NR 2 Salmon Hole Phenology Blog Visit #2

Within my Phenology location, Salmon Hole on the Winooski River, natural communities such as Northern Hardwood Forests, Mesic-Red Oak Northern Hardwood Forests, and Limestone Bluff Cedar Pine Forests.

The Northern Hardwood Forest was a medium sized patch. According to “Wetland, Woodland, Wildland,” this natural community is common and widespread in the state, with high quality examples in abundance. Paper and Yellow Birch, American Beech, and Sugar Maple trees are indicators of the presence of a dominant type of Northern Hardwood Forest.

The Mesic Red Oak – Northern Hardwood Forest was a large sized patch. Wetland, Woodland, Wildland classifies this community as widespread in the state, but the number of high quality examples is low or the total acreage occupied by the community type is relatively small. Sugar Maple, Red Oak, and American Beech trees are all indicators of the presence of a Mesic Red Oak – Northern Hardwood Forest.

Observable Limestone Bluff Cedar Pine Forest were small in patch size. Wetland, Woodland, Wildland classifies this natural community as rare in the state, occurring at a small number of sites or occupying a small total area in Vermont. Shallow soils and bedrock just below the surface pertain to this community and is typically characteristic of twisted Northern White Cedar stands. It is described by Wetland, Woodland, Wildland as a ‚Äúdark, coniferous forest which occupies the narrow bands on the tops of cliffs/bluffs.” This natural community is slow growing and stable.

Cedar Bluffs appear on the edge of the cliff bordering the Winooski River

Since my first visit to Salmon Hole, many phenological changes have occurred. At the moment, the trees are budding as spring lingers in the distance. Snow still coats the surface of the forests and the Winooski River is largely frozen over. Mallard Ducks meander in the pockets of the river that haven’t frozen over.

Tracks appear everywhere. I’ve tracked animals ranging from gray squirrels to beavers.

Beaver tracks appear under a bridge. The tracks are all different in size and the tail follows the path.

With all of the recent precipitation we’ve had, the snowpack on the ground has thawed, leading to periodic erosion of the substrate near the Winooski River. The amount of melting has led to nutrients from the soil running off into the river as the erosion of the substrate continues.

Next week will feature a comparative blog post between Salmon Hole and a phenology spot TBD in Rhode Island.

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