Category Archives: ducks

Hubbard Park (Meriden, CT)

Date Of Visit: August 12, 2017

Location: 843 W. Main St, Meriden, CT (about 30 minutes southwest of Hartford, CT)

Hours: Open daily sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a small parking lot for about a dozen cars at the front of the park.  There is additional parking along the side of the park and at the back of the park.

Park Size/Trails: 1,803 acres, easy trails

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Website: Hubbard Park

Highlights: lake, birds, trails, pool, tennis courts, play area for children, dinosaur track, picnic spots

Tips:

  • There is ample parking allowed in the back of the park
  • You need a special pass to use the pool at the park and it’s not open during the weekends
  • A trail that you can hike or drive up takes you to Castle Craig

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Hubbard Park in Meriden, CT, is not your average park.  With its trails, bodies of water, recreation areas and a winding trail to Castle Craig, Hubbard Park is a great place to spend the entire day.

There are streams, bridges and trails to the right of the entrance to the park.

The lake at Hubbard Park, Mirror Lake, is the highlight of the park.  Turtles, birds and frogs inhabit the lake and fountains are placed throughout the lake.

Hubbard Park attracts a lot of birds, particularly Canadian Geese.

But, there are more than just Canadian Geese at the park.

The ducks, geese and other birds are so used to being around people, and being fed by people I suspect, that they seem to be waiting for people to feed them.

This goose was tired from all of the activity at the park.

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There are also dinosaur tracks at the park.  The origins of the tracks remain a mystery.  You can see the prints in the puddles from rain earlier in the day.

Walter Hubbard, president of the Bradley & Hubbard Manufacturing Company, donated most of the land at the park in 1901.  John Olmsted, the son of Frederick Law Olmsted who designed Central Park, helped design Lake Meriden.

From the park, you can see the jewel of the Hubbard Park area, Castle Craig.  In my next post, we will explore this beautiful tower.

Dogs are allowed at Castle Craig.  Because of its ample space and wide trails, Hubbard Park is a great place to take your dog.  Below are just two of the many dogs we saw there.

Mollie is a 9 and a half year old Dalmatian.

Beck is a 10 year old Border Collie mix.

Today’s featured link is Out And About Mom.   Out and About Mom explores the many family friendly spots in Connecticut.  A few years ago, she posted about the Festival Of Silver Lights, a family friendly light display at Hubbard Park.


Puffer’s Pond/Factory Hollow Pond (Amherst, MA)

Dates Of Visits: May 24 & 29, 2017

Location: Mill St, Amherst, MA (about half an hour north of Springfield, MA and an hour and a half southwest of Boston, MA)

Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a designated parking area for handicapped accessible vehicles.  All other vehicles should park on the side of the road on the right hand side of the road.  There is room for a dozen or more cars to park on this road.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes.  There is a paved path and designated parking for handicapped accessible vehicles.

Dog Friendly: No.  But, dogs are allowed on the Robert Frost trail that circles the pond.

Highlights: wildlife, fishing,trails,pond

Website: Puffer’s Pond

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Once the site of a village inhabited by the Norwottuck tribe, Puffer’s Pond (also known as Factory Hollow Pond, is now a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts, nature lovers and hikers.

Puffer’s Pond is a small yet charming pond.  It is only 11 acres large and the water is an average depth of 5 feet deep with a maximum depth of more than 20 feet.

There are several access points to the pond.  The easiest most straightforward way to the pond is to park on Mill St and enter through the main entrance on that street.  There is also an access point farther up on Mill St with a wooden walkway.

The pond is home to herons, mallards, turtles, frogs, a variety of birds and an otter or two among other animals.

Walking through the park, we noticed a disturbance in the water and a head peaking above the water.

It appears to be an otter because when the mammal dove back under water the tail didn’t look like a beaver’s tail.

The views from Puffer’s Pond are beautiful.

