Belmont, Massachusetts Phenology Spot

November 23, 2018

Belmont, Massachusetts

In the Style of Mary Holland: Description of Belmont Phenology Spot

Located just 7 miles from downtown Boston, wildlife blooms in the Mass Audubon Habitat located in Belmont, Massachusetts. Turtle pond is located in this wildlife sanctuary.

Frogs and Turtles:

As the name suggests, the pond is home to a variety of turtles and frogs, including the ever dangerous snapping turtle. The pond freezes over in the brisk temperatures of November, so she needs to enter a dormant or low response state by lowering her metabolism and her heart rate. The winter here in Belmont reaches below zero degrees fahrenheit and other animals also deal with the cold in there own ways.

The Chipmunk:

The chipmunk can be seen in November eating as many sorts of fruit, nuts, and seeds. She needs to store as much food as possible in her stomach and burrow. She stuffs her cheeks with the food scavenged and brings it back to her burrow. Although she hibernates through the winter, she awakens every few days to raise her body temperature and feed on her scavenged food.

Eastern Grey Squirrel:

The eastern grey squirrel can also be seen feeding aggressively. She does not hibernate, but survives the harsh winter on her fat reserves, therefore it is important for her to find as much food as possible at this time to prepare for the harsher months again. Squirrels and chipmunks seen in Belmont are plump and prepared- there is much to feed on in the sanctuary. Although the icy temperatures have lead to a decrease in the humans visiting the area, there are still plenty animals alive and well in the Habitat.

A chimpmunk spotted today, feeding to prepare for the winter months ahead.
The frozen pond, which houses the snapping turtles.

In the Style of Aldo Leopold: Comparison of Burlington and Belmont

What a beautiful thing that nature is so similar yet so different across the world. In Burlington Vermont, the temperatures are far lower than in Belmont, Massachusetts, yet the phenology is remarkably similar. Both locations are within a sort of wildlife sanctuary: the UVM owned Centennial Woods, and the Mass Audubon owned Habitat. Because of this trait, the two locations are crowded with visitors and their respective dogs on their trails. The tree species are also similar: both locations contain paper birch, sugar maple, eastern hemlock, and eastern white pine among others. However, the differences in location are visible by the leaves. The leaves in Centennial woods have all fallen, but there are some leaves remaining in the warmer climate of Belmont. At the Belmont locations, there is a small birch stand. Although there are birch trees at Centennial, there are far more birches in Belmont. This may be because of the disturbances of trails being built here in the past. Another similarity of the two spots is the presence of water. The Centennial Brook flows through the woods in Burlington and the Turtle Pond is situated in Belmont. These bodies of water affect the wildlife by creating a home for aquatic creatures and provides a drinking source for the land living wildlife as well. The two spots in very different locations provide an insight to the phenology of Vermont versus that of Massachusetts.  

Turtle Pond, with a view of some pine and hemlock trees.
Mushrooms growing on a fallen paper birch.
A dog footprint frozen in mud, illustrating the human interference with the nature.
The paper birch grove.
leaves remaining on some trees.

Phenology Map google Maps Location


11/4/2018- Visit 3

Today I visited my phenology spot for a third time. It was beautiful weather, about 50 degrees and sunny at 12 pm on November 4, 2018. I was joined on my journey by a vistor today and we observed the trees continuing to change color and the leave coverage of the ground increased. Many other trees, like the yellow birch, have lost all their leaves. The massive amount of leaf loss this season has coated the ground in leaves and therefore making the O level of the soil very rich with material. The nutrients and iron from the decomposition of the leaves will over time increase the iron levels in the lower levels into the sublevels to create nutrients for the new generation of trees to grow in the soil.

For example, this oak tree still has some leaves, but they have changed color and are now a dark orange brown color: