Discovery and Goodbyes

02 May

As of visiting my phenology spot for the final time this semester, I am met with a sense of discovery and closure. Being able to better read the landscape and observe different natural and cultural factors I saw both old and new phenomenon. For example, one staple to my phenology spot throughout this year has been the Black-Capped Chickadee. State bird of my home state of Massachusetts these birds have been the first creature I meet through its calls, chirps, dangling off tree branches, or even fly ever so close to me. These chickadees have not only been the ambassador to the natural world for me, but to all those that enter Centennial Woods. Despite harsh winter winds, introduced invasive phragmites, and the yelling of school children these chickadees are still there to greet you. Anyone including hikers, botanists, dog walkers, families, and the average joe can identify and enjoy these feathered friends. To a greater extent, this appreciation towards chickadees can be found in ornithologists who have placed bird feeders all around my phenology spot to see if any of their tagged chickadees have returned. This is one of the amazing species that occupy this spot and have adjusted to natural and cultural factors.

As much as the chickadee is a symbol of natural and cultural factors, my phenology spot have been affected by these factors. Based on the histories of indigenous, farming, recreational, and management purposes this landscape has undergone major changes. As of 2019, the main influential cultural forces are management and recreational factors. In terms of management, this location is an active natural area managed by UVM that balances the usage of powerlines and a retention pond. Natural phenomenon interacts with these cultural factors such as the retention pond improving water quality and act as habitat, while the powerlines act as a corridor for wildlife and hikers. In terms of recreation, my phenology spot is meant as a natural area for hiking and other forms of appreciation towards nature. For me, this has taken the form of photography in that taking photos have given me the means to share narratives of this landscape and its usage. For example, I have been able to show through images the dynamic transformations of my phenology spot throughout the year.

Once arriving in August, my phenology spot was booming with vibrant scarlet sumac bobs and luscious herbaceous plants luring in citizens of Burlington to seek an escape into nature. As one of these citizens trying to escape into the outdoors, I was greeted not only by chickadees but, Red-Eyed Vireos, American Redstarts, Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds, and more. However, as autumn rolled in, the colors of this location slowly dimish by colder temperatures leading to the loss of leaves, Vermont’s migrant bird species, and hikers. Despite the approaching dormancy chickadees still persisted as seen in banding programs conducted by UVM. However, dormancy did still arrive with large amounts of snowfall and bitter temperatures. As seen in Febuary, this landscape seemed barren under a blanket of snow, yet life still prevailed as seen through naturalists tracking mammals and the green vitality of eastern hemlocks and other conifers. Soon after with increasing amounts of rain and rising temperatures this blanket of snow started to retreat, while spring was aproaching ever so slowy. However, to my surprise, this dynamic landscape came to a halt by early April with the clearing of woody vegetation of my spot. Expecting new spring growth manegment services cleared for existing powerlines. This to an extent did alienate me from my spot, yet has been able to introduce me to new discoveries. This clearing has made me and others able to explore new areas such as the much-hidden retention pond where I was greeted with emerging ostrich ferns from the Earth.

For the first time, I was able to explore this area and to my surprise, I was able to discover some new friends. Once entering the open gate I was greeted not only by chickadees but, phoebes, red-winged blackbirds, and a lonely beaver. As much as this area may seem barren with fallen sumac limbs, life still persists. This beaver for a moments notice was swimming along the shore of the retention pond and quickly submerged itself after being noticed. This human development aimed in the preservation of water quality and habitat ironically became a habitat for this beaver. As much as powerline companies cleared this landscape, retention ponds improve act as habitat, and hikers traverse the landscape, nature adapts with time. For me, this appreciation of nature to adapt to both cultural and natural means through time is phenology to me.

Overall I can say despite all of my experiences I am not fully apart of my place. As previously stated this was the first time I saw a beaver at my phenology spot. If I were truly a part of my place I would be well aware of a beaver! However, this does not undermine the amazing experiences and the deep connection I have with this place. From the greeting chickadees and towering powerlines, I have been able to make observations between the natural and human world here. As much as these experiences have merit there are always new experiences to make, furthering connecting me to this place and the environment. The goal to be a part of this place or any place is the continuous appreciation and observation of interweaving factors, which I choose to continue here at this phenology spot, UVM, and beyond!



New Life in Disturbance

22 Apr

My phenology spot was once covered in staghorn sumacs, maples, ferns, and other flower plants. Now it is barren and new pioneer species are starting to occupy this new disturbed environment.

As of visiting my phenology spot, I was excited to see new emerging plants! As it is getting warmer with temperatures of 70º F new herbaceous plants are starting to emerge and woody plants are starting to flower. When walking to my phenology spot I was welcomed by a mirage of a fern species, garlic mustard, buckthorn, and phragmites. However to my dismay once arriving at my phenology spot it was torn apart. My site underwent some forest management services blocking the soil from the sun and tear out my beloved sumacs. I was so excited to see the budding of red little bobs, yet all that is left is wood pulp of a once-dominant sumac stand. This disruption event has made it not only difficult for me but the native residents. Flowering plants I saw earlier this year such as New England aster, wild sasparilla, and common boneset will have a difficult time flowering this year trying to break free of the covered forest floor. Despite the difficulties of this new environment some plants have been able to flourish.

One new flowering species I was able to observe was Colts-foot. It may be an invasive species, yet it is a testament of how resilient of species it is in this hostile environment. Another invasive species that has been able to show its resiliency is phragmites. New phragmites shoots are starting to emerge out of the old phragmites stands and will create new habitat for returning bird migrants. As species such as grey catbird, red-winged blackbird, and house wren return they will make good use of these phragmites. I am very much upset about my phenology spot being disturbed, yet I am glad to see some species have been resilient and contribute to a new environment.

Colt’s Foot is an invasive perennial plant that is native to Europe and Asia. It was introduced to the United States for its medicinal uses. It was once used to treat respiratory complications, yet now it is considered a nuisance.

Another phenological event I witnessed was the breeding of wood frogs. Nearby on the shady side of my phenology spot, there is a vernal pool acting as a breeding grounds for many amphibian species. As of now wood frogs are breeding and could be heard as far as one-hundred yards away. Once spotting the wood frogs they remained still, yet after waiting a few minutes they returned to their chirping and mating behaviors. The most interesting mating behavior was a pair of wood frogs in amplexus with the smaller male on the larger female. The male held on even when she decided to hop away. Hopefully, I will be able to see their offspring when I come back to UVM in the fall as they prepare for dormancy.


Spring Forward in North Carolina (New Location)

15 Mar

This plaque commemorates Jullian Pond as a recreational area and cooling lake for the nearby Ashville Coal Plant. This area is the epicenter for outdoor recreation for Ashville and neighboring towns in Buncombe County. Buncombe County promotes a multitude of activities such as picnicking, boating, fishing, and special events (Fourth of July).

To enjoy my spring break I am in Asheville, North Carolina to support my mother in her half marathon. Traveling south I am surprised how Ashville in March is similar to late-spring in Vermont. As my phenology spot is currently transitioning into spring, I can observe some current springtime in North Carolina at Jullian Pond. Jullian Pond is a recreational area that was bought by Jullian Price in the early twentieth century as a gift to his employees and residents of Asheville to enjoy “the area’s natural beauty” according to the National Park Service. Currently, it still runs as a recreational area as a playground, rowing area, fishing, camping, hiking, and more. Other than recreational uses it is a cooling pond for the Asheville Plant across the pond. Despite the natural beauty and appreciation of nature through outdoor recreation, there is a two-unit 376-megawatt coal-fired plant burning coal and natural gases ran by Duke Energy. Running since 1964, eighteen years past Jullian Price’s death, this coal plant has a dominant presence in the community. I do not know the full extent the plant exerts on Jullian Pond or the surrounding area,  The noxious-looking clouds do look dooming, yet the amount of biodiversity at Jullian Pond is stunning. This is similar to my phenology spot in that amongst the towering eastern white pines there is a looming powerline and retention pond. It may not be the image in mind when exploring the wilderness, yet is vital to nearby communities in Burlington and Ashville. However, a powerline/retention pond is much different from a coal plant and needs to be addressed carefully in order to reduce carbon emissions, maintain environmental health, and the status of nearby communities. If all of these criteria are met I can accept this plant running for a balance between human and environment health is paramount.

This landscape shows a variety of structures man-made and natural. Working left to right is the Ashville Coal Plant, connected powerlines that run to nearby counties, mountains apart of the blue ridge crossing, and lastly a clearing apart of a residential area.

Here shows some recreational activity seen here at Jullian Pond such as fishing and rowing. Talking with these anglers before they launched there boat there is catfish, bass, and even stocked Tilapia for fishing. On the right, I saw a rowing team on the lake navigating the straight outlets from the shore. Looking at the shape of the lake it seems beneficial for it has open water and narrow-like streams and is one of the only large water bodies in landlocked western North Carolina.

In terms of vegetation, Jullian Pond resembles my phenology spot in a permanent spring/summer state. The number of leaf-retaining trees and neotropical migrants reminds me the first time I saw my phenology spot in Septemeber. The woody vegetation I saw included: American Holly, American Sycamore, Eastern White Pine, Pitch Pine, Red Spruce, White Oak, Red Maple, Sugar Maple, and Chery Blossoms (planted ornamental). Some of these tree species can be found at my phenology spot such as Eastern White Pine and White Oak, yet American Holly and Cherry Blossoms are not found. In addition, my phenology spot has a more natural forest composition as for it is apart of a natural preserve area, while at Jullian Pond the forest composition was scattered since it was a recreational area. Jullian Pond’s forest structure is fragmented by cross-linking roads to allow access to different facilities such as campsites, fishing outlets, and different playgrounds. It may not be a natural forest structure as my phenology spot, yet nonetheless, still, be enjoyed by all those in Ashville.

To the left is an American Holy which is native to North Carolina, yet due to the placement of the tree, it was most likely replanted. To the right is a White Oak marked by its smooth U-shaped sinuses. Similar to Burlington the cold weather in Ashville has made this tree lose its chlorophyll to preserve energy. In addition, this oak was most likely replanted due to how it appears within a playground.

Another feature that can be observed here is mammal activity. It may not be as visible as in Burlington with the use of snow, yet mammals such as eastern grey squirrels can be observed. For example, I saw a pair of squirrels chasing each other through a myriad of eastern white pines ending at drinking from the lake. Once again its spring here and can be seen through the blanket on pollen brought to the shore. With the number of flowering plants nearby the pollen has accumulated on the lake’s surface. After drinking the same pair of squirrels had lemon-yellow on their lips and went off back into the pines. This reflects how later on at my phenoplogy spot I will be no longer able to see as much mammal activity, yet be able to see interesting mammal interactions with the landscape.


My favorite aspect looking between Jullian Pond and my phenology spot is the difference in bird species. All of the birds that I saw at Jullian Pond can be see at phenology spot and Vermont, yet the presence of these birds was overwhelming. In total, I observed Carolina Chickadees (closely related to Vermont’s Black-Capped Chickadees), Northern Mockingbirds, Golden Kinglets, Northern Cardinals, Mallards, Mourning Doves, House Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Canada Geese, American Crows, Wood Ducks, Domestic Ducks and Geese, American Robins, Eastern Phebes, Brown Creepers,  Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, and most importantly American Coots. American Coots are a rarity in Vermont, yet a common staple to Ashville. Swimming amongst the domestic ducks, geese, and mallards these surprisingly small aquatic avians were close to the shore and even wondered near me. When on land their green segmented-like feet grappled against the rocky grains of the shore leaving me in complete shock. They fed with the nearby mallards and geese looking like a sparrow next to an eagle. They did not engage with each other that much, yet this same unique species interaction can be found at my phenology spot. For example, in September I was able to see interactions at the retention pond between wood ducks and Canada geese, crows and turkey vultures, and even grey catbirds and red-winged blackbirds. Furthermore, I look forward to seeing the return of neotropical migrants such as phebes back to Burlington, yet are fun to see here in North Carolina. In conclusion, looking at Jullian Pond I look forward to seeing these returning birds, trees, and weather back at my phenology spot in Burlington.

American Coot


Pileated House Picking and Habitat Definition

05 Mar

My phenology spot lies between this White Pine Red-Oak Black-Oak Forest separated by powerline. This area is maintained to prevent the succession of adjacent trees in order to maintain the integrity of the powerlines. As a result, this area allows the establishment of a small patch of staghorn sumacs.

A. My phenology spot lies within a clearing separating a White Pine Red-Oak Black-Oak Forest (PRB Forest). My phenology spot focuses on how a powerline has fragmented this PRB Forest and if this area was not managed my phenology spot would follow under succession to become apart of the PRB Forest. The main indicators of the nearby forest being a PRB Forest is the focal tree species being eastern white pine and red oak with supplement tree species such as American beech and eastern hemlock. In addition, these forests have river-based areas (Centennial Brook), low elevations (< 1400 ft.), and well-drained soils (Hartland very fine sandy loam soil) making it preferable to pines and oaks. This reflects how this land was once owned by the Ainsworth family and was operated as a sheep farm (look at Human History and Seasons Changing Blog). With the abandonment of the Ainsworth Farm pioneer and desired species such as eastern white pine and red oak grew and could be eventually replaced by American beech. Within this forest composition, grey squirrels and chipmunks occupy the area and can be best-seen through my interaction with a pair of pileated woodpeckers.

When visiting my phenology site I heard a loud drumming noise nearby and was lured deep into the interior of the adjacent PRB Forest. Navigating fifty yards inward I saw a feather clung critter on a mature eastern white pine. It was a pileated woodpecker fixed into a perpendicular position drilling a hole looking for any available prey or maybe a new roosting area for young. As I stood there the woodpecker was called for by another nearby pileated woodpecker. Dismounted from the tree the woodpecker expanded its wings and fluttered towards the outgoing call. Pileated woodpeckers are a focal species of PRB Forest and are a sign of a strong natural community. Despite my phenology spot being a disturbed area, the nearby areas maintain its integrity based from its tree composition, physical characteristics, local history, and animal residents. Therefore, my phenology spot could become apart of this surrounding White Pine Red-Oak Black-Oak Forest.

This pileated woodpecker sporting its red cap is seen perched on a mature eastern white pine. With their chisel-like beak the break up the cambium tissue of these trees making cavities for nuthatches and other animals.

B. Based in early March my phenology spot is seeing less and less snow. Despite snowfall earlier on March 4, the snow is melting off from pines, phragmites, and certain sunlit areas. All of the melted snow runs into Centennial Brook and can be seen with faster stream discharge into the Winooski watershed, despite it still being covered by ice. Other than Centennial Brook as the soil thaws out snow water will percolate into the soil allowing the return of native plant and animal species. Moisten soils help provide existing woody plants and help promote the arrival of herbaceous plants such as fern species and jewelweed. In addition, melted snow water will form vernal ponds which act as future habitats for dormant wood frogs and salamander species as they awaken in the Spring to breed. Centennial forest has well-drained very fine loamy soil allowing the retention of water for these species in the spring and warm summer months. Water is also stored in a nearby man-made water retention pond collecting incoming melted snow water and salts and pollutants from nearby streets. This relationship between the hydrology of snowfall and the substrate of well-drained soil allows the rebirth of my phenology site filled new with fauna and flora.


Winter Wonderscape

22 Jan

Overlook of my spot looking towards Centennial Field. The snow has blanketed the area causing phragmites to fall over, sumacs to lose their bobs (fruit), and the eastern white pines to lift the immense weight of snow.

Back in Vermont, I visited my old phenology spot in the power line clearing of Centennial Woods and the winter elements of low temperatures and strong cold winds have made my spot enter a period of dormancy. One of the biggest changes from my last post is the overwhelming presence of snow and low temperatures. I went out on January 21, the day after a large blizzard on January 19 and 20. With such a storm the snow and clouds covered my landscape causing my spot to change. With clouds covering the sun and low temperatures herbaceous and deciduous trees are trying to prevent losing energy and as a result, have lost their leaves and closed their lenticels to store heat. The circulating foraging groups of chickadees are becoming less frequent favoring to huddle together rather than risk exposure in the -17 C° weather. Lastly, both deciduous and coniferous trees are forced to hold onto thick heavy blankets of snow creating strain and can even cause them to fall over. As much as this snow is pressure on wildlife and flora once it all melts it will help revitalize my spot, yet until then my phenology spot is forced to endure this time of dormancy.

I purposely choose to go to my phenology spot after a blizzard in order to see fresh prints in the snow and other present wildlife activity before any hikers could damage or erase any evidence of wildlife. The first major sign of wildlife activity was white-tailed deer. There was an overwhelming presence of deer tracks going up and down the trails and cutting through the frozen covered brook. Other than the obvious distinctive track print it I knew it was deer due to its wide straddle and diagonal movement meaning it was probably walking (not sprinting). I could even possibly claim that maybe its tracks lead to a resting area where it either slept or laid down to rest. There was a large imprint in the snow in the shape of a deer located underneath some eastern white pines, which is a preferable spot for a deer to avoid snow and stay warm. Other than deer I found a white-footed mouse trail leading to a snow den. Based on the small size and shape of the track (1/4 inch) and narrow straddle it was easy to tell it was a white-footed mouse or some other small galloping mammal. Without disturbing the nearby area I saw the tracks lead to an opening to the Subnivean Zone. This opening leads to a den which compacted by snow creates an area of warmth from the exposed winter landscape. Most likely a white-footed mouse left this den to look for resources and then traveled back to its den. Not knowing if there were any residents of this den I left not to disturb them.

In terms of winter trees, there is plenty of deciduous trees at my phenology spot including staghorn sumac. white oak, red maple, northern red oak, trembling aspen, American elm, and black locust. The most overwhelming deciduous tree species is staghorn sumac where they all have lost their leaves and their fuzzy red bobs (fruiting body). Outside my phenology spot I do see some sumac still holding onto their bobs, yet at my sight, there is now visible bobs most likely due from more animal activity (consuming) and being in a more exposed area to colder temperatures and harsher winds. Lacking their bobs the seem as if they were naked, yet under a closer look with their hairs prickled straight you could see their cone-shaped buds. I only imagine seeing these buds now to develop into bountiful colorful bobs by springtime.

Lastly the last set of observations I made as the active wildlife I saw on my visit. With mammals active and so are the birds despite many of them their migrated or remain inactive in their cavity homes. Right after the blizzard, I could only imagine they bunkered out waiting to forage the next day, the day I would check my phenology spot. As luck has it I saw many foraging bird species such as northern cardinals, downey, and hairy woodpeckers, chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches, brown creepers, American crows, and common ravens. Staying here all year-round these birds have found ways to manage the winter and lift my spirits during the winter.



Human History and Seasons Changing

04 Dec

My phenology site is located near Centennial Brook flowing into the Winooski River making it a key location for human settlement. I found no evidence of Abenaki or other indigenous  groups occupying my site most likely due to a lack of records and documentation. However, they  most likely they did more it being a flat area with well drained soil. They could of made use of my area by using the brook for its fertile soils and active beavers on site. With the arrival of Europeans there is much more recorded land use of my area. The earliest map show is from 1810 showing how the land was marked up by plots per area of land rather than resources. My site produced many natural resources such as beaver, lumber (hardwoods and softwoods), and scouring rush to scouring pots, pans, sand wood, and more. The next major record for my land was in the late 1800s. The Ainsworth family owned my site for many years dating back till 1880 to 1904 in the Burlington Directories. Both Lorenzo and Grace Ainsworth worked on the land as farmers producing wool from merino sheep. Their production was recorded in the Agricultural Census of Vermont. Grace had family nearby on Colchester Ave. called the Edcumbe family. Also farmers, William Edcumbe operates seven acres of land and boards other family members. Lucia Edgcume boarded with William from 1882 operating two acres of land with her college Mrs. Sarah Stevens. In addition, in 1889 Geo Edgcumbe board with William to work at E W Chase company where they produced doors and other wood products. Lorenzo Ainsworth would die in 1889 making Grace the sole owner of the property when the 1890 map was drawn up. Grace would later give her property to UVM when she died in 1904 at age 73. Her land would be operated by UVM to develop Centennial Field and Centennial Forest. I went to both her and her husband’s grave at Green Mount Cemetery located nearby on Colchester Ave., also where the Edgcumbe family is buried.


Centennial field would solve UVM’s problem of a lack of space for athletic space and be home for the UVM Lake Monsters. The rest of my site would also be owned by Fred Fiske who would continue to operate the land as a farm until the 1920s. With the lack of agriculture more industries came into my site such as airlines and power lines. Vermont Electric company would come in and place power lines creating edge habitats. These edges would introduce early succession trees and new habitats for edge species such as catbirds currently present at my site during the spring and summer months. In addition, the area would be later disturbed by excess noise from Burlington Airport. However when UVM declared Centennial Forest as a protected area my site had time to regrow into healthy mature forrest with some signs of disturbance. Now it serves as a natural area for all those who want to escape  the urban setting of Burlington.

In terms of seasonal changes, winter is practically here and can be seen in the wildlife here. For the vegetation, all the herbaceous plants are non prevalent seen as in the phragmites all fallen over exposing the brook for me to see and the deciduous tree species have either lost all their leaves or lost their pigment such as beech trees. In terms of animal life there is limited bird populations such as warblers and thrushes leaving only the year-round birds such as nuthatches, chickadees, cardinals, and crows. For the physical properties the ground as frozen over making it difficult for excess water from rain and snow to infiltrate the soil creating large puddles are increase the current of Centennial Brook.




Broad Meadow Brook: Troiano Trail (New Location)

21 Nov

Opening of Troiano Trail showing hikers and dog tracks. This trail has phragmites on the left with Summacs and other native vegetation on the right. This trail is covered in gravel placed by Mass Audubon to allow persons with physical disabilities to come through as apart of their sensory trail.

Snags and phragmites in Broad Meadow Brook. This once flooded forrest provides habitat for wetland organisms such as sparrows, dragonflies, and frogs during the summer months. Now it serves a breeding area for water fowl such as mallards and wood ducks.

Staghorn sumac nearby Holy Name High School’s Wind Turbine. This nearby catholic school uses wind to store as electrical energy that runs the school completely and even is sold to the city of Worcester and underdeveloped areas.

For my new phenology spot, I chose Troiano trail at Broad Meadow Brook, a Mass Audubon Sanctuary. Broad Meadow Brook is a tributary that belongs to the Black Stone River watershed. Despite being in the urban metropolis of Worcester, MA it is a 400 acre wildlife sanctuary. Founded on Nashoba formation consisting of schist and gneiss bedrock formed during the Ordovician 485 million years ago now is home a thriving mix of forests, meadows, and wetlands. The area I was looking at was on Troiano which is a modified wetland with Broad Meadow Brook running through. This slow-moving stream promotes the growth of phragmites, sumacs, red and sugar maples, and a variety of different fern species. During the spring and summer months this is breeding grounds for bullfrogs, green frogs, northern water snakes, painted turtles, red-winged black birds, great-blue herons, beavers, muskrats, and more. This past summer I worked there as a camp consular working with kids ages five to twelve. This was a great experience working as an environmental educator. In the past, I have worked in labs and facilities dedicated to wildlife, yet at Broad Meadow Brook that was the first time I use my knowledge and work outside. During the summer we caught frogs, built boats, catches dragonflies, learn how to use binoculars to watch birds, and hopefully appreciate nature. I love the joy of seeing the faces of my campers glow in excitement, just as I was at their age about nature. As much as they learned from me my time at Broad Meadow Brook challenged me to learn more. Going through their extensive library and working outside I had the chance to learn more about New England Wildlife and become a better educator. Similar to my current phenology spot in Centennial Woods in Burlington it has challenged me to learn more such as tree species, bird calls, and history. Taking NR 1 has enriched me in the local natural and social histories of Burlington and has made me have a deeper connection with the area. I hope to have this same relationship with Broad Meadow Brook learning more about its social histories. Broad Meadow Brook has helped me foster being an educator and a student and I hope to deepen my connection to this place by learning more both its natural and social histories.

Elevated water level from melted snow. During the summer it was shallow allowing for crayfish, water striders, and other macro-invertebrates. In human use this brook was used for racing paper boats and crayfish catching.

The barrier on storm drain prevents active beavers from blocking incoming water. In the past beavers have blocked storm drains causing nearby Worcester streets to be overflowing with water. This barrier allows these beavers to continue to practice building dams, while allowing storm water to pass to be later treated.

End of Broad Meadow Brook that enters water treatment center located in the top left. This was a forested area taken over by flooding waters making this a wetland. This can be seen by the standing stags and grasses. Now it is occupied by wetland species such as mallards that can be found in this photo (look hard)!

Knowing that my current phenology spot has Centennial brook running through it I chose Troiano trail for it has Broad Meadow Brook running alongside the trail. Both being spots influenced by brooks these phenology spots have similarities and differences. Both Centennial brook Broad Meadow Brook are both tributaries located in urban areas (Burlington, VT and Worcester, MA). Both these brooks flow into larger water bodies where Centennial Brook runs into the Winooski River then into Lake Champlain and Broad Meadow Brook running into the Black Stone River then into the Atlantic Ocean. Originally both these lands were farmlands with Broad Meadow Brook being held by the Holdregde Family with Centennial Brook being used as fields for grazing sheep. Eventually, both these lands would be protected as wildlife sanctuaries under the institutions of Mass Audubon and UVM. Today they both makeup deciduous forests and riparian areas for research and education, yet differ in ecological status. Broad Meadow Brook has higher stream diversity in macro-invertebrates, fish, and etc. and reportedly better water quality than Centennial Brook. They do both have problems with excess amounts of phosphorous from runoff, yet Broad Meadow Brook has more biological diversity in terms of macro-invertebrates. In addition, the differences in forrest composition where Centennial Brook has more conifers such as eastern white pine and eastern hemlock than Broad Meadow Brook. This can be mostly explained due to human influence making Centennial Brook a more disturbed area than Broad Meadow Brook. Therefore, both these urban-based brooks are similar in land history and composition, yet differ in ecological status.

This tree has coppice in that it was once cut down for farming then regrew having two trunks.

Saw a pacing set of deer tracks and I decided to follow them off the trail for two-hundred yards. Following the tracks, I came across two does (female deer) in the underbrush. One looked back at me, while the other one continued to eat debris on the forest ground.

I guess I’m not the only one interested in the phenology of Troiano trail! Notable mentions of winter are breeding mallards and dark-eyed juncos. From being here over the summer I saw many species listed such as snapping turtles and red-winged blackbirds

This sign educates the public on invasive species also found in Burlington such as phragmites. One major invasive not mentioned is Japanese Knotweed.

This sign educates visitors about the local Blackstone River Watershed that Broad Meadow Brook feeds into. It shows the natural and historical significance of the watershed

Similar to our lab on pot-ash brook, Broad Meadow Brook emphasizes the importance of runoff water and solutions such as rain gardens.

Local Bird Species

Other species: Winter wren, hairy woodpecker, downey woodpecker, red-tailed hawk, goldfinch, house sparrow, great-blue heron, American crow, and black-capped chickadees.


Event Map and Update

30 Oct

Looking at my Phenology spot through an event map shows a more personal element between me and this location and shows readers what experiences they might have. Over the course of looking at my phenology spot from September till now I have an array of experiences I have put into this map and my photo gallery. Overall my experiences with my location belong within a marsh landscape and center around organismal interactions within the phragmites stands.


For the latest wildlife action at my phenology spot was an actively foraging pileated woodpecker. When hiking to my phenology spot along Centennial Brook I heard it drumming into a snag. With my phenology spot and the nearby area being wetlands it has drowned standing trees, which are now snags. These snags provided the pileated woodpecker a refuge for its favor meal carpenter ants. Pileated woodpeckers are not the only species that benefit from snags and I’m sure to see other wildlife use them throughout the year.

Pileated woodpecker drumming into snag on Centennial Brook

Other woodpecker species such as hairy, downey, and flickers drum into trees. These holes in this fallen tree were most likely done by hairy woodpeckers.


In terms of recent developments it is fall and the leaves are officially gone. Sumac and other deciduous trees are in the process of losing there leaves and fruiting bodies such as the seed pods in Sumacs. The only trees I do see that still hold onto their leaves is a lone white oak sapling, yet its leaves are losing their pigment fast. For the rest of the trees that are losing their leaves and receding their fruiting bodies bird species such as warblers and vireos are starting to migrate south for new food resources. Until then these trees provide food and shelter to many species such as grey and red squirrels and remaining bird species.

As it is getting colder Sumacs and other deciduous trees are starting to lose their leaves.


Bird’s Eye View Map and Update

11 Oct

Looking at my phenology spot it is a complex mix of staghorn sumacs, the phragmites of Centennial Brook, the different variety of different herbaceous and woody plants, and all being surrounded by pine stands. One notable difference I have seen in my location is the changing of the seasons. As it approaches further into fall the leaves of sumac and other deciduous trees are loosing their chlorophyll in their leaves exposing their other pigments. Normally we think of plants only having green pigment, yet fall reminds us of the many other pigments these trees have such as red, yellow, and orange. The sumacs still have the majority of their leaves unlike the the other deciduous trees in my location which have lost most of their leaves already most likely due to their young age.


One notable wildlife experience was seeing black-capped chickadees in the phragmites. With one little pishing call one by one they emerged from reeds to say hello. As active hunters I have seen them foraging in the sumacs, maples, and now the phragmites. Balancing themselves on the reeds they held still enough to be photographed. Up in the canopy I always ignored them, yet now I have a new appreciation of Vermont and my home state’s state bird. Coming up to them with their variety of calls only puts a smile on my face now and I can’t wait to see more of them in the winter and learn more about their natural history.

Black-Capped Chickadee 1 © Chris Liazos

Black-Capped Chickadee 2 © Chris Liazos

Black-Capped Chickadee 3 © Chris Liazos

Black-Capped Chickadee 4 © Chris Liazos

Black-Capped Chickadee 5 © Chris Liazos


My Phenology Spot

04 Oct

My Phenology Spot

Date of Observation 10/3/18

My phenology spot is a disrupted area by powerline companies. Clearing the once covered pine stands it is now filled predominately with staghorn sumac trees. Along this clearing Centennial Brook runs through providing key nutrients that help develop the rich variety of organisms. Along with sumacs other present woody vegetation are white oak, alder buckthorn, red maple, beaked hazelnut, northern red oak, a lone eastern white pine, phragmites, trembling aspen, American Elm, and Black Locust. Most of the hardwoods are not mature and stand roughly between ten and fifteen feet. The sumacs are the predominant species with a large amount of herbaceous plants on the ground level such as flattop white aster, sensitive fern, common bonset, Morrow’s honeysuckle, American hog peanut, and wild sasparilla. The main reason I choose this place was its incredible amount of biodiversity. Let alone the variety of vegetation it is home to a host of bird species including: catbirds, goldfinches, song sparrows, black-capped chickadees, Carolina wrens, yellowthroats, downy and hairy woodpeckers, wood ducks, American black ducks, ruby-throated hummingbirds, white-throated sparrow, cardinals, magnolia warblers, and more. I cannot wait to see what else is in this clearing.

Downy Woodpecker on Sumac © Chris Liazos


Proceed to I-89, Burlington, VT 05401. At the entrance, you should see a green sign welcoming you to the area. Walk down the trail until you hit your first junction. You will be in a pine stand and should continue to bear left onto a boardwalk. Soon you will hit another junction that is wide covered with fallen pine needles. Here walk straight onto the boardwalk crossing centennial brook. After crossing the brook continue straight to a three-point junction. Proceed to the route right of the brook on the base of the hill avoid the uphill trail. As walking on this trail, you will encounter the base of the hill and walk adjacent to the right side of the brook. You will continue this path until the white pines stop. You will see the phragmites and power lines on your left. Continue straight until you see the sumac thicket on your right. At this point you are at my phenology spot that oversees this hill next to centennial brook.

(Top Image) location facing centennial brook and the power lines.

(Bottom Image) location at the top of the hill facing the stag horn sumacs.

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