Thanksgiving Phenology in Pennsylvania

Over Thanksgiving break, I spent a day at the Peace Valley Nature Center, a local park that I have been going to for many years now.

The spot that I chose for the Thanksgiving Break phenology assignment is very special to me.  I have spent countless hours there over the past couple of years exploring the terrain and searching for wildlife.  It is composed of a large lake surrounded by lush forests and some meadows.  The forests are a good mix of hardwoods and coniferous trees.  This diverse habitat makes for a great spot to find birds and other wildlife.  One of my favorite places to go while I am visiting the park is the bird blind.  With a pond and a few bird feeders out in the woods, the bird blind offers a great spot to see a wide variety of species.  I often find myself loosing track of time and sometimes spending hours just watching the different birds come close to the feeders.  Although there is always a large number of birds present at the bird blind, I always make sure to travel out into the untouched woodlands.  This is where I have the best luck in finding the species that are more secretive and uncommon.  The lake also offers another spot with different wildlife.  I can always rely on finding Canada Geese and other species of waterfowl on this lake.

White-tailed Deer

Lake Galena

Mourning Dove

White-breasted Nuthatch

Northern Cardinal

Blue Jay

Red-bellied Woodpecker


There are many similarities and differences between Lone Rock Point and Peace Valley Park.  First of all, they are both at the edge of a large lake.  However, Lake Champlain dwarfs the lake within Peace Valley Park.  Another difference is the topography of the areas.  Lone Rock Point is much rockier and barer than Peace Valley Park.  This spot that I chose over Thanksgiving break was very flat and had almost no exposed rock or bare ground.  Additionally, the tree composition was quite different.  The most common trees at Lone Rock Point are Northern White Cedars, Sugar Maples, and Northern Red Oaks.  However, at Peace Valley Park, the most common trees are Eastern White Pine, Norway Spruce, White Oak, and there are also many Weeping Willow trees on the edge of the lake.  The final comparison that I noticed was with the wildlife present at each spot.  One similarity amongst the wildlife was that there were many of the same species at each spot.  In both areas I have seen Eastern Gray Squirrels, Golden-crowned Kinglets, and Tufted Titmice.  Both areas are also home to chickadees.  However, up at Lone Rock Point, there are Black-capped Chickadees.  Further south in Pennsylvania, the chickadees present are Carolina Chickadees.  Over-all, it seems that the wildlife is more abundant at Peace Valley Park than at Lone Rock Point.

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