Throughout every previous visit to Centennial I have had the same experience: constant bombardment of sound, with birds causing the largest raucous. However, today’s visit did not bring about the usual noises of the forest. Typically, I am slammed with the sounds of birds calling from the second I enter Centennial bright up until I leave yet today I only heard the calls of a chickadee twice. With the snowiest November on record since 1900 this is not surprising as many locations are experiencing phenological changes typically associated with winter. One of these changes that struck me the most was how desolate the landscape is. After visiting my location on the more temperature Long Island, I was surprised to find not only the deciduous trees completely barren of leaves but also the understory to appeared to be dead. In fact, when I first entered the location I questioned if I was in the right spot because the usual wall of thick shrubs that greets me have been reduced to mere twigs sticking out of the ground. Additionally, the majority of fungi is virtually gone with only 1 remaining mushroom in the entire plot. Another interesting phenomenon I observed is that there was a high presence of squirrels for every visit, excluding this one. However, with the snow on the ground for this visit, I discovered footprints on the downed trees that cross the brook that I believe belong to a fox. Although the tracks were rather small, the four toes in the formation of an X, the shape of foot pad and absence of human tracks along side it led to my identification as a fox track. I will admit, after some discussion with Chris (see Chris’s Blog) there is a fair chance that the prints belong to a small dog that may have been let loose while its owner took an alternative route to cross the brook.

The lone mushroom.


One more note of slight interest:

On 10/13/18 the temperature of the Centennial Brook was 56.5 °F while the temperature on today’s visit, 12/5/18 was 38.5 °F.  Admittedly, the thermometer used is most likely not suitable for this type of work being that it’s intended for cooking (my Dad shipped it from home so I didn’t have to buy one). However, being that water has such a high specific heat I would think that a 27° drop in temperature that quickly is abnormal for this time of year, especially because winter has not officially begun. I intended to track the temperature change further and compare it to other statistics but I forgot the thermometer a few times and could not find any available data for Centennial Brook’s average temperature.

Partially frozen Centennial Brook.

While I most definitely enjoyed the liveliness and abundance of early fall, the silence I experienced combined with the light snow fall from this early onset winter left me with a sense of serenity that made this trip to Centennial fantastic.


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