Welcome to my spot!

The exact location of my spot can be found here: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1Y4dqHCb6YP_SfaNXYyDnfI7r-9ZjXC6Z&ll=44.48448343002487%2C-73.19329813074427&z=18

 

The area I chose is located on the Trinity Campus right behind Mercy Hall. There is a trail right off the bike path to the right if you are walking towards the back five. Once on the trial the area I chose is  about a 2 minuet walk on the path and located on the right, just before the trail starts its steep decent towards the stream.

I was shown this hidden gem of a trail by a friend of mine and was shocked to realize that such a nice trail had been in my backyard without me knowing! Ever since being introduced to the spot I’ve come here to read, walk, and relax.

The common wooden species I was able to identify at include: Sugar Maple, Paper Birch, American Beech, Stripped Maple, and Norway Spruce. The ground is covered mostly in pine needles and fallen leaves.

 

 

 

Human use of the land

A brief update on the site

Upon returning to this wooded spot what was once a leaf covered patch of land is now a covered with a white carpet of snow about 1-2inches deep. It is very evident that winter is upon us. There are no longer leaves blocking the suns touch to the forest floor, in fact all of the surrounding buildings are now extremely visible unlike before. With this new snow covering of the ground it has been interesting to look at the prints left behind by human and non-human creatures. Tracks i has able to make out where those of a squirrel, human, and domestic dogs.

 

Human land use

From my time observing the area in and around my phenology spot one of the main ways I’ve noticed how humans use this land is by means of transport short cut. My spot lays on top of the hill looking over a neighborhood and apartment complex which lays below, on the other side of me is the University. Every time I would sit down to observe the area there would be a number of students trudging up the hill to get to central campus. Or v they would be on their way home walking down the slope.

Another use of the land recently made visible to me with the loss of leaves and visibility gain is what seems to be a retention pond that lays at the bottom of the steep slope. Although I could not find any information about this water catchment, it is clearly a man made structure within this natural area.

This small wooden path is also known for its mountain biking trails. It’s characteristic of being a steep, up-and-down trail makes for great mountain biking terrain. There are even some noticeable human made jumps on some sections of the trail.

Finally, what I would say is the most common human use of this land is done by way of leisurely hiking. It is not uncommon to see families, students, and people from the surrounding neighborhood talking strolls through this small wooded area, sitting under trees reading, or simply enjoying being in nature.

Prairie Back Home

Wisconsin native prairies. Home to a diverse array of grasses, flowers, and other small woody shrubs. Giving home to many different kinds of insects, small rodents, and the occasional deer. Here in this prairie, the sound of a sandhill crane echos in the background, they are preparing for their annual migration which will come in the days to follow. The land is preparing for winters first sight of snow as well. Signs of animal and insect life is noticeably scarce. The landscape is filled with tones of tan, grey, and brown. Some may say this land has lost its life, but what I see is a preservation of life, preparing for the harshness of winters conditions to come. This native prairie may be view as a flashback into times past. A glimpse of what this town may have looked like before mans touch. Today many may look upon this natural area and see nothing but weed like plants, but to the native people before us this land holds richness.

 

The prairie I explored in Madison is much different than that of the wooded area in Burlington. The land is dominated by small shrubs, grasses, and the occasional black cherry tree in this native Wisconsin area. In Burlington the wooded habitat is dominated by large hardwood stands. There is little to no grass or small shrubs. The prairie area in Wisconsin is on a rather flat gradient, whereas the forested area sits atop a cliff, giving way to a steep descent below. The area explored in Madison also had no sign of a first winter dusting. The land seems to still be preparing for winters first touch of snow. The last time I visited the wooded area in Burlington there had already been a substantial amount of precipitation.

 

 

 

you may find this area here:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Cherokee+Marsh+-+South/@43.1512784,-89.3888776,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x3eb3e1a197a4f3a6!8m2!3d43.1512784!4d-89.3866889

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Event Map

The Last Leaves are About to Drop

Upon my return to the trail drastic changes have happened. The entirety of the forest floor is covered in leaves, only a hand full of leafs have yet to fall to the ground. I noticed that I can now see the dorm buildings which are neighbor to this little patch of forest. I noticed a few bird calls this time, although I couldn’t determine what kind of birds they were. But, I can definitely tell it was two different species calling out.

Heres a picture that shows the leaf cover.

 

 

Here is my event map of this visit.

 

Fallen

The leafs cover the ground like a plush orange carpet

Emitting a fire like assortment of colors

They flow down the steep slope of the north end of the trail like a sunsets fade over the horizon

Covering the ground like a wave washing up on shore

Only when the wind blows do we get a small glimpse of the brown dirt that lays beneath

The colors are something out of a water color painting

Differing in shades of orange, yellow, and red that seem to complement each other perfectly, like there was an artist overseeing the color way of each leaf

I could look at this bed of colors for hours

Mesmerizing in its soft beauty

 

 

Birds Eye View

Upon revising my spot the very first thing I noticed was a decrease in leaf density in the canopy. Much more light was hitting the ground and the sky was much more prevalent when looking up. The ground went from a brown dirt and pine needle cover to a more colorful canvas of orange and yellows. Some if the trees themselves have become bare and a bit sad looking. An indication that winter is definitely fast approaching.  The only wildlife observable today was the occasional plump grey squirrel.

 

 

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