.

The river ice was cracking on the near bank and it was just terrible, terrible tracking conditions. Fortunately, I made it to my site and back without falling, a total of 2.5 miles along the road and in the fields.

First Blog of Spring Semester!

Posted: 4th February 2019 by ecschrei in Phenology Visits

Unfortunately, my phone died on my way to my site so this will be a sketch heavy blog post supplemented with hydrograph information from the Winooski River at Essex Junction hydrological station.

KIC Document 0001

This is a link to my sketches of a sugar maple, a boxelder, and an american elm; from my site map one can see that these are common tree species at my site.

Winooski River at Essex Junction

USGS Hydrograph of the Winooski River

Based upon the recent weather pattern of cold temperatures and low precipitation, we can see that the river is relatively low which combined with the mixed precipitation and rain from the last 24 hours has exposed part of the riverbank which combined with the melted snowpack has resulted in poor tracking conditions. This had made it so that there isn’t a clear idea of which species have visited my site; however, I hope that better snowpack conditions during my next site visit will make it so that I can clearly identify some of the species which have visited my site.

End of Fall and Beginning of Winter

Posted: 8th December 2018 by ecschrei in Phenology Visits

I was unable to take photos during my most recent trip to my site so I will try to explain observations using past photos as references to the current conditions with the caveat that all trees all have minimal to no leaf cover remaining and that most seasonal herbaceous plants have disappeared for winter as a result of the early snowcover and unseasonally cold temperatures. The day that I visited my site was after the warming period of last weekend had melted the snow so I was unable to observe animal tracks


These two photos show the forest conditions and river level that were at my site when I visited it, these aren’t photos from my site visit, but are references to explain site observations.

Some notes about the human history of Burlington Intervale

A Changing River in the Intervale:1802-1894 created by Connor Stedman

This short slideshow shows the impacts of 19th century land usage upon the Winooski River within Burlington Intervale. According to Burlington Geographic, “the course of the Winooski through the Intervale shifted dramatically—600-1000’—over only 80 years.” This was a result of the deforestation and agricultural practices which caused increased surface runoff and flooding which resulted in the deposition of sediment along the Burlington Intervale and within the Winooski River Delta. In the 1980’s a shift towards organic farming within the Intervale started, this results in the current farming community within the Intervale. Photo below is from source listed below.


As a result of the semester ending, this is my last post until next January. I am saddened to miss a whole month of potential observations, but am excited to see the site in winter conditions when I return. I hope all that followed or read my posts enjoyed my site and will want to explore Burlington Intervale as a result of my posts. This is an area with rich cultural and natural history and a place that I am happy that I picked for a phenology site.

Site Comparisons

Posted: 26th November 2018 by ecschrei in Phenology Visits

The location where I compared my phenology spot to is a secondary succession forest regrown from former agricultural land and logging. The terrain is hilly with flat ground from the land usage as plowed agricultural fields.

The top photos show some of the land usage features of the land including barbed wire fencing, boundary marker trees, and an old road; there is a nearby stonewall that I couldn’t locate for a picture. The bottom photos show the forest composition which is explained in detail below. The link below is for a mymaps that shows the locations of my normal spot and the spot of comparison:

In the style of Mabel Wright regarding this place:

This place with its rolling hills and flat benches each staggered at an elevation higher than the previous is one with wonder of its past as farmland. The old barbed wire and stonewall fences, the old grownup roads, the hidden boundary markers are wrinkles upon the body of this land which once oozed with a youthful vibrance from the activity of its former farming days. The land has a young forest of American beech, striped maple, paper birch, poplar, yellow birch, red oak, red spruce, balsam fir from which the reverberating sound of a pileated woodpecker drilling into a tree is often heard. This section of the forest with abundant snags is great habitat for these pileated woodpeckers; comparatively the small area of mature hardwood forest high on the shoulder of the hill is much quieter. The tracks in both locations ask for wonder what animals where here and later excitement at listening to and attempting to call in a grunting buck and in a verbal exchange of calls with an alarmed crow. If the snow was less crunchy maybe the birds and deer would be easier to sneak up upon, alas that wasn’t the case.

In the style of Aldo Leopold a place comparison:

Two drastically different places one a typical forested lowland area now with a high river that alas has taken the ability to use the riverbank sandy soil as a source of great tracking information. The other place, a normal post-agriculture forest where the forest has retaken land boldly cleared by the farmer only to let in return to its former state. This place is a vibrant forest, great for hunting with a layer of snow that makes tracking easy even for the lazy man, a hunter unmotivated to understand the forest for its signs of wildlife. The rub trees, the nibbled browse, the animal beds, the acorn tops, the woodpecker holes, these signs of wildlife this man not in touch with this forest will miss for he covers his incompetencies by burying his nose in the ground and blindly following the various tracks. But enough about others for I observe that the first place is significantly different than the second and that each place holds different animals and vegetation and that these lack of similarities between the places from their species and history makes these places have different values and importance.

Third Visit

Posted: 5th November 2018 by ecschrei in Phenology Visits

Visit on 11/4/2018 at approximately 1:30 pm Eastern Standard Time

There were some significant changes to my phenology site since my last visit almost three weeks ago relating to the water level.

Based upon a National Weather Service hydrograph, this change in water levels is the result of a peak discharge event during Saturday night and early Sunday morning which resulted in the Winooski river reaching near the action state. A possible cause of this increase in the water level could have to do with the surrounding area having recorded precipitation levels of 3-5 inches within the last 14 days within the nearby portions of the watershed.

Upon closer examination, I am wondering whether the trees that I previously labeled as American Beech (fagus grandifolia) might actually be a member of the chestnut family; the leaves are pretty beat up so it’s hard to tell from the photo. Also the green ash and sugar maple trees have lost most of their leaves and there was some erosion at the edge of the riverbank.

Farewell, my next update will be posted in about two weeks.


Second Site Visit

Posted: 22nd October 2018 by ecschrei in Phenology Visits

Lat/Long Location: N44.50946, W73.21541

Visit on October 16th, was seasonably cold, mostly sunny, strong gusty winds. The top three pictures are examples of the forest composition of the site which is an edge habitat on west side of the Winooski River. From my first visit I missed several trees when doing the forest composition. I located 4 Boxelder, 2 Sugar Maple, and 5 Green Ash that were in my area.


The next set of photos are examples of impacts of species upon the different trees. In the photo on the left there are marks on a Sugar Maple in about the middle of the tree that could either be claw marks or cracks in the bark. The second photo of the tree from a different angle makes it look like cracks in the bark. The next two photos are examples of the impacts of invasive species as they show Green Ash and Boxelder trees wrapped in Japanese Knotweed vines, which from the shriveled, wilted leaves on the Ash seem to negatively affect these trees.



Overhead birds-eye view of phenology site