Today I witnessed a forest that was flush with life 20 days ago experience a die-back. The bees that once buzzed around the marsh appeared to have met the fate of the frost, though bugs like dragonflies, flies and wasps still remain active, though limited in magnitude. Most birds, with the exception of goldfinches, wrens and chickadees have seemingly left the woods, though the few remaining birds are easily audible. Milkweed and other lighter seeds fill the sky, drifting with the current of the wind as all the maples brown out and the oaks are priming themselves to follow suit. The ferns that carpet the forest floor are beginning to show less and less life, as with the high majority of plant life throughout the woods.
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My spot is nestled into the marshlands of Centennial Woods, found by keeping left on the major trails of the nature preserve and heading 200 yards downstream. The area consists of reeds, tall grasses, joe pye weed and cattails in the moist, swampy areas, with hemlock, eastern white pine and ash trees “high and dry”. The amount of light the plants receive, as well as the moisture in this basin is uncharacteristic compared to the rest of the surrounding forest, thus hosting a dense assortment of flora and fauna, which I hope will make the phenology process slightly easier.