Spring is here! And with it is the arrival of new seasonal species to the mouth of the Winooski. Upon my arrival to the reeds and grasses on the sandy shore, I found a American Toad huddling in the thick mesh of grasses, keeping warm from the rain. This massive toad seemed a little out of place on the sand by the lake, but likely came from vernal pools hidden in the delta park forest.
American Toad (Loutchko, N.) Photographer 2017.
Because of the sandy soil, no wildflowers are going but the grasses and lakeshore reeds are thriving in the saturated mud as the river had risen significantly from melting mountain snow. Further, the natural community’s tree species are beginning to bloom. Silver maple’s red male flowers contrast the overcast skies, and the sugar maple’s flowers are dancing in Lake Champlain’s breeze.
SilvMap (Loutchko, N.) Artist 2017.
Sugar (Loutchko, N.) Artist 2017.
Since my phenology spot is bordering a preserved park, the edge effect is very noticeable. As soon as you cross the Winooski River Bridge, you are greeted with suburban houses and recreational businesses. My exact spot doesn’t provide a lot of shelter and habitat for forest interior species simply because it is directly on the edge of the river and the lake. However, if you were to venture North of my chosen phenology spot, a suitable habitat for forest species dependent on thick brush and cover could be found.