Galen and I made a nice loop in the town forest yesterday (April 13), checking out the sites east of Upper Plains Road. We found two more clusters of wood frog egg masses in the high vernal pool, one with seven masses and one with three. These had been deposited since my visit on April 7. There were no egg masses in the lower pools, including the one south of the quartzite canyon. These pools are shallower and probably won’t last as long as the uppermost pool.
To the west of the canyon we found a charred stump, evidence of an old forest fire. There is another charred stump on the other side of the canyon, but they are the only ones I have found. Maybe the fire did not spread far, or maybe other evidence of the fire has been lost. The stumps were well rotted, so they probably record a fire from the mid-twentieth century.
In the hemlock grove at the eastern boundary of the town forest, we found a couple of large, old hemlocks that I had not noticed before. That makes a total of five hemlocks that are about 300 years old. There are lots of trees in that stand that are about 200 years old, so it is probably the oldest forest in Salisbury. The stand also includes cut stumps dating from the last 60 years, so it is not an undisturbed forest.
The weather has been so good I expected to see lots of plants blooming. We found some trailing arbutus in bloom, but no other wildflowers. The next week will doubtless see more flowers.