I spent this spring break at my home in Rutland, Massachusetts. Knowing I was going home, I had a very specific phenology spot in mind that I wanted to spend time in. After about a ten minute walk back into the forest behind my house you will stumble upon a stand of American beech. Now beech aren’t anything special in the forest as it is a normal hardwood forest, but there is this special ten-foot diameter area where it is all beech trees. This spot in the forest had always caught my eye as I explored the forests as a child with my brothers.
As for the natural history of the forest behind my house, less than fifty to one hundred years ago this part of town was all fields. The trees had been cut down and the area was used for faming. My house is about a six minute drive to the center of our town and it supposedly you could see the center of town from my street at the time. Since then a northern hardwood forest has grown back. Although development plans in the town are threatening the remaining forests we have.
In the specific phenology spot I chose there were no woody shrubs to identify and observe. But as I walked through my yard and the forest I saw that many of the shrubs, as well as some trees, had buds on them.
I was unable to see any birds in my phenology spot, but I heard them. I heard the drumming of a Pileated Woodpecker and the faint chirp of a bird I was unable to identify but could possibly have been a Chickadee.
I am thankful I was able to spend time observing and thinking about the natural history and ecology of a place back home that means a lot to me.