November has arrived

It’s a new season in Centennial Woods and once again rapid changes are occurring.

During today’s visit to Centennial I drew out an event map of some striking features in the landscape as I made my way towards the site.

The site at Centennial Brook has transformed recently due to a combination of seasonal changes- temperature drop, etc., and the huge amount of rain the area has gotten over the past few weeks.

The brook itself has a higher water level than before, and when looking closer at the sandy shore it’s clear that much erosion has occurred and the rain has been washing this sediment into the brook. I think this photo captures some of the effect:

At the edge of my site further into the forest things look fairly unchanged since it is so evergreen dominant, but in general there is much more leaf cover and decomposition occurring everywhere around the site.

I did spot two small fish swimming in the brook today, which was a first! I’ve never gotten to see any life in the brook before although I check thoroughly with each visit.

Next are some more pictures capturing the current state of the site and an original poem reflecting on the changes.


Someone has come in the night and turned down the saturation.

Leaving the landscape monotonous brown.

The grasses are dried out, crunchy stiff.

When the breeze comes dry leaf against dry leaf makes a kind of haunting wind chime.

For the ground has sucked the life out of the plants, perhaps out of envy and a want to also feel the touch of the fresh air.

But now she is simply waterlogged.

Brook higher than before, muddy and murky.

Two fish are spotted, heads pointing towards the lazy current.

They too seem ready to tuck themselves in for sleep.


A Bird’s Eye View

October is winding down, and today as I visited the phenology site we had our first snow, even though it was just a sprinkling.

The site is changing quite a bit as the seasons having been transforming rapidly the past few weeks. Leaves are down and creating a crunchy layer, and the meadow is looking less and less colorful and more monotonous and brown.

On my visit today I saw a few squirrels running around frantically and lots of birds rustling the fallen leaves as they hop. It seems like the wildlife has sensed the changes and everyone is preparing for winter.

Here is my bird’s eye view of the site:


Introduction to the Phenology Site

Today I took a trip to my phenology site which is located in Centennial Woods Natural Area. To get there, enter the woods along Catamount Drive and following the main trail straight. The trail should lead you through wooded areas including over some platforms at muddier points. Once you get to the first clearing you will bear right, following the white arrow posted on a tree. Here you will walk along boardwalk and past the brook until you get to a larger clearing with multiple trails branching off. To get to my site take the trail straight ahead which continues into a mature hemlock stand. In a few minutes the hemlock stand abruptly ends as you reach an area that has been cleared for power lines. The trail will take a sharp right, and you will be able to see the bridge straight ahead.

This bridge is the center point of my site. I chose this spot because I love the contrast between the heavily disturbed swath of land that is cutting through beautiful intact evergreen forest. This area is completely cleared every four years to ensure that no growth becomes tall enough to interfere with the power lines. So, it is mostly meadow, with lots of tall grasses and flowering plants, and some woody shrubs and young trees. Centennial brook cuts through the center under the bridge, creating another point of interest for me as I think it will be lovely to watch changes in the brook (water level, life forms, etc.)

I would love to learn to identify the plants growing here. For now I was able to identify this New England aster, which had two slow moving bumblebees pollinating it. They are probably some of the last bumblebees to be pollinating before all but the queens die out for the winter.

I am also included the edge of the surrounding forest in my phenology site. This forest almost completely evergreen, and dominated by old growth eastern white pines and eastern hemlocks. In fact, Centennial Woods is home to some of the oldest hemlock trees in the state. At the very edge of the woods I also spotted some younger striped maples and white oaks. Here is a view of the entrance to the evergreen forest from the meadow.

I’m excited to revisit my phenology site and continue to explore it’s flora and fauna.