October 20th Trip to Redstone Quarry

For my first observational visit to the Redstone Quarry, I went on Sunday, October 10 around 11 AM. When I first arrived, the temperature was around 50° and there were some clouds and sun in the sky, although the temperature dropped and it became windier and less sunny as time went on. One of the more obvious characteristics that I immediately noticed was the appearance of the ground. Rather than having soil, the ground was almost completely made of smoothed rock with small streams of water running over the surface into a marsh area that runs throughout the center of the quarry. The rocky surface was covered in lichens and had a strong reddish tint, suggesting that the area has been subject to many years of weathering. Closer to the entrance, there were many plants such as grass, moss, and a variety of flowers growing on top of the rocks, but these became more sparse once I crossed over to the other side of the marsh.

Although the Redstone Quarry spans over a relatively small area (I was able to walk from the entrance to one end in a matter of 2 or 3 minutes), there is still a large number of diverse species. I saw numerous different trees, the most abundant was Norway maples, as well as black cherry, spruce, red oak, and white pine. By looking at the leaf-covered ground it is evident that fall is well on its way, however, there are few trees that are completely devoid of leaves. In addition to the tress, there is an abundance of other plant life, including the aforementioned moss and grass growing on the rock surface, and reeds and cattails growing in the marsh. Although there is not a lot of water in the marsh itself, near the edge of the quarry, there is a small pond that the marsh drains into. On one side of the pond is the solid stone wall with a huge growth of vines and bushes over the edge of the wall. The water does not have a way to escape since it is encased by solid rock at the sides and the bottom, so the pond does not have a clear way to drain, causing the water to become stagnant. There were numerous algae patches growing on the surface of the pond. This may be simply due to the stagnant nature of the water, or as a result of excessive nutrients in the water like phosphorus.

In addition to the abundant plant life, there were also a number of different animal species throughout the area. As soon as I arrived, I immediately took note of the birds flying overhead and calling out to communicate with each other. Although I could not see them because they were hidden in the tall grasses and reeds, I could also hear crickets chirping, especially near the entrance where the grass was more abundant. As I walked along the path near the pond, I noticed a number of squirrels running along the branches of a nearby oak tree that appeared to be fighting with each other. I also glimpsed some sort of larger rodent, maybe a groundhog, running across the path. Overall, my first trip to Redstone Quarry showed the typical characteristics of a fall climate in Vermont, and I expect to see different distinguishing characteristics of the changing seasons during each trip I make over the course of the semester.

Rocky ground with water streaming over it
Norway Maple Tree
Small pond with algae and vegetation growing over stone wall

~ by Sarah Cain on October 22, 2019.

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