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Phenology and The Four Seasons

Forever and an Age

Posted: March 5th, 2019 by kkbrown

I really dislike this new format for the blog. For some reason the format was changed so although my previous posts and the blog in general looks the same I have to use an entirely different format to make new posts which caused me much distress for the first few minutes.

I titled this post as such in reference to the end of one of the novels I’ve read or more like one of the last parts. The novel I was reading was never completed. It was written by the author but the translators were only able to translate the entire novel except for the last few chapters. I think this shows how I feel about my phenology site. I enjoyed the excursions that came along and I learned a bit along the way, just like the book, and the story isn’t even over and there’s no way to really know how it’ll end. I keep waiting to see if I can learn what happens next and maybe I’ll come back to check but I don’t hold much hope that I’ll ever know.

Now for this very impromptu assignment.

Well I don’t feel like talking about the lab assignment quite yet and it’s my blog so harrumph.

Some cool tracks I found.

I actually stumbled upon some tracks that were really clear today, just as I entered my site. I think they belong to a fox based on the shape. I looked at the guide and they look more like grey fox tracks to me but I don’t believe grey fox would live near my site and I’m sure that I have trouble telling the difference between the two so I’d bet that they’re red fox tracks.

Here’s a recent view of my site:

I forgot to brighten the picture

In addition to the natural changes, the development has ramped up next to my site, luckily nothing on my site has been touched but it’s interesting to note the changes.

A pile of different left after construction, the foundation for the new building is in the background.

I can only imagine how much mineral runoff there will be with the coming spring thaw. There is a slight slope that will bring most of this to the high way, my site is subjected to the same slight slope so it too will experience this erosion, although not on quite this scale because of the shrubs and flowery plants that exist there. I still believe that my site will experience a good bit of erosion though. I believe this because trees make up a minuscule part of the site and the grasses and shrubs can’t hold in everything, especially for the spots where the vegetation has been cleared for trails.

Still I can’t wait for Spring to come. I obviously desire the warmer weather but I can also get excited to finally see all the plants that drew my sight in the first place(get it?).

At the start my site was lush with grasses and flowers with a few large shrubs and a single red maple tree. The spot was very quiet, aesthetically pleasing and subject to the occasional rain. As time went on the snow started to fall and the residents camping in the field couldn’t go through a winter outdoors so they packed up and left meaning that human activity was at an all time low. As the weather got colder the colorful flowers ceased to be colorful but nevertheless stood tall to remind us of their beauty. Then the snow fell and it was as if the plants, with all their tenacity, conceded to the snow fall what they never would to the wind and rain of summer. They let themselves rest and lie dormant beneath the snow. The land was flattened except for the big bushes, shrubs and that lonely maple. Now some of the grasses can be seen again, bent under the snow still. It will take a bit more time before they stand tall again. The oppressor will have lost his place, the snow will come in dustings and storms but it won’t be kept as the grasses, filled with the heat of spring, continuously beat it out.

Alright now I’m feeling up to snuff. I think that my site is an example of the temperate acidic outcrop natural community. I don’t think that the ecological potential of my site would allow for it to be woodland after the development and it’s use over the years. Because of this I looked at the open upland community types and I find that the high elevation types such as the boreal outcrop or the alpine meadow definitely didn’t fit the bill due to the elevation of my site which only left a few others. I believe it’s specifically a temperate acidic outcrop because some of the vegetation at my site seems to be the characteristic vegetation one would find in such a natural community. For instance the only tree that I consider in my site is a red maple which was mentioned as one of the characteristic species of the natural community and looking back at the pictures from the start of Fall and end of Summer I think that a great bit of poverty grass was in my site but I didn’t identify it. Wetland, Woodland, Wildland mentioned that poverty grass is very common at those types of sites so I looked up images of poverty grass and it appeared that I had some. In addition to this, one of the featured characteristics of temperate acidic outcrops and upland outcrops in general is the rock that lies near the surface and I found quite a bit poking up.

That’s all that I believe I needed to peg it down after having narrowed the possibilities to two or three in my mind.

I hope you enjoyed our adventure as much as I did. Maybe I’ll come back to make another post or two. If you have any comments please come talk to me. I do enjoy verbal communication much more than electronically written comments.

-Signing off, Kris Brown

Now I’ve Done It

Posted: January 29th, 2019 by kkbrown

Well I had to go back so I could prove to everyone that my site wasn’t all talk and no walk so I trekked my sweet arse out to my site but I took the quicker route this time, heading east on main street and going through the back of the Staple’s Plaza. My labors were not fruitless but I do wish that I had gone at a better time so I could’ve got an even clearer look at how the pads came out in the prints. Still…

 I don’t really know exactly what species this here is but it’s paws couldn’t have exceeded ten centimeters and the formation of tracks look like a bounder’s right?

 I likewise don’t know who’s tracks these might be but they’re much bigger than the rest of the tracks around and the tracks kind of start up again a good couple feet away again so I think that this here is a galloper but I’m still kinda confused as to the differences ‘tween bounders and gallopers in tracks. I know the difference in actual movement but it’s obviously still troubling me. This is the other set of rather sizeable tracks. You can compare my foot for size which is about a foot with maybe a centimeter more boot included. The track shape makes me think that its a diagonal walker with that indirect register thing. I trust that after I go through the tracking lab this will be considerably more accurate and I’ll be able to I.D these.

 These tracks were by far the most common. I think that these could be cottontail rabbit tracks. I make this conjecture because the tracks seem to have the right size and seem to follow a gallop pattern after looking at the handout and the tracking guide.

The tracks were all located either going to or from the cedar bushes and spruce trees on the edge of the field initially I wonder if the rabbits wanted to eat the berries on cedar bushes and took cover under the trees in bushes as well. After I pondered this I followed the tracks and found some go under this opening in the plastic fence on the other edge of the field.

 I followed the tracks over the fence and I stumbled upon quite a sight.

 There are a whole host of tracks here and they seem to be predominantly rabbit tracks. I was wondering why these couple of trees and rocks attracted so much activity and I thought I saw some of the tracks come from the construction site which was in use at the time. Maybe the rabbits got scared off when the workers got to business this morning.

Guess Who’s Back

Posted: January 27th, 2019 by kkbrown

 Well I’ve been gone for just over a month and look what they’ve done. They’ve already got the foundation of a whole new building done. I assume they won’t quit now. They must’ve been working all winter. I saw tracks while they were here before but this won’t make my work any easier but then again I didn’t see them midday today.

To try and meet the assignment’s demands I found the single deciduous tree in the entire field, which was previously inaccessible due to being the encampment of another man but he hasn’t touched his camp in probably over two months due to inclement weather which is advantageous for my studies and terrible for him.

I proceeded to try and identify the tree thereafter. I took observation of the twigs and the bark and I even found one or two shriveled leaves hanging upon it’s limbs still.

I believe that the tree is a red maple/acer rubrum. I made this judgement because the leaf shape makes it some kind of maple, the bark doesn’t seem like a striped maple to me and it’s too tall to be one anyway. Additionally there’s the bud that I saw in the identification video, last semester, for what I thought was red maple and the stem if the leaf is red too. On top of all that red maple is notorious for stump sprouting like this tree here.

After my mental toil I went down memory lane…

 Oh the big bush I always see. It’s so barren.

A little farther down I found a pesky old friend.


I’m fairly certain that this guy is a buck-thorn bush. It’s got that point on the end and the buds look like deer hooves.

 This is the open field but now it’s quite with no flowers softly swaying. I also fail to notice any tracks here but I did notice a couple indistinct tracks on the edge under the bushes. I’ll come again, the snow earlier in the day must’ve covered the tracks of the center field.

 They piled snow way up high, I think over ten feet, between the field and Staples. I got a new view because of this.

I say PETCO on the way back so I stopped in. Here’s what I saw:

My family had ferrets for pets when I was really young so I stopped to take a look and the guinea pigs were running around too. But I didn’t want to spend my day there so I left after a couple minutes.

All in all good day.

Winter Baby!

Posted: December 6th, 2018 by kkbrown

IMG_2828.TRIM (1) IMG_2828.TRIM I don’t know which one is first and which isn’t. The second starts with me making a comment about multiple homeless people living there.

This is a quick video of my adventure. The important second half is coming when I can figure out how to post it on this blasted blog but I’m definitely escited about tracking. It’s really cool and I found that a good bit of tracks could be found around my site, at least previously. The recent augment in development doesn’t look to good for animal sightings. Even the people that were living there left but then again it is winter and it would be hard living through a VT winter outside. I found out that the development history is semi-complex. I actually found this out through the make-up lab I did.

This site showed me that the current developers actually had plans to take the field and construct a condo on top of it quite a while ago. This would explain why the area was cleared of trees allowing the field and everything to grow. The only reason they didn’t develop, according to this article, seems to be that the previous city council head didn’t want a condo built as it would block the view of the mountains from her house and so petitioned against the development. But as we now see the development does seem to be coming to pass. I asked one of the workers there and asked what they were building, unfortunately he was just delivering pipe but he thought that they were building another condo/apartment complex as well. I also tried to find more about the specific land use even farther back during the make-up lab but didn’t find anything. This doesn’t surprise me because, after all, nothing was built there. But in the years between the development attempts a few people were able to establish make shift shelters there with tents and a trail was carved out suggesting frequent passersby from the neighborhood going through for either recreation or to just go to Staples. I mean it is right there.

The videos were taken by Ciara Tomlinson and these pics were as well.  This is a pic from a different view over looking the entire field.

