Journal archives for April 2019

April 18, 2019

Journal Week #2

This week, we went back to the Biocube that we placed in the deciduous forest last time. We had placed the Biocube in between two trees, one with moss growing on it and one with a type of fungus growing on it. When we went back, the Biocube looked the same and in the same place. Leaves were different, probably due to the wind blowing them around on the ground. Otherwise, not much change visibly occurred in that one week.
We began our second week with 15 minutes of reflection time. I sat on a fallen trunk, the same one I had sat at last time and looked out into the river with the beaver dam. This time, it was faster for my mind to settle and listen to the sounds around me than it was last time. I think last time, I had never done something like that in so long that my mind just did not know how to settle. This time, I was expecting it and more prepared. It was less windy out, so I was not as cold. I heard the water rushing from the little waterfall made from the pipe on one side of the beaver lodge. It was a slow rumble like rushing sound. I also heard this high pitched tweeting almost back and forth between two birds. I remember looking over to the sound and it was at a bush by the beaver lodge. There were two very small puffy yellow birds flying from branch to branch and communicating with each other. Then, a third yellow bird flew over and the three of them were fluttering around each other. Their bright yellow color was stunning. I watched as they called out to each other and just almost danced from branch to branch with each other. I had never seen a yellow bird before, so I thought that was really cool. I thought it was very calming to just look at the three birds flying around each other on the bush. I remember looking up at one point because I heard a very distinct bird call over and over again. It was a high pitched almost shrieking call. It was one long verse rather than multiple short repetitive calls. I watched as James reached for the binoculars, even though it was still our 15 minutes. We were both interested in the bird at hand. I took out my phone to take a video of it circling above us. It was dark colored with white wing and tail accents. It had a large wingspan. The bird's call was loud and unique, and we thought it could be some type of hawk. However, we still did not talk to keep the 15 minutes silence, even though we did move. The bird was very far up but I still got some good footage of it, although a little blurry.
After our 15 minutes, we went around our land area to see if we could find things we did not notice last week. One interesting thing I found was on the slope of the ground going down into the river was a very small hole, about the diameter size of my thumb. There was a leaf covering it and a stick inside it, but once I moved those out of the way, it was a very obvious purposeful hole that an animal definitely had dug. Peg told us it was likely a mole or vole but more likely a vole. A mole's hole would be more of a semi-circle shape and have messy dirt pile around the hole. The vole is more circular and there was no dirt around the hole. The hole was so small so I felt good about catching it with my eye. It was also crazy to think that this hole was evidence of voles, even though we did not see much life, there is so much going on in the deciduous forest we can only catch through footprints and holes, etc.
Another plant we came across was skunk cabbage. There was a whole area of skunk cabbage growing in a flat shallow dip in the ground. Some were green and just blooming from the ground while others were a deeper purple and higher up off the ground. They smelled for sure. We talked about how we had not seen that last time and how we could have missed such a vibrant purple plant color.
I also found three woodpecker holes on a fallen branch. Another fallen branch had more beaver teeth markings. I realized so many fallen branches we could see as just things in our way and having to step over, but if we look closer, there is so much to look at. A lot of fallen branches have mosses or fungi growing on them, some have beaver markings, some have bugs and even woodpecker holes. This made me realize that everything is important, even if it has fallen on to the ground. Sometimes the most abundant things we overlook, such as broken branches on the forest floor, can hold a lot of information.
As James pointed out, there were lots of different trees in the area we were at as well. One that stood out to me was the shagbark hickory, which was known through its right angle branches. I hadn't noticed them until someone pointed it out and then I realized how it was very different from the other trees around us. The right angle branches were actually very outstanding.
I am excited to go back tomorrow to see what other new things I can pick up on since the second week showed me there is still so much to see and hear.

Posted on April 18, 2019 02:52 by xjzhu xjzhu | 7 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment