Spring

It is finally becoming spring! Almost all of the snow and ice have melted except for the most persistent ice still in some of the cracks around the area.  I did not however see many other signs of spring such as amphibian activity or flowers beginning to show.  I checked around common spots where amphibians should live, such as a small still pond off of a drainage pipe and around the bank of the river, however I did not see any sign of amphibians.  There were also no wildflowers blooming yet. the only green that was around was a small leafy green plant (picture included) that covered a lot of the ground around my site.   even many of the trees within my immediate site were not blooming yet, however some farther out were such as boxelders.  There were a lot of signs of beavers and birds however in the form of beaver chews on trees and bird poop all over.   The nearest edge is the river bank, where a terrestrial and aquatic habitat come together.  This edge is a boundary for many species that cannot swim across the swiftly moving river.  It does not however stop species such as birds that flew across the river as I continued walking down the riverside path.

Spring Break

Over spring break I went home, and traveled to Harriman State Park in New York, specifically the Island Pond area.  The area in New York is similar to my location in Burlington because they are both near water, one being a river, and one being a pond.  Also, my spot in New York had approximately 2 feet of snow, similar to my phenology spot in Burlington 2 months ago.  While the heavy snow made it difficult to see any leaves on the trees, On my hike, I noticed a few different trees, some being Red Oak, Sugar Maple, and Beech.  I also saw signs of recent woodpecker activity in the form of holes in trees.  The area also appeared to be a healthy forest as there was a good amount of species diversity.  I also noticed rabbit tracks in the snow, as well as fox tracks.  Unlike much of the New Jersey New York area, Harriman State Park has been mostly preserved by the Harrimans, a family who’s estate protected the area, and turned it into a state park in 1910.

Map Link

Biofinder

Using biofinder to analyze my location, I learned that my spot is not technically a wetland.  I also found that there is an endangered species that lives in my area.  Unfortunately it doesn’t say what the species is on biofinder, and outside research has not found anything.  There is also a rare species known as the mud minnow in the river adjacent to my site. I also learned that my area is a calcareous rock outcrop.  The biofinder map is included below.

Changes and Wetland, Woodland, Wildland Classification

Since my last visit to my phenology spot, a lot of the snow and ice has melted.  Chunks of ice that had been on the banks have melted to much smaller than their original size.  It was a rainy day when I went, so it was impossible to find any tracks.  I did however find trees and branches that had been chewed on by beavers.  The ice chunks which I included a picture of last time have melted, however there are still large slabs of ice in the river collecting around the edges and on the upstream side of islands.  The water level has also risen significantly.

In Wetland, Woodland, Wildland, The authors in the introduction state that they are not going to focus on aquatic ecosystems, and as my site is on the shore of the Winooski river at Salmon Hole, I do not believe this type of ecosystem is covered in the readings.  My site is however classified as a Riparian zone, which is an ecosystem on the banks of a river that acts as a buffer.

Animal Signs and Winter

While walking down to Salmon Hole, the path was extremely icy.  When I got down to the river’s edge, it appeared as If the river had flooded, then froze, and after this, the water level dropped, and this caused there to be large slabs of ice deposited all along the riverbank.  At my site, I found mainly squirrel and rabbit tracks, as well as tracks that appear to be from a duck or other bird of some sort.  The only tree I could identify by it’s twig was basswood.  This is because the other trees in my area are not of the species on the tree twig identification chart.

Human History

The Area around Salmon Hole has been occupied by humans since European settlement.  At first, the area had mills due to the capacity to run the mills from the power of the falls.  It currently also supports a hydroelectric dam to produce energy for the surrounding communities.  This dam was completed in 1935 to control flooding in the area.  Fishing is also a popular activity in the area.  It is common for anglers to be found on the banks.  The area however is closed between March 15th and June 1st to protect spawning Walleye and Lake Sturgeon.  This is an example of humans trying to preserve natural resources which have been destroyed through years of mismanagement.

Thanksgiving Break Assignment

Map to New Jersey place

Describing my new place in the style of Leopold:

Dukes Estate was owned by James Buchanan Duke.  While he ran the estate, It was a working cattle farm, as well as one of his family homes.  Much of the property was left forested and as meadows.  The property was originally considered as a site to build a college, but these plans were never followed through, so the land has largely been preserved.  Most of the man made structures were barns, housing for workers, and sculptures. Many of the building, have been converted to educational centers.  One example of this is the main hay barn, which is now the orientation center.  It is used to give school groups, as well as normal visitors, some information about the goals of the property.  The buildings which have not been renovated, are starting to be reclaimed by nature, such as the foundation of a house that was never built.  In my photos, you can see that trees are beginning to grow back around the concrete.  Many of the paths around the property have been repurposed as walking trails for the many visitors that come every year.  Many of the improvements made to the property have been done since 2012 when the property opened for the public.  Now there are solar panels, constructed wetlands, and other examples of environmentally conscious projects all over the property.

Comparing my two sites in the style of Holland:

First, the location of my two sites are not too different.  Both are close to the water, my site in Burlington being along the Winooski river, and my site in Duke Farms being along the shore of a pond.  My Duke Farms site however, is in New Jersey, much farther south than Vermont.  This means that it is usually much warmer than in Burlington (by about 20 degrees on the day I visited).  Another difference is the types of trees I found while observing my places.  My spot in Burlington has a lot of Boxelder, Honeysuckle, and Basswood trees.  In my place in New Jersey, I observed Northern Red Oak trees, and Red Maple trees. There was also fewer ground cover plants in my New Jersey location, however this may be due to human management strategies.  There was however a meadow near my forested location.  In this meadow, there were many plants such as Milkweed, and New England Aster. I learned many of these things through the numerous signs posted around the property to teach visitors about the ecology.  I did not see many animals in my New Jersey location, but I did see a few squirrels and deer, as I was walking into the property.  Also, My New Jersey site has been more manipulated by humans than my Burlington site in the form of a manmade lake system that runs throughout the property.

Poem, Pictures and Changes

Changes: There are no longer leaves on the trees.  The only plants still alive are the unidentified green plants on the ground, and even they are dying.  They water level in the river has risen since the last time I visited due to a few days of rain.  I also found fewer beaver tracks on the bank than the last time.  Finally, I didn’t see any birds or small animals unlike last time I was there, which indicates that it is getting closer and closer to winter.

Haiku about my place:

Beavers and bluejays

gets colder, almost winter

green plants still alive

 Some more photos from my location:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Event Map

Changes and Signs of Animals

A major change which is obvious as you walk into my location is that most of the leaves have fallen off the trees, only a few of the Basswoods are still holding onto some of their leaves.  The unidentified green plants however, are still alive and thriving.  In terms of wildlife, there is a tree chewed by beaver, indicating they are active in the area.  Also, on the walk into my location, I spotted a bluejay, and a squirrel.  The most interesting find however, may be when I fished along the banks of my location. I was reeling in my line, almost ready to wrap up and go home, when a giant Landlocked Atlantic Salmon comes from out of nowhere, and attacks my lure.  I fight for a second, and realize how powerful this fish really is.  He thrashes around and snaps right off my line, taking my lure with him.  It was incredible to be able to see a fish of this size, even if I didn’t actually catch it.

Skip to toolbar