Phenology Visit 10/17

Posted in Uncategorized on October 18, 2018 by Jordan Spindel

Wednesday, October 17, 8:05-8:55 am

Weather: Mostly cloudy, mid 40s

Birds seen at this spot: Black-Capped Chickadee, Golden-Crowned Kinglet, White-Throated Sparrow, Downy Woodpecker, Common Raven, American Crow

Birds seen nearby: Tufted Titmouse, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Brown Creeper Hermit Thrush, Gray-Cheeked/Bicknell’s Thrush (heard), Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Song Sparrow, Carolina Wren (heard), Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker.

Many trees are losing their leaves.

The path is starting to become littered with fallen leaves.

When I visited Centennial Thicket this morning, I noticed that most trees were losing leaves, with Ash seeming to have barely any at all. Only Black Walnut and American Elm still retained most or all of their leaves, although both were turning yellow. Meanwhile, invasive species are continuing to be removed from the thicket. There were several volunteers removing Buckthorn and Honeysuckle on the north side of the path. They told me that these would be used to help build tents for the Feverish World event taking place this weekend at UVM.

Some of the Buckthorn and Honeysuckle removed by the volunteers.

As for birds, there has been a great shift in migrants. Now, we see the last of the migrants, including Golden and Ruby-Crowned Kinglets. Golden-Crowned are by far the most common, with some even spending the winter here. Also seen were a few Yellow-Rumped Warblers, the last of the warblers to come through are area. These are found in the great flocks of chickadees seen in this month that take advantage of the fall bounty of seeds, nuts, and fruit. Some year round visitors were seen today as well, such as the resident female Hairy Woodpecker and Common Ravens.

Mrs. Hairy hard at work.

I had about 20 species in the woods today, and look forward to what next week will bring.

10/9 Phenology Visit

Posted in Uncategorized on October 11, 2018 by Jordan Spindel

The Mushroom Hole. one of several interesting natural features of the Centennial Thicket. Since Tuesday, the mushroom has grown much bigger.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018, 8:00-9:00 am

Weather: Mostly cloudy, mid 60s

Birds seen at this spot: Black-Capped Chickadee, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker

Birds seen nearby: TENNESSEE WARBLER (late), ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER (first Centennial record), Rusty Blackbird (first Centennial record), Carolina Wren (heard), White-Breasted Nuthatch.

This morning, I was able to visit Centennial Thicket, and noticed distinct changes from the last time I was there. First off, there were far fewer birds than observed just a week ago. All that was in my patch were some chickadees and a male Downy Woodpecker. I would presume that the woodpecker is resident, as is the female Hairy Woodpecker I have seen along the trail on multiple occasions (including today). Both of these species are not known to migrate, so I’ll probably see these birds more in the future. Guessing I should give them names then?

The resident female Hairy Woodpecker as seen on Friday. A male (her mate?) was very close by.

Secondly, I was able to identify more tree species in the area. There are several towering Black Walnuts, a few Horsechestnuts (whose flower-like leaves have turned a deep red), as well as a young American Elm. I noticed that nearly all trees are in the full swing of color changing. Only a handful of species appeared to still be very green overall including the Black Walnut, and Norway Maple.

Looking up into the canopy

Moving on to my other bird observations, it seemed at first as if there were no more warblers to be found, but somehow I still pulled through. Looking into a large flock of chickadees and titmice foraging among the flowers in the floodplain, I was able to identify a late Tennessee Warbler in the flock. Later, as I was exiting Centennial Woods, I saw two warblers perch in some nearby shrubs. They were moving fast, so I was only able to get on one of them. However, this turned out to be an Orange-Crowned Warbler, an uncommon migrant in the Champlain Valley, and one of the few warblers that is still coming through our area. Migration is far from over, so I can’t wait to see what new stuff shows up in Centennial Woods!

UPDATE: On Friday, 10/12, I was able to refind the late Tennessee Warbler in the same spot as before.

Phenology Visit 10/3 (+more birds!)

Posted in Uncategorized on October 4, 2018 by Jordan Spindel

October 3, 2018, 8:45-9:30 am

Weather: Cloudy and misty, low 50s

Birds seen at spot: Black-Throated Green Warbler, American Redstart, Hermit Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, Blue Jay, Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, Northern Flicker

Birds seen elsewhere: Wilson’s Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler (several), Magnolia Warbler (2), Nashville Warbler, Cape May Warbler (2), Common Yellowthroat (2), Golden-Crowned Kinglet, Blue Headed Vireo, Eastern Phoebe (3), Gray Catbird, Song Sparrow, White-Throated Sparrow

On this wet morning, I visited Centennial Thicket once again, but not for too long, as I looked for birds in other parts of the area. There were several notable changes to the area. First off, the leaves of some plant species were beginning to turn read, including Boxelder and Buckthorn. I actually came across a group of volunteers removing some of the invasive Buckthorn from my spot.

