Over spring break, I visited my hometown. Mystic, Connecticut is a small little tourist town. During the 1800s, it was one of the most active shipbuilding ports along the East Coast. Later, it transferred its focus to marine engineering, textile mills, and small craft building which carried it forward into the 20th century. Now, most of the towns revenue comes from tourism.
I went to a small natural area by my house for this assignment, called Beebe Pond Park. This area used to have a textile mill on the land, and stone walls as property borders. The trails are now preserved by a committee and up-kept through volunteers. I heard many birds on my visit, but saw only a few. Outstanding was that of a hawk, which was swooping overhead only briefly. The woody plants, such as the Northern Red Cedar pictured below, were shedding snow and getting ready for the approaching sunny season. Many trees had fallen due to the recent snowstorms.
My dog enjoyed the trip as well!
On my most recent visit to Centennial Woods, I had the opportunity to observe the environment in a state of especial allure. The trees were hit with just the right amount of wind to allow a few flakes of snow to drift gracefully to the ground.
That aside, I did identify my site as a Oak-Pine-Northern Hardwood Forest. The high concentration of White Pines was evidence of this. Within this category, the natural community of my site is White Pine-Red Oak-Black Oak forest. The typical characteristics of this type of natural community are coarse-textured soils, primarily White Pine along with Red and Black Oak co-domination, while Beech and Hemlock are also common. Heath shrubs are usually in the understory. The substrate is, “Soils that are mostly derived from lake or marine sediments, either clay or sand. Bedrock exposures may be found scattered within these areas.” (Wetlands, Wild lands, Woodlands pg. 154) Many of these characteristics correlated to features I observed at my site. There are mostly White Pines with a few Red Oaks interspersed, and I noticed some Beech and Hemlocks on my traveling to and from the site. The soil is course due to fallen pine needles and cones, as well as decomposing trees. The substrate matches as well, as there is a stream close by and therefore bedrock sediments and sandy clay soils.
In terms of phenological changes, the site looked relatively the same as last time I visited. One major difference was the stream had melted further, allowing water to flow and making the surrounding soil moist. I also noticed that pine needles were peppering the white ground.
Through using Bio Finder, I noticed that my site was right on the edge of the community/species highest priority. Because the center of this area was near the center of the Centennial, I inferred that the majority of the species live inside the confines of the two streams, using them for water access, and habituating the areas that were the farthest from infrastructure such as roads. There was also a high priority of landscape ecology around my site. I think this is because of the fact that Burlington is mostly an urban area, and this one of the few forested locations.