Spring Break Phenology

        My spring phenology site is not new, it is the same one as my Thanksgiving phenology site. It is an old farm, that’s what it has always been since its beginning over a hundred years ago at the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk rivers in upstate New York. The only thing that it currently produces, due to the farmer’s old age, is hay. The lower fields are part of the river flood plain, all of the wood lots on the farm are classic northern hardwood forests.
        There seemed to be an average amount of bird activity for the winter months. Two male cardinals were busy chasing one another in and around trees and the meadow edge, one probably protecting his territory as spring and the mating season approaches. A pileated wood pecker was busy inspecting multiple trees, including a dead black cherry and a paper birch (both were part of hedgerows). In addition to those two species, a flock of red-winged blackbirds were flying about, still awaiting for the spring thaw to come after a blizzard came through a couple days earlier, dropping twenty (plus) inches of new powder. Unfortunately due to all of their skittish or excited nature or there far distance, I was unable to photograph any of these three species. Finally, in the effort to not dis-include the resident “big bird” of the area, there were three to four sets of tracks of wild-turkeys crisscrossing the site, the tracks seem to indicate that there was at least one male turkey among them due to the longer middle toe of the track (see the picture below). In addition to all of the bird activity, there was evidence of a lot of white-tailed deer activity at the site as well, a well established deer trail cut right through the opening of a field and running parallel to a small creek and hedgerow, it is pictured below as well.
        The trees and shrubs that exist at the site have yet to start budding for the upcoming spring. But there was a lot of die back from winter’s wrath. There was a considerable amount of broken off branches and twigs. Last season’s fruits were partially, since some was eaten by birds and small mammals or have fell off, still hanging on vines and at the end of branches.
 

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