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Phenology Blog Sam Preble

Posted: March 18th, 2019 by jpreble

Spring Break Phenology

Posted: March 18th, 2019 by jpreble

Over spring break, I visited New River Gorge in West Virginia to do some climbing. I noticed, like Vermont, most of the forest was comprised of oaks, maples, pines and hemlocks. Unlike Vermont, however, The New River Gorge had plenty of rhododendrons and mountain laurel which keep their leaves year round. Rhododendrons and mountain laurel are broad leaf conifers which populate the rim of the gorge and the steep slopes leading to the river. Rhododendrons prefer the acidic soil of the canyon and flower in July.

During my time climbing in the canyon I saw many bald eagles and peregrine falcons. These birds nest on the rim of the gorge and ride the thermals in great spirals looking for prey. I saw a lot of what I later identified as a eastern towhees: a plump brown, black and white sparrow that spends most of its time foraging in the underbrush looking for food and stays year-round in the New River Gorge area.

In the New River Gorge I spotted plenty of evidence of white-tailed including tracks and scat. Along with deer I saw two raccoons in the campground and heard from a passerby that they had just seen a river otter, unfortunately the creature had gone before we had reached the area it was spotted in. Besides deer, raccoons and river otters the gorge is home to ten species of bats four of which are endangered, these animals live in the many abandoned mines which are found throughout the gorge.

Phenological Changes

Posted: March 7th, 2019 by jpreble

Over the last two months I have seen my phenology spot go through many changes such as an increase in water for snowmelt and rain, less snow from increasing temperatures, thinner ice spanning the marsh and more buds emerging from trees. All the recent precipitation has saturated the substrate with water turning it into mud making the shores of the marsh more easily erroded.

Natural Communities

Posted: March 7th, 2019 by jpreble

My phenology spot is consistent with a cattail marsh, not only is my area deeply saturated with cattails and bur-reed but it has a water depth of about six to eighteen inches deep which is consistent with cattail marshes. Cattail marshes contain two different species of cattail the common cattail and narrow leaf cattail, these two species are known to hybridize with each other. Cattail marshes are found all throughout Vermont but they are more common in lower elevation areas, such as the chaplain valley . The soil in cattail marshes is decomposed mud or high organic content soils. Cattail marshes provide habitat to many animals including wrens, red winged black bird, great blue herons and many different species of ducks.

Painting of Red Winged Black Bird in Cattail marsh

Map of New Phenology Spot

Posted: February 4th, 2019 by jpreble

Boxelder Twig

Posted: February 4th, 2019 by jpreble

Beech Twig

Posted: February 4th, 2019 by jpreble

Wildlife Activity

Posted: February 4th, 2019 by jpreble

Twig Sketch

Posted: February 4th, 2019 by jpreble

Deciduous Tree Species

Posted: February 4th, 2019 by jpreble

The First photo shows a paper birch. The photo to the right of that shows a white oak. The final photo below this text shows a yellow birch.

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