Archive for March, 2018

Hart’s Woods Location

 

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Hart’s Woods Visit 3/17/18

While home over Spring Break, I visited Hart’s Woods in Fairport, NY. Hart’s Woods is a beech-maple forest stand on glacial till, with very fertile soils. As a result, the most common species are beeches and maples, but some Eastern White Pines and red oaks were present. The deciduous trees are showing signs that spring is nearly here, as they are all budding (as one can see in the photo I included). Before Perinton was settled, Hart’s Woods covered 47% of Perinton, which was largely inhabited by the Iroquois Native Americans. They hunted, gathered, and grew the three sisters all throughout the area, up until the colonists arrived and drove them out. Unfortunately, the arrival of the colonists also brought upon massive land clearing and infrastructure, so today Hart’s Woods is only around 14 acres.

 

Much of the area is a wetland, with a creek running through the woods, making it a suitable habitat for many species. While there, I saw squirrels, a chipmunk, and a lot of rabbit tracks. There were also many signs of bird activity. I also heard many crows cawing to each other, and saw a couple of them fly overhead. For the last ten minutes I was at this site, I consistently heard a woodpecker up in one of the trees, and saw a black capped chickadee land in a beech not too far from me.

 

Hart’s Woods has some similarities and differences from that of Centennial Woods. One similarity is among the tree species present. In both locations, maples, eastern white pines, beeches, and red oaks are the main/only tree species in the areas I selected. These tree species are currently budding in both locations right now, as well. They also both have many walking and hiking trails, which attract many locals and their pets. Furthermore, both locations have a lot of leaf litter, ferns, and sparse blades of green grass covering the ground. They differ in that Hart’s Woods is smaller, is a wetland unlike the hardwood stand my Centennial Woods site is in, has far more moss, and its creek is far smaller, mossier, and muddier than that of Centennial Woods.

Centennial Woods Visit 3/5/18

From my last visit to my spot in Centennial Woods in early February, more phenological changes have occurred. Similar to last time, there is some snow, although this time it is super fluffy, and only half an inch deep. Through this snow, the earth is soft and muddy. The tracks left before me, both by people and their dogs, were brown and filled with water. My boots left hard, white tracks, as they pressed deep into the soggy soil. Due to the snow, this was the only bit of the ground I really saw, and based on my location in the woods, the only water I saw was in those tracks. Luckily, the tracks left by animals on my site were easy to identify, due to the freshness and fluffiness of the soil. By far the most abundant were red squirrel tracks, pictured above. They were on logs, leading to and from the large Eastern White Pine, and all across the ground.

The most noticeable change was that of the birds. As soon as I entered the woods, I could hear all different bird songs, something I hadn’t really heard in months. This was a very exciting sign to me because it does signal that spring is, in fact, coming, and I cannot wait for warmer weather.

Determining the natural community of my location in Centennial Woods was a task that I initially found to be quite daunting. In Vermont, there are six natural communities, ranging from Montane Spruce-Fir Forests to Northern Hardwoods, and more. My site has a lot of hardwoods, so I pretty easily narrowed it down to being Montane Yellow Birch Red Spruce Fir forest, Spruce Fir Northern Hardwood, or Northern Hardwood. My site does not have any birches present, really only has Eastern White Pines as far as coniferous trees go, and is not at an elevation of 25,000 feet or more, which pretty much means that it is a Northern Hardwood Forest.

This option definitely makes the most sense because the sugar maple is the most common tree in my site, there are two large Eastern White Pines present, there are both red and white oaks along the backside of my spot, the soil is pretty well-drained, ferns are present, and I have seen chipmunks and squirrels while there,  which are all telltale signs of a Northern Hardwood forest.

When I used BioFinder, I discovered a lot about both my specific area, and Centennial Woods as a whole. In regards to my approximate location in Centennial Woods, I learned that it is a representative physical landscape, a priority interior forest block, and the highest priority landscape. It is also directly next to/upland from the creek that runs through Centennial Woods, where all of the land surrounding the creek are class 2 wetlands, connectivity for riparian wildlife, and highest priority surface water and riparian areas.

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