Observation Three

November 4, 2018


43 F

Cool fall day, slight wind


When I arrived at my phenology site and parked my car, I immediately noticed that the trees in the area had lost most of their leaves. The autumn colors were no longer in the branches, but instead covered the dirt path down to the open field. A smattering of trees still had a few leaves, but the color had turned to dull tones of yellow and orange. Only, the big Maple in the middle of the field was still holding its beautiful orange leaves. The visibility in the woods has greatly increased and I had sight lines in all directions, as compared to earlier visits to the site. Most of the undergrowth has dropped their leaves and the same is true for the mature trees (except for the bright Maple). In my observation spot, the trees are much more “sticky,” the spiny branches that just weeks ago were hidden by the foliage are now in clear view –which means it is closer to snow season!


I was not surprised by the changes. It is like this week’s wind and rain helped to push the landscape from autumn to winter. The autumn magic show is almost over. Sitting quietly I thought about the magic of the fall season. It is amazing it to me that nature and the system of photosynthesis (the decrease of chlorophyll) creates this beauty. The falling temperatures during the season and the decreased sunlight cause a drop in chlorophyll which triggers the leaves to change color. The pigments are there in the leaves the entire growing season; they just don’t appear until the amount of chlorophyll decreases in the leaves.


Another major change was the water level in the Winooski River. The rain from the previous days contributed to the rising water level. This got me thinking about where the runoff was entering the river. Both sides of the Winooski River, from my observation, are pretty flat with no hard surfaces. I’m thinking that it must be coming from somewhere upstream.


All was quiet related to wildlife, except for a squirrel that I could not quite snag a picture of.


Heart of fall


Leaves of green shades unnamed

Remain in view


Change comes slowly

yet to reveal Vermont’s blaze


What is hidden

below the surface?

Confused by temperature.

Waiting to ignite

the heart of fall

Short Video of the River


The lonesome maple in the field

View of the high water level

The forest from the trail on the walk in