Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary (Topsfield, MA)

Date Visited: July 16, 2016

Location: Mass Audubon, 87 Perkins Row, Topsfield, MA (about half an hour north of Boston, MA and an hour southeast of Manchester, NH) 978-887-9264

Hours: presently,  Tues–Fri, 9 am–4 pm
weekends & Mon holidays, 9 am–5 pm

November-April
Tues-Sun & Mon holidays, 9 am-4 pm

May-October
Tues–Fri, 9 am–4 pm
weekends & Mon holidays, 9 am–5 pm

Trails
Tues-Sun, & Mon holidays, dawn to dusk

Cost:

Members: Free
Nonmembers:
$4 Adults
$3 Children (2-12)
$3 Seniors (65+)

Parking: There are about 50 parking spots.  You shouldn’t have too much of a hard time finding parking unless there is an event or summer camp is in session

Size: 12 square miles

Time To Allot For Visit: I was there 5 hours and I still didn’t see everything but you can take in most of the best parts of the park in 2 to 3 hours

Dog Friendly: No, most Audubon parks are not dog friendly

Highlights: bodies of water, plentiful wildlife, pretty flowers and plants, observation tower, canoe rentals (if you’re a Mass Audubon member)

From the moment I walked to the visitor center at the Mass Audubon Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, I encountered wildlife.  In fact, I found this rabbit chewing on some greenery in the shrub by the office.

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That is the great thing about Ipswich River Sanctuary.  If you’re an animal lover, or even if you just like them a little, then you will love this place.

Not only are the animals abundant, they are also relatively friendly and not all that shy.  Well, most of them weren’t too shy.

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The well-fed red squirrel let me get very close to him or her, so long as I didn’t affect his or her food supply.  A lady who had been sitting there on the bridge wall before I arrived has been intentionally leaving seeds or some other type of food the squirrel was enjoying which allowed me to get some great shots.  Thanks, random lady!

There are also a wide variety of bugs and other insects at the park.  Bug spray and covering up are a must (I especially suggest a hat since one particular bug kept landing in my hair).  And most bug sprays don’t stop all bugs.  The black insect below was particularly menacing.  Also, I never saw so many dragon flies in one spot as I did at Ipswich River Sanctuary but they were pretty harmless.

There are some beautiful views and plant life at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary.  The colors of the flowers really pop out and the trails are well defined.  Many of these pretty features of the landscape were created 15,000 years ago by a glacier.

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You can also rent canoes, if you are a member, for $10/hour for a minimum of 2 hours.  So, the cost is $20 or more.  You pay for the canoes at the front office and then you have to lug the paddles and life vests along with a key to the where the canoes are locked up (about a half a mile or so away) at the canoe launch.  The canoe launch is right next to where the canoes are locked up.

One thing I have seen at other parks that is present at Ipswich are bat boxes.  These bat boxes are designed to give daytime roots for little brown bats.  Bats are important because they eat lots of mosquitoes and other insects, the plaque next to the boxes explains (then get more bats there please).  Little brown bats have been the victims of white nose syndrome,an illness which has been affecting brown bats while they hibernate during the winter.  The cause is not yet known.  So, the boxes are meant to give them a safe and convenient way for them to rest.  The boxes were constructed by Eagle Scout Sean Enos and Boy Scout Troop 48 of Lynnfield, MA.  The lumber was donate by a local business.

There is also an observation tower at Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary.  The three story tower built of wood is a little shaky but safe.  The tower overlooks a swamp and meadow.  There wasn’t much wildlife except for the very occasional bird  (I included photos of the egret and other bird who landed in the water in the earlier slideshow).  I think that is you had unlimited time and a lot of patience as well as a good set of binoculars (I didn’t have any of those things) you could see a few grand birds.

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One of the things I noticed and I had not seen before my trip to Ipswich are pink water lilies.  I have seen white water lilies but never saw the pink water lilies until my visit there.

Like most Mass Audubon sanctuaries, the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary is well kept and family friendly.  The grounds are well manicured and there is even a play area for children.  They also have a summer camp program where they teach children about nature in a fun and exciting way.  All in all, the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary is a fun and exciting place for people of all ages.

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About New England Nomad

Hi I'm Wayne. Welcome to my blog. I am a true New Englander through and through. I love everything about New England. I especially love discovering new places in New England and sharing my experiences with everyone. I tend to focus on the more unique and lesser known places and things in New England on my blog. Oh yeah, and I love dogs. I always try to include at least one dog in each of my blog posts. I discovered my love of photography a couple of years ago. I know, I got a late start. Now, I photograph anything that seems out of the ordinary, interesting, beautiful and/or unique. And I have noticed how every person, place or thing I photograph has a story behind it or him or her. I don't just photograph things or people or animals. I try to get their background, history or as much information as possible to give the subject more context and meaning. It's interesting how one simple photograph can evoke so much. I am currently using a Nikon D3200 "beginner's camera." Even though there are better cameras on the market, and I will upgrade some time, I love how it functions (usually) and it has served me well. The great thing about my blog is you don't have to be from New England, or even like New England to like my blog (although I've never met anyone who doesn't). All you have to like is to see and read about new or interesting places and things. Hopefully, you'll join me on my many adventures in New England! View all posts by New England Nomad

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