The pond is also a great place to fish.  This particular fisherman didn’t have any luck (score one for the fish!).  Better luck next time.

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However, this fisherman had better luck.

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Or, you can go there to look out on the pond with a special someone.

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The Robert Frost Trail, a 47 mile trail that runs from the Connecticut River in South Hadley,MA to Wendell State Forest in Wendell, MA, runs past Puffer’s Pond.  Although it is a very long trail, the section of the trail that runs past the pond is very short (about .8 miles each way).  While dogs are not allowed in Puffer’s Pond they are allowed on the walking trails around the pond.

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Feeding Time At Stanley Park (Westfield, MA)

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Date Of Visit: December 28, 2016

Location: 400 Western Ave, Westfield, MA (about 2 hours west of Boston, MA and about 20 minutes west of Springfield, MA)

Cost: Free

Hours: Presently open everyday 8 a.m. -4:30 p.m. (hours change depending upon the season)

Parking: There are a few different parking areas.  The main parking lot on Western Ave has room for about 200 cars.

Handicapped Accessible: The playground area, fields and picnic areas are but the trails and many of the walkways are not.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: hiking trails, birds, wildlife, pond, flower garden, statues

Often considered the jewel of Westfield, Massachusetts, Stanley Parkis one of the prettiest parks in Western Massachusetts and it looks even more picturesque after a snowfall.

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Due to the recent cold spell and snow, the pond and much of the vegetation at Stanley Park had been iced over so they were eager to get some food.  As a disclaimer, most parks do not encourage you to feed birds.  But, if you do, there are certain foods you should never feed to ducks.  Bread is the biggest no-no on most list.  These are some better foods to feed to birds.

At any rate, visitors like to feed the birds at Stanley Park and that gave me an usually good chance to photograph some beautiful ducks.

There were so many birds congregating at the pond waiting for a nibble of food.

Luckily, one of the visitors at the park, Jim, brought some food for the hungry birds.

 

Jim’s dog took the birds in stride.

I have photographed Stanley Park before and, since it is very close to my mom’s house, I always try to make a visit out there as often as I can.So, you may sees posts about this park from time to time.

Stanley Park, or Stanley as it is more commonly known as, is a popular spot for dogs like Sansa is a 5 month old Siberian Husky.

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Below is a video of feeding time at Stanley Park:

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Chestnut Hill Reservation (Allston/Brighton, MA)

Date Visited: September 24, 2016

Location: Beacon St, Brighton, MA

Hours: open everyday dawn until dusk

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a free parking lot next to the reservation that accomodates about 100 vehicles, there is additional metered off street parking

Park Size:20 acres, 1.5 circular trail loop

Time To Allot For Visit: 1 to 2 hours

Trail Difficulty: Easy

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: nice views, reservoir, easy circular trail, popular with cyclists, joggers and dog walkers, lots of birds and other wildlife, shoreline fishing is permitted

Lowlights: trail can get congested

Web Site: Chestnut Hill Reservation

Trail Map: Chestnut Hill Reservation Trail Map

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Created in 1870 on marshes and meadowland to provide the city of Boston with an additional water supply, the Chestnut Reservior, the reservoir now acts as a pretty body of water encircled by a 1.5 mile circular trail loop.  The reservoir was taken off line in 1978 and is no longer needed for a water supply for the city of Boston.  But, it is still maintained as an emergency backup source for water.  Now, a plethora of birds and other aquatic animals thrive in the reservoir.

While the reservoir itself is only located in the Boston area, Chestnut Hill area of the park, which includes parts of Boston, Brookline and Newton, includes a swimming pool, skating rink.

The reservation has some beautiful views of the Brighton/Allston, Chestnut Hill and surrounding areas.  The clouds provided a pretty, albeit threatening, touch.  There are pretty flowers along the trail and, as you can see from some of the photos, the circular loop around the reservoir is very easy with only subtle, if any, inclines.  You can see the two skyscrapers of Boston (the John Hancock Tower – the glassy blue colored building on the left – and the Prudential Tower – the brownish building with the long antenna on the right).  You can also see the stylish top of one of the buildings of the Boston College campus in the first few photos of this group.

