Archive for November, 2017

Eagle Lake 11/25/17

This time around, I am not at my usual place in Centennial Woods, because I was home this week visiting my family in Rochester, New York. On my way back to school, we stopped and spent some time at Eagle Lake in the Adirondacks. I picked this spot because it was absolutely beautiful, and on my way home we passed it and I thought it was really pretty, so I wanted to stop and explore.

It is right up at the edge of the water, where the golden woods meet the clear, blue water, and when you look across the narrow lake, the other side is filled with conifers that are growing right on top of a rocky cliff. I was there around four, so the sun was starting to set, creating a pink haze both in the clouds, and on the surface of the slowly rocking water. In the water, there was a lone loon, some stray minnows, and some pondweeds, two of which I learned were invasive to the area. As I looked around the woods, I saw many mature trees, such as oaks, Eastern White Pines, and Basswood, all of which had bird’s nests in them, although most nests appeared to be abandoned, which makes sense considering the season. There was also one birch tree, which had been cut down, so the trunk was lying behind the stump; I wondered why someone would cut it down in the middle of the woods, especially if they were just going to leave the trunk behind. Some of these trees, including the birch, also had lichen and mosses growing on them, which kept the gold and brown winter woods feeling a little more like summer due to their green color. Unfortunately, there was a fair amount of litter, ranging from beer bottles to McDonald’s bags, which saddened me, though I was sure to pick them up so the animals and other visitors didn’t have to see or live amongst that. It was also very quiet, and the only sounds I heard was the quiet lapping of the water at the shore, one vocal crow, the wind swaying the trees, and the crunching of the leaves under my feet. All these sights, except for the litter, quiet sounds, and the slight wind created a tranquil, calm environment, and an hour passed in what felt like five minutes.

The ecology and phenology of Eagle Lake has both similarities and differences to that of Centennial Woods. In both locations, there are a few mature Eastern White Pines, and their pine needles and pinecones cover the ground. Both also have only one Basswood in the designated area, and there are dozens of Red and White Oak trees in both locations, with the majority of the leaves and other natural items covering the ground coming from the oak trees. Furthermore, both locations have birds nests, crows, a few remaining small birds, and the leaves on the deciduous trees are mostly gone, except for a few, though all are dead, as there have been many frosts. However, there are many ecological and phenological differences between the two. Eagle Lake had an abundance of small acorns, whereas Centennial Woods only has a few. My area at Eagle Lake is also both woods and part lake, unlike Centennial Woods, which means that there was also a loon, pondweed, and a few stray minnows. Eagle Lake also has an abundance of clovers and a few seedy dandelion puffs along with a couple of extremely invasive and harmful species which are greatly affecting the ecosystem there, such as milfoil and curly leaf pondweed, which are reducing biodiversity, which my area in Centennial Woods does not have.

This was a very beautiful location, with many sights, sounds, and species, and I am very grateful I picked it for my second location. [All photos were taken by Madison Busacco]

Eagle Lake Location 11/25/17

Centennial Woods Site 11/5/17

Today, I made my way back to my site at Centennial Woods. Since last time, the temperature has been consistently colder, we’ve had a few days of rain, and last Sunday night we had a massive wind storm with really fast and strong winds. Once I entered the woods, my walk looked and felt very different from last time. There were many broken branches and trees that got knocked over from the wind storm, and less leaves on the trees, so the path felt more open and exposed to the sky.

At my place, there were many broken branches strewn across the ground, as a result of the strong, heavy winds. Most were fairly small, but there were a couple of very large branches that got knocked down, making it feel quite different from last time I visited. The large Eastern White Pine looked different, as there were large, broken branches caught and laying on other ones up in the tree, as I photographed.

The leaves on the trees are now almost entirely gone, as only a couple of the young maple trees had approximately 20% of their leaves left. As a result of this, the ground is completely covered in leaves, twigs, pinecones, and small branches. Compared to last time, there is a much higher proportion of red and white oak leaves on the ground compared to last time.

The woods are also more quiet than last time. I can hear the underlying noise of crickets, but only heard birds calling and chirping a few times while out there. However, I heard and saw more squirrels than last time. A squirrel with a pinecone ran by me, and I saw a baby squirrel scurrying up and down a pine tree, all while squeaking and barking, which I assumed was in part because I was there and potentially scaring it.

So, some changes have certainly occurred since last time, in large part because of the windstorm, but also because of the early signs of winter. [All photos and maps were taken/drawn by Madison Busacco]

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