I spent an hour snorkeling through a river in Florida observing wildlife. Rainbow River in Dunnellon, Florida supports a vast array of fish, wildlife, and plants. It contains different distinct natural communities, which I learned includes sandhills, flatwoods, upland mixed forests, and hydric hammocks. Within these communities include oak, longleaf pines, magnolia, dogwood, redbud, and hickory trees. While snorkeling, I was able to observe cormorants dive and hunt for fish under the surface of the water. Other bird species residing in the area include swallowtail kites, ospreys and kingfishers. There was very lush vegetation around the riverbanks and the water was a comfortable 72 degrees due to the hundreds of natural hot springs that feed into the river.
Salmon Hole is a Riverside Outcrop. This community has ice and flood scoured bedrock and stream banks. It contains a small amount of scattered low upland herbaceous plants and ferns, with only a small variety of young tree species. Since Salmon Hole is situated along a small river, it would probably be good habitat for a few riverine and upland mammals such as otters, mink, and raccoon.
There is much more debris on the floor of the community. There are a high volume of sticks and dried out plants littered about. Salmon Hole seems quieter than before- there is not much human or wildlife activity. The soils are quite thin and eroded, probably from the rain Burlington has been getting lately.
According to Biofinder, Salmon hole has both uncommon plant and animal species, as well as some rare species. The RIverside Outcrop seems to be an uncommon natural community in Vermont and there are a few vernal pools in the surrounding area.
Grey squirrel tracks
Since my last visit in the fall, much has changed. There are no leaves on any trees and the only color on the landscape are the few winterberry bushes by the edge of the river. There is some ice cover on the bit of standing water towards the shore, but the river is mostly still flowing. However, it is a much more quiet stream than last visit.
Deciduous Tree Buds: Red maple, Norway maple, Paper birch, Red oak, Basswood
I have chosen to compare my spot in Burlington to one of the only green places in New York City, Prospect Park. It gets tons of human traffic and has a huge dog run- it’s considered the heart of Brooklyn. The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. There are no straight paths, they all wind and are very characteristic of Olmsted’s other landscape designs. In comparison to Salmon Hole, there are a ton more invasive plant species. Among them are Japanese Pagodatree, English Elm, Sycamore Maples, and Norway maples. Unlike Salmon Hole, it does not have a river or flowing body of water, there are only man made ponds and lakes that are populated with invasive swans, ducks, and geese. There are many more shrubs and much more understory composed of sassafras and dogwood.
Both Prospect Park and Salmon Hole are surrounded by developed areas, so they do not have any kind of extensive wildlife. Prospect Park is home to squirrels, pigeons, raccoons, possums, and the occasional hawk. These two locations are used primarily for recreation. For Salmon Hole, fishing is the main activity that goes on while in Prospect Park there are bike and running paths, car passageways, and sports fields.
This gallery contains 21 photos.
My phenology place seems to get grayer and grayer. As the trees become bare, the rock clearing becomes more of a focal point. Paper birch trees stand out in the gray/brown forested area. I hadn’t noticed them before.
The thickness of the canopy has decreased. There is much more colorful leaf cover on the forest floor than the last time I visited. There is more gray area around the bedrock features than last week, when there was a good amount of green vegetation along the walls. There is no clear evidence of wildlife in my place that I have noticed so far.
My place is quiet and densely forested with thin, young trees. A few paces away are dramatic bedrock features that line the Winooski river. You can hear water softly flowing from my place. Species include Red Oak, Norway Maple, Buckthorn, Basswood and ferns.
Salmon Hole Park is an intersection of nature, culture, and industry. It is an extremely diverse buffer zone to the Winooski river. If you look one way, there are unobstructed views of the river and forested area that make you forget you’re standing 50 feet away from a heavily developed area.