December, 2019: Describe your walk by adding a comment below

Each time you go out and make observations for this project, describe your walk by adding a comment to this post. Include the date, distance walked, and categories that you used for this walk.

Suggested format:
Date. Place. Distance walked today. Total distance for this project.
Brief description of the area, what you saw, what you learned, who was with you, or any other details you care to share.

Posted by erikamitchell erikamitchell, December 01, 2019 23:37



12/1/19. Adamant, VT. 1.8 miles today
Categories: birds, arthropods

This morning I bundled up for my weekly walk in Adamant. The temperature was 4F at 9 AM, so I waited until 11 AM. By then it was a balmy 15F. I stopped in at the co-op to see the "Little Shop Upstairs", our Christmas art pop-up store. They were having tea and cookies for opening day, but I didn't see any gluten free cookies, so I headed back out to search for birds. There wasn't much flying, but I managed to spot a couple of chickadees by the bird feeder across from the store. The sunflowers in a friend's garden also had a bunch of chickadees, plus a woodpecker in the corner. I walked out to the end of my usual route, but only managed to catch a blue jay, no other species. I also walked up to the Point on Adamant Pond. On the way out to the Point, I was delighted to find a spider on the snow. It was crawling, but barely, and patiently posed for a few photos. No action at all out on the lake, which is thoroughly frozen over and quite ready for skiing and ice fishing.

Posted by erikamitchell 14 days ago (Flag)

12/2/19. Berlin, VT. 3 miles today
Categories: emergent weeds, trees

This afternoon I managed to squeeze in a quick walk in Berlin near the airport just before dusk at 4 PM. With several inches of snow on the ground and not many trees near the road, there were very few unplanned plants to photograph. Still, I managed to find a few weeds standing above the snow, including Queen Anne's lace, chicory, bull thistle, burdock, mullein, sweet clover, and cow vetch. Trees for today were box elder, white pine, paper birch, buckthorn, basswood, and sugar maple. I had hoped to find some insects on the fresh snow, but the best I could come up with was honeysuckle aphid. Not even any goldenrod stem galls today. For tracks, all I found were some turkey tracks near the medical offices. Hmmm. I searched for unintentional plants outside the airport entrance and found 2 bad intentions (burning bush and barberry), and just a little cow vetch.

Posted by erikamitchell 13 days ago (Flag)

Hi all! I haven't had any time to post here but just wanted to say it's very impressive how much more ground you've covered Erika! I find myself using this data when doing wetland mapping stuff, too. It's a real resource.
Much of the walking i have been doing is back and forth in the house with a fussy baby, so most of my iNat over the last few months has been at work and with the field season done that's winding down. Next year!

Posted by charlie 12 days ago (Flag)

Enjoy the time with the baby, Charlie! How exciting to have 2 kids now. I had a great time chatting with Holly at the opening of the bike path. She's a cool kid!

I'm back to trying to walk new roads that I haven't walked before. So yes, lots more territory to cover. Glad to hear the data is useful for something!

Posted by erikamitchell 12 days ago (Flag)

12/3/19. Hill St Ext, Berlin, VT. 2.3 miles today
Categories: trees, fleshy fruits, galls

This afternoon I took a brisk walk along Hill St Ext, or, as Google currently calls it, Hill Saint Ext. I hoped to find some arthropods on the fresh snow, as I'm sure I would have in Calais, but the snow had been plowed and was messy, so it was hard to pick out any living black specks on it. Today's walk was a whole lot more interesting than yesterday's, even though I was probably barely 2 miles distant. More woods, more trees, more life.

For trees today, I found red maple, sugar maple, balsam fir, white pine, Scots pine, hemlock, red spruce, white cedar, beech, black cherry, sumac, paper birch, gray birch, white ash, elm, and alder. Fleshy fruits were buckthorn, highbush cranberry , grapes, European barberry, multiflora rose, and honeysuckle. Galls were 2 kinds of goldenrod galls, plus some big honking galls throughout a Scots pine plantation. I think they might be Trisetacus pini, which is typically a European species, but GBIF shows a few specimens observed in North America. Unfortunately, my photos of the pine galls are lousy, so I don't think they can be confirmed. Tracks for today were turkey, lots of them.