 The snow cover under this spruce really struck me. I can see why animals would like to take cover under evergreens. Don’t it look cozy in there?

 These are some cool tracks that we found. It don’t look like fox tracks or deer tracks which I thought would be the most common but they might be raccoon or porcupine tracks I think. I think raccoons would make sense because of the proximity to Staples and the Quarry Hill neighborhood. I don’t know how close a porcupine would live to these two places and I know that raccoons would have no problem rifling through trash or this and that looking for food.

Back In Town

Posted: November 25th, 2018 by kkbrown

my google map of my spot.

And here’s a hot pic of the cliffs:

Howdy party people. We’re back together for another round of phenology fun. I went to the forest in my backyard and specifically went to the cliff inside where I’d spent much time. The spot meant quite a bit to me because I’d been going out to the forest since I was a youngster and had been passing that spot most every time I went. When I was young my dad would through get strength of will oush me and my two brothers out of the house to go for walks and one of his favorite places to go to was there.  I’d actually increased my visits these lasts few years as well which gave a fresh connection to the spot. I’d gone running with my cross country team in high school and the cliff was a favorite spot for us to visit. Eventually we constructed a small stone shrine to honor cross country and our teammates. After that it seemed like the place that I had to go to if I went out for a run or walk. So the spot, which had always represented the forest and my history with it, grew to encompass the time I’d spent fooling around with my team and doing wacky stuff. When I go there I feel like I can calm down and be at peace for a little bit. When I need to blow off steam the woods is waiting and I’m always welcome.


This place of course differs from my current phenology spot. For one I don’t have much of a connection to my current site. I have gone a few times and gone with friends and tried to get to know the spot but it doesn’t inspire the same sentiment that the cliffs behind my house do, understandably. Looking at the physical aspects, the sites are also quite different. Where I currently am, behind staples is now covered by snow and even before was dominated by grasses and flowery plants whereas back home there are predominantly the three main types of oaks with a couple other species lying around, like this conifer I can’t identify and few lowers or grasses.

There are far less signs of human contact back home as well. Although the trails are marked out and the wildlife isn’t at a pre-contact state there’s still wildlife back in the woods and there are trees naturally developing there. In contrast, behind staples there is trash frequently found on the ground, human habitats and development is visible from any point within the site.

Bonus pic:

 These are some cute cones I found and I just haaaad to nab a pic.


I was recommended that I put a picture of myself in somewhere so here along with some other pics:


My Event Map, A Tale of Yesterday

Posted: November 6th, 2018 by kkbrown

It’s a gallant tale to say the least.

A Happy, Happy Day In Burlington

Posted: November 4th, 2018 by kkbrown

This was taken on November fourth by the lovely Ciara Tomlinson. This is the traditional spot for my photos and from it one can see how the vegetation that stands out is seen to be a deathly whitish color. It must have lost its pigmentation and then been bleached by the sun. This is the furthering of what was seen last month.

But what is interesting is the lush grass growing underneath that I didn’t take note of last time.

Here’s where I really noticed it. In the parts where one can see in between the taller, standing flowers and such one can also see what looks like even lusher grass. It is presumed that the cover of the dead plants has somehow helped the grass to persist. Of course this could be a trick of the light today but I wonder if the dead plants have helped the grass by dissuading people from walking over the grass and by shielding the grass from weather events like rain or hail. I mention walking pedestrians because I did see a woman pushing a shopping cart through the field to Target, which sits mere feet from the field.

I also noticed an increase in trash in the field today as I walked by. There was even trash sitting in the walkway.

What a tragedy.

I also saw a recent addition to the entrance with the start of some kind of development I think. There were large, stacked pads of tires in front of the construction machine at the fields entrance which was also cleared of a bit of vegetation. The coming days will see great change.

Here’s some other photos I manged to nab whilst there:

I may post a poem as well but no promises. ;>

A work of art, my hand-made map

Posted: October 22nd, 2018 by kkbrown

Monday, 10/22/18


This hand drawn map was delicately crafted the 22nd of October 2018. The baby breath has seen a further reduction in population as the cold weather has been setting in and other plants have been wilting as well. No sign of mammals or rodents around the field yet and there aren’t proper locations for birds to nest inside the field but I have heard crickets and other insects recently which are probably preyed upon by birds in the surrounding, border trees.

Field image coming soon…

Hello world!

Posted: October 1st, 2018 by kkbrown

This first photo was taken October 8th:

I chose this spot because it was very beautiful to view as I ran through it earlier in the school year and I thought that the plant life would show more changes as I viewed it, more so than the other spots I was interested in. One can get to it by going down Spear St. from UVM and then taking a left on Quarry Hill Rd. and after going down the street one should see a bend with an incline and if one goes up the rocky side trail then one can find thus field. For vegetation, I’ve found what I believe to be Wild Purple Asters and a good bit of dying Baby’s Breath alongside Wild White Asters.

Google map location:


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