This is a large part of the area cleared of Buckthorn. Note that some of the vegetation appears trampled by the volunteers.

The volunteers were mostly in the area that had less cover. This left some Buckthorn in the more impenetrable areas near the entrance nearly untouched. Looking up at these particular plants, I was able to observe the way that this species spreads throughout the forest. All around the Buckthorn grove (also lined with Boxelder) was a large flock of thrushes. The Hermit Thrush (our state bird) was the most common, but there were at least one or two Swainson’s Thrushes in the mix as well. These birds eat the Buckthorn’s irresistible berries and spread them wherever they go through their droppings. Because there are so many of these birds, it seems like it may be nearly impossible to control the spread of this invasive shrub.

A Swainson’s Thrush perched on one of the Buckthorn bushes the next day.

Meanwhile, I saw 8 species of warbler today, a decent amount for early October. Only two (Black-Throated Green and a late American Redstart) were around Centennial Thicket. The others were scattered around the area. Magnolia Warblers were found further in, along with my first Golden-Crowned Kinglets of the season. Meanwhile, I found Common Yellowthroats, Yellow-Rumped Warblers, Nashville Warbler, and a late Wilson’s Warbler at the pond next to East Ave. Although not in the woods, I did a pair of late Cape May Warblers on my way to Centennial Woods just across from the UVM windmill. What an amazing day to be out and about in the woods!

Introduction to the Centennial Thicket

Posted in Uncategorized on September 25, 2018 by Jordan Spindel

A GPS map of where my site is (the JS is the actual centerpoint). Note that it is only a few hundred feet east of a residential housing community, and about a quarter mile north of Main Street.

My name is Jordan Spindel. I am an 18 year-old UVM freshman from New York, NY majoring in Environmental Science. One thing to know about me is that I am a big birdwatcher, and have been doing it for about 10 years. To partake in this hobby at UVM, I often go into Centennial Woods, just 10 minutes away from my dorm. This 90 acre plot of land is owned by the university and is filled with forests, streams, meadows, hills, and many other environments. Recently, I was given another reason to go into these woods. For my NR 001 class, I was asked to study the phenology of a certain spot around Burlington throughout the year. I immediately chose Centennial Woods, but I had to choose a specific spot to focus on. I chose a spot near the entrance of the woods that I would like to call “Centennial Thicket”, due to much of it being a small clearing with shrubs and small trees. This spot has you walking down a Buckthorn-lined hill that is partially made of steps carved into the soil. The intersection of forest and clearing allows many different types of plants and animals to be observed, especially birds.

Without further ado, here is my first report:

September 26, 2018, 8-9 am

Weather: Mostly cloudy, high 60s

Birds seen: Raven, Black-Capped Chickadee, Blackpoll Warbler,  Black-Throated Green Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, PHILADELPHIA VIREO, Blue-Headed Vireo, White-Throated Sparrow, Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Flicker

The trees in my spot consisted mostly of Ash, Boxelder, and Norway Maple, as well as one Northern Red Oak near the entrance and the edge of an Eastern White Pine stand on the other end. These trees were a mix of colors, but overall, most were green. The same goes to the shrubs  in the thicket (which also had some flowers like Goldenrod), and of course, the Eastern White Pines, which keep their green needles year-round. I observed many birds flitting around the thicket, mostly a mix of chickadees and warblers. I spotted a vireo briefly in there that was either a Warbling or an uncommon Philadelphia Vireo. As I tried to refind it, I heard what sounded like someone shouting in the woods. I looked up to find that it was not a person at all, but a pair of Common Ravens flying overhead! These birds are known for having a wide variety of vocalizations, to the point where they can even be trained to speak like parrots. Looking back at the flock, the vireo finally appeared again briefly, revealing the lemon-yellow throat that would make it a Philadelphia! This is actually my third Philadelphia Vireo in Centennial Woods, with the second one actually being seen yesterday. Right now, the woods are still lively with action and color, but will it still be later in the fall and in winter?

A drawn map of my spot as well as a sketch of the Philadelphia Vireo I saw



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