Monday, April 23, 2012

Game Cam in Centennial Woods

What: I set my game cam up along a game trail on the southeast corner of Centennial Woods near the Sheraton. My hope was to capture some wildlife images to show who is using this part of the woods (there's a proposal up for discussion of an intermodal transit facility to be built that might encroach on the ecological boundaries of Centennial Woods; the assumption seems to be that no one uses it and that there's nothing there so why not develop it). See if you can tell what's in the photos below. Roll over images to see answer (the first one doesn't have anything but will help you see what's in the second one). The last two are of the same animal. And I know the photos aren't exactly prize winning, but I only had it up for two nights and I checked once. I'll leave it up another couple of weeks and then post what I find next.

nothingEastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus)

Eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus)

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginiana)White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginiana)

Ecological notes: The spot is a cool location in CW because it's one of the most remote sections of Centennial Woods, at least in terms of its proximity to trails. It's also one of the younger patches so there's ample browse for deer and cover for rabbits. I've tracked fishers up and down in this area. There's lots of goldenrod and milkweed blanketed the field. Closer to the woods it grades into a pretty young stand of quaking aspen (almost exclusively), with occasional white pine and white birch.

Other notes: On a recent trip to this spot a friend and I found a deer skeleton and a goldfinch nest. I went back out today and found another goldfinch nest and a cercropia moth cocoon! It would be an incredible gift to the community if UVM extended the boundaries of the Natural Area to include the land that is ecologically contiguous with the Natural Area boundary. Centennial Woods used to be 210 acres of land. It's been slowly cut up for roads, baseball fields, parking lots, powerlines, quarries, hotels, gas stations, and housing developments. At some point we'll regret our decisions and the next generation will never know what they're missing.

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