Posted by erikamitchell 12 days ago (Flag)

That's so neat that you got to talk to Holly at that walk.

Posted by charlie 12 days ago (Flag)

12/4/19. Portal Rd, Middlesex, VT. 2.1 miles today
Categories: 100 paces, galls, fleshy fruits

Today I walked the second part of Portal Rd outside of Montpelier. It was an out-and-back walk, so I decided to try shooting a new woody species every 100 paces on the way out. More or less. On the way back, I searched and searched for arthropods on the snow, but no luck. For trees I found balsam fir, yellow birch, Japanese knotweed, box elder, sugar maple, white pine (dead), red spruce, hop hornbeam, black cherry, hemlock, beech, apple, white ash, sumac, crabapple, white birch, basswood, alder, and hawthorn. Galls today were goldenrod flower gall, goldenrod stem gallhoneysuckle gall, willow cone galls, and willow stem galls. Fleshy fruits were highbush cranberry, and bittersweet nightshade. All the grapes were gone, and for once, I found no buckthorn. The tracks of the day were white-tailed deer, and I actually remembered to bring my measuring stick so I didn't have to shoot my boot beside the deer tracks.

Posted by erikamitchell 11 days ago (Flag)

12/5/19. Belknap Rd, Berlin, VT. 1.7 miles today
Categories: arthropods on snow, trees

This afternoon I took a walk under the snow drops near Berlin Pond. Conditions were perfect for arthropoding--just enough fresh snow to make a new white layer, but not enough for the plow trucks to be out. Just a minute or two after I left my car, I found my first arthropod, a fly. I managed to find 3 flies, lots of spiders, and a micro moth during the walk. I was concentrating so much on the ground looking for insects that I hardly saw any plants. Still, Belknap Rd was quite nice, and worth returning to in the summer when plowing isn't an issue. As I was heading up the road, I met up with a very bow-legged guy with one eye who was also out for a walk. He told me that he used to live up this road, and that even though there was a gate across it, it was still a public road. But the police have a shooting range along it, which is why the gate. Hmmm. Beyond the gate, the road was not plowed, but the snow wasn't too deep yet and there was a clear foot path. Lots of hemlock forest with yellow birch and a river running through it.

Posted by erikamitchell 10 days ago (Flag)

12/6/19. Culver Hill Rd, Middlesex, VT. 2.5 miles today
Categories: trees, fleshy fruits

This afternoon I went exploring up Culver Hill Rd, which turned out to be a quite scenic hill along a stream to the west of Wrightsville Reservoir. The road wound through a hemlock forest in the lower reaches, then a few more trees were added to the mix. I hunted and hunted for arthropods on the fresh snow, but no luck today. I think perhaps the flurries were too thick for them. Trees today were hemlock, white ash, paper birch, balsam fir, speckled alder, beech, yellow birch, white pine, apple, box elder, trembling aspen, red spruce, sugar maple, red maple, and staghorn sumac. Fleshy fruits were grapes. No luck with tracks today--the old ones were covered by new flakes and there weren't any new ones yet.

Posted by erikamitchell 9 days ago (Flag)

12/7/19. Mallory Brook Trail, East Montpelier, VT. 1.8 miles today
Categories: arthropods, fleshy fruits

This morning I met up with our Saturday morning hiking group to walk the Mallory Brook Trail in East Montpelier. There were 6 of us walkers this morning, which was a good thing since, as we remembered too late, it is still hunting season. Fortunately, it was just musket season--rifle season is over, thank goodness. But the property is marked hunters welcome, so it was just crawling with hunters. As a large, loud group, we probably weren't at too much risk, but I'm sure we annoyed some hunters as we walked through their action. It's just so hard to keep out of the woods!

With the fresh snow yesterday, it was prime hunting season for arthropods on snow. We found 2 green caterpillars (fallen off of trees?), 2 Acleris micro moths, and lots of Tetragnatha spiders. We also found some grapes, lots of buckthorn fruits, and some highbush cranberries back at the parking lot. Plenty of tracks today, including deer, snowshoe hair, and squirrels.

Posted by erikamitchell 8 days ago (Flag)

12/8/19. Adamant, VT. 1.6 miles today
Categories: birds, tracks, frosted fruits

This morning I took my weekly bird walk in Adamant. Once again, the temperature was hovering around 0F in the morning, so I waited until 2 digits appeared before I ventured out. There wasn't much stirring, though. A few blue jays and chickadees were hanging around at feeders. I finally managed to catch a chickadee eating seeds in a tamarack tree, and a bluejay picking through a tent caterpillar nest. A pair of goldfinches flew by, but I wasn't able to catch them. Instead, I turned my attention to the frosted fruits, and shot some honeysuckle, highbush cranberries, and grapes. For tracks today, I found white-tailed deer, squirrel, mouse?, and something that left a pile in the road.

Posted by erikamitchell 7 days ago (Flag)

12/9/19 Barre, VT. 2.9 miles today
Categories: trees, fleshy fruits, tracks

This afternoon I drove out to Barre for a walk in the freezing drizzle. I am exploring some of the blank areas on the map, and this one was quite, quite blank. I found nothing unexpected, but it was still nice to get out. On the map, it looked like I'd be on dirt roads, but unfortunately, the second half of my route was on pavement. The posted speed limit was 40 mph, but folks were all trying to go at least 60--if they could get their cars to go that fast.

Trees today were basswood, gray birch, sugar maple, buckthorn, white ash, Scots pine, white cedar, beech, hemlock, Norway spruce, speckled alder, ninebark, tamarack, apple, elm, yellow birch, fir, white pine, paper birch, trembling aspen, hop hornbeam, and box elder. Tracks were squirrels, corvids (crow?), deer, and turkey. For fruits, I found grapes, highbush cranberry, and honeysuckle. I guess there were some surprises--I found a witchhazel bush and also a lilac bush, both seemingly wild.

Posted by erikamitchell 6 days ago (Flag)

1/10/19. Montpelier Bike Path, Montpelier VT. 1.9 miles today
Categories: fruits, galls, arthropods

This afternoon I took a short walk down the Montpelier bike path from the new end by Gallison Hill Rd to Hunger Mt Co-op. Parts were slushy, parts very icy, and parts plowed. They're still trying to figure out how much winter grooming they are going to do on the trail. I found two kinds of goldenrod stem galls and some crabapples. I also found some basswood fruits and some poison ivy fruits way up in a tree. Usually, our poison ivy doesn't climb much around here, but I guess it must be very happy along the river. I was also delighted to find a harvestman crawling along the snow.

Posted by erikamitchell 4 days ago (Flag)

i noticed that about the trail too. Either maintain it for winter walking, or don't plow it and try to groom it somehow for xc ski. I Guess they will get it straightened out, one problem is that center section which presumably they have to plow since i think it goes to someone's house too, right?

Posted by charlie 4 days ago (Flag)

No more house there. They condemned it. Then took it down. I think that was all part of making the trail happen. It was the middle part that was sheer ice, driven on but not plowed. The sidewalk part from Hunger Mt was plowed clear. The sidewalk part after the bridge was ignored but not driven on, so it was slushy rather than icy.

Posted by erikamitchell 4 days ago (Flag)

12/11/19. Bean Rd, Plainfield VT. 3.3 miles today
Categories: trees, galls

This afternoon, I set off to explore Gonyeau Rd in Plainfield, but realized when I got close that that road doesn't really go through, even though it looks like a road in the satellite view. On the other hand, Bean Rd does go through to Marshfield, even though the satellite view shows it as a trail. Actually, the last part of the road isn't drivable, at least not by a Prius, so I guess it is a trail with tracks running down the center. But still more of a road than Gonyeau. Bean was a lovely road, surprisingly flat, I think maybe the only flat road in Plainfield. Trees today were beech, fur, hop hornbeam, red spruce, hemlock, white ash, basswood, paper birch, white cedar, white pine, yellow birch, sugar maple, striped maple, elm, alder, apple, trembling aspen, and black cherry. Galls were willow cone gall, goldenrod stem gall, goldenrod flower gall, and alder tongue gall. Tracks were white-tailed deer, exceptionally clear in the frozen sand. The surprise of the day was the complete lack of Japanese knotweed or buckthorn.

Posted by erikamitchell 4 days ago (Flag)

ah, yeah it didn't really make sense to have one house there and that huge river-buffer-destroying road just for that, if it was avoidable

Posted by charlie 4 days ago (Flag)

12/12/19. Berlin Pond Rd, Berlin VT. 2.2 miles today
Categories: trees, galls, fleshy fruits

This afternoon I went hunting for a couple of roads that appear on Google maps to the east edge of Berlin Pond. But the roads aren't for real--they're just driveways. That left me on Berlin Pond Rd, so I took a brisk walk along the southern reaches of the pond. Still scenic. I found elm, beech, white cedar, sumac, yellow birch, white birch, basswood, alder, black ash, white ash, buckthorn, hawthorn, white pine, sugar maple, black cherry, red spruce, and hemlock. For fruits, I found highbush cranberry, crabapples, grapes, apples, winterberry, and barberry. Plus some Japanese lantern, probably cultivated, in the ditch along the road. Galls today were alder tongue gall, goldenrod stem gall, goldenrod flower gall, and willow cone gall. I also found some clear squirrels tracks and some deer tracks.

Posted by erikamitchell 2 days ago (Flag)

12/13/19. East Hill Rd, Plainfield, VT. 2.4 miles today
Categories: trees, fleshy fruits, galls

This afternoon I went back out to Plainfield to walk another stretch of East Hill Rd. This is a very long road--I think it will take 4-5 sessions to walk the entire length. There are wonderful long views from this road on good weather days. But not so long today. For trees today, I found beech, yellow birch, white birch, white ash, white cedar, elm, black cherry, hop hornbeam, hemlock, red spruce, Scots pine, buckthorn, sugar maple, striped maple, trembling aspen, fir, staghorn sumac, tamarack, and alder. Fruits were grape (plus buckthorn and sumac). Galls were willow pine gall and goldenrod stem gall. The tracks of the day were white-tailed deer in some very dirty snow.

Posted by erikamitchell about 22 hours ago (Flag)

12/14/19. George Rd, Calais, VT. 9 miles today
Categories: birds, fleshy fruits, tracks, fungi

Today was the Christmas bird count in Calais. Last year for the Christmas bird count, I walked about 10 miles. Then 2 days later, I nearly collapsed after walking less than half that distance. It's been a challenging year, but I think I can finally say I'm back and well on my way to recovery. The key seems to be a gluten-free diet. I probably have had celiac for years, if not my entire life. Perhaps it was the stress of too much walking last fall that finally pushed me over the edge with too much inflammation. Or maybe the chronic gut inflammation just caught up with me. In any case, this was a major milestone for me today, to be able to walk as far as I cared to without feeling weak.

It was a lovely day for a walk, 35F and pouring rain, or was it freezing rain? I was glad for crampons and my measuring/hiking stick. I walked with a naturalist from Montpelier, a birding expert who could call in flocks of chickadees and their friends. We saw lots of chickadees, got surrounded by golden-crowned kinglets, and found 75 starlings by the dairy farm. But due to the rain, I only had my underwater camera with me, so the only birds I could actually shoot were some chickadees and the flock of turkeys. We also found lots of fungi, including some birch polypores, red coral fungus, witch's butter, oyster mushrooms, artist's conk, Peniophora rufa, a little yellow asco, and some Tremella foliosa. I shot plenty of coyote tracks, also some deer, grouse, and red squirrel tracks. Fruits today were highbush cranberry, buckthorn, grapes, common barberry, bittersweet nightshade, and black cherries.

Posted by erikamitchell about 21 hours ago (Flag)

Yikes! My wife can't eat gluten either, she doesn't have full blown celiacs but gets inflammation issues

Posted by charlie about 20 hours ago (Flag)

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments

Is this inappropriate, spam, or offensive? Add a Flag