There is also an abundance of wildlife at the reservoir.  Mallards, Cormorants, Canadian Geese and a variety of other birds inhabit the reservoir.

This Cormorant had just got his or her lunch.  In the last photo the Coormorant had eith er lost the fish or just swallowed it (you can choose to believe whichever makes you sleep easier tonight).

Birds aren’t the only inhabitants of the reservoir.  Turtles and other aquatic animals occupy the reservior as well.  It’s a little hard to see butt at the bottom of the second photo there is a huge turtle.

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Since it was such a nice day outside, there were a variety of dogs at Chestnut Hill Reservation.

ViVi, a 4 year old Beagle and Cocker Spaniel mix, showed off her talents of doing a pirouette and playing patty cake to beg for treats.

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Buster is a 9 year old English Lab and Retriever mix, or the best combination ever!

Bella is, appropriately enough, a 2 year old toy poodle.  Doesn’t she look like a toy?

Luke, a 2 year old Lab, was a little shy but warmed up to the camera nicely.

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Similar Places I Have Visited In New England:

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Dorrs Pond (Manchester, NH)

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Borderland State Park (North Easton, MA)

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The Nature Trail And Cranberry Bog At Patriot Place (Foxborough, MA)

 


South Natick Dam Park (Natick, MA)

Date Visited: August 13, 2016

Location: 9 Pleasant Street South

Hours: Open daily, dawn til dusk

Cost: Free

Parking:  There is free unmetered off street parking available but only a dozen or so cars can fit on the side street.  You may be able to park somewhere else nearby and walk to the dam.

Time To Allot For Visit: half an hour to an hour

Dog Friendly: Yes

Web Site: South Natick Dam Park

Highlights: pretty waterfall, birds, pretty architecture, family friendly

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Established in 1933 on the site of a former grist mill, the South Natick Dam Park attracts people far and wide for its pretty waterfall and scenic views.  Construction of the South Natick Dam was completed on September 2, 1933.  It replaced a timber dam that had been built at the site since 1760 by Matthew Hastings.

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Millstones from the grist mill, which had served the area since colonial times, are embedded in the paved area of the area surrounding the dam.

There is also an island in the middle of the river, that you can see in some of the photos, which is named for Horace Holyoke, one of the characters from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Old Town Folks.” This character is based on her husband Calvin Stowe who was a South Natick native.

Since the water was at such a low level, I was able to walk down to the base of the dam and take some photos from where the water would normally be.

The South Natick Dam Park is adjacent to the Charles River’s dam, and is a popular spot for visitors, both human and animal.

 

A fun and unexpected stop on my way home from Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary, the South Natick Dam is a great place to take your dog for a walk, photograph or just sit at one of the benches and take in the beauty of the area.

 

 

 

 


Dorrs Pond (Manchester, NH)

Date Visited: August 7, 2016

Location: Dorrs Pond is part of Livingston Park which is located at 244 Hookset Rd, Manchester, NH (off Daniel Webster Highway)

Hours: Open 24 hours (use your best judgment if you go at nighttime)

Cost: Free

Parking:  There are about 70 or so parking spots by Dorrs Pond.  There is also additional parking by the play area and field by Livingston Park.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Size: 1.2 mile loop with some short side trails.

Time To Allot For Visit: 1 or 2 hours

Fun For One: Yes

Highlights: abundant wildlife, popular trails for runner, cyclists and walkers, pretty views, very well maintained, benches for sitting, skating on the pond during the winter

Lowlights: short loop (only 1.2 mile) so many runners have to complete the loop several times to get a good workout, some side trails end abruptly at parking lots or just stop without going anywhere

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Once an artificial pond to serve the people of Manchester, Dorrs Pond now serves a scenic retreat for cyclists, runners, nature lovers and dogs.

“hidden gem” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot.  But, the photos below will show how this description is apt for Dorrs Pond.  In fact, I, and many people I talked to about it, had never been to this pond or ever even heard about before I went there.

One of the great things about Dorrs Pond is it is not a particularly difficult trail.  The trails are Dorrs Pond are pretty level with a few small inclines

The views at Dorrs Pond are beautiful.  Vivid greens and a variety of green, purple and other vibrant colors dot the landscape.

One of the best parts of Dorrs Pond is the wildlife.  There is a variety of birds, amphibians and other animals at the pond.

I also found this interesting shelter.  Unfortunately, no one was home.

During the winter, skating is allowed on the pond.  Also, there is a play area, playing field, restrooms and pool for children (and some adults) in addition to Dorrs Pond at Livingston Park.

Doors Pond is a great place to bring your dog.  The trail is not too long and the inclines are not very steep.  And it was a perfect day for taking your pooch out for a stroll.  I saw lots of dogs at Dorrs Pond.  Here are a few of the cute dogs at the park Sunday:

Katie, a 9 month old German Shepherd.

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Finley, a Cavachon who will be 2 in September

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Reagan, a 4 month old Golden Retriever

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and Jackson, a 2 year old Basenji Greyhound.

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Similar Places In New England I Have Visited:

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Ames Nowell State Park

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Cutler Park

 

 


Hammonasset Beach State Park (Madison, CT)

Date Visited: May 7, 2016

Location:1288 Boston Post Road, Madison, CT

Cost: I paid $15 (the weekday fee) to get in (I went on a Saturday).  But, the prices on their web site show the cost as being $13 for CT residents and $22 for non CT residents on weekends and holidays (it’s worth every penny) and $9 for CT residents and $15 for non CT residents.  Also, if you enter at 4 or later it costs $6 for CT residents and $6 for non CT residents to enter the park (bear in mind the park’s gates close at 8 pm when it is in season).  There are also additional fees for camping there.

One workaround to paying a fee is to park at 1288 Boston Post Road instead of driving down the access road to the payment booths and walk (almost 2 miles) to the beach.  I would recommend this option when it is nice out or if you are bicycling.  However, since the park is so big it may be hard to see everything on foot.  So, riding your bike from 1288 Boston post Road may be a best option.

Hours:  The beach is still accessible, by foot or bike, in the off season without any staff.

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Connecticut’s largest public beach, Hammonasset Beach is split into different areas for camping and for people who want to visit the more than 2 miles of beach.

Meaning “where we dig holes in the ground”, Hammonasset is actually part of Long Island Sound.  

The campground at Hammonasset has 556 campsites and 8 rustic cabins for reservation during camping season which runs from mid-May until October 8.  Hammonasset also has a nature center at Meigs Point and acres of wetlands.

After paying the entrance fee, we asked the helpful woman at the booth where the best place to go for photography is and she suggested Meigs Point.

Meigs Point runs along the shoreline of the beach.  There are lots of ducks, birds and lots of other wildlife on the beach and on the trails behind the beach.

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The beach has some pretty views.  There are also restrooms with showers and changing rooms at Meigs Point if you decide to go for a swim.  During my visit it was overcast and chilly.  The lack of sun didn’t take away from the beauty of the beach.

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There is also a jetty.  It went out quite a way.  Since the rocks were pretty slippery, I made it about half way out before turning back.

Hammonasset is a beautiful beach, although it can get crowded as many beaches do during the summer months.  If you live nearby it may be best to get a seasonal pass rather than paying the somewhat hefty fee each time you visit.

Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach during the off season (from November until April).  They are still allowed on the trails but not on the beach from April until the end of October.

I met Summer, a golden retriever, on the trail Meigs Point.  Especially after this unseasonably cold winter, we all could use a little more summer in our lives!

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Jessie, a chocolate Labrador, had a great time on the trail.

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