Category Archives: wildlife

Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge (Newington, NH)

Date Of Visit: September 23, 2017

Location: Arboretum Drive West, Newington, New Hampshire

Hours: open daily, dawn to dusk

Cost: Free

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, some trails have boardwalks and are not too steep or difficult

Parking: There are about 40 parking spaces in the main parking area (people do park on the side of the road when the spaces fill up)

Website: Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Trail Map: Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge Trail Map

Trail Size/Difficulty: 1,000 acres, easy to moderate trails

Highlights: easy trails, scenic views, