Introduction to the Centennial Thicket

A GPS map of where my site is (the JS is the actual centerpoint). Note that it is only a few hundred feet east of a residential housing community, and about a quarter mile north of Main Street.

My name is Jordan Spindel. I am an 18 year-old UVM freshman from New York, NY majoring in Environmental Science. One thing to know about me is that I am a big birdwatcher, and have been doing it for about 10 years. To partake in this hobby at UVM, I often go into Centennial Woods, just 10 minutes away from my dorm. This 90 acre plot of land is owned by the university and is filled with forests, streams, meadows, hills, and many other environments. Recently, I was given another reason to go into these woods. For my NR 001 class, I was asked to study the phenology of a certain spot around Burlington throughout the year. I immediately chose Centennial Woods, but I had to choose a specific spot to focus on. I chose a spot near the entrance of the woods that I would like to call “Centennial Thicket”, due to much of it being a small clearing with shrubs and small trees. This spot has you walking down a Buckthorn-lined hill that is partially made of steps carved into the soil. The intersection of forest and clearing allows many different types of plants and animals to be observed, especially birds.

Without further ado, here is my first report:

September 26, 2018, 8-9 am

Weather: Mostly cloudy, high 60s

Birds seen: Raven, Black-Capped Chickadee, Blackpoll Warbler,  Black-Throated Green Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, PHILADELPHIA VIREO, Blue-Headed Vireo, White-Throated Sparrow, Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Flicker

The trees in my spot consisted mostly of Ash, Boxelder, and Norway Maple, as well as one Northern Red Oak near the entrance and the edge of an Eastern White Pine stand on the other end. These trees were a mix of colors, but overall, most were green. The same goes to the shrubs  in the thicket (which also had some flowers like Goldenrod), and of course, the Eastern White Pines, which keep their green needles year-round. I observed many birds flitting around the thicket, mostly a mix of chickadees and warblers. I spotted a vireo briefly in there that was either a Warbling or an uncommon Philadelphia Vireo. As I tried to refind it, I heard what sounded like someone shouting in the woods. I looked up to find that it was not a person at all, but a pair of Common Ravens flying overhead! These birds are known for having a wide variety of vocalizations, to the point where they can even be trained to speak like parrots. Looking back at the flock, the vireo finally appeared again briefly, revealing the lemon-yellow throat that would make it a Philadelphia! This is actually my third Philadelphia Vireo in Centennial Woods, with the second one actually being seen yesterday. Right now, the woods are still lively with action and color, but will it still be later in the fall and in winter?

A drawn map of my spot as well as a sketch of the Philadelphia Vireo I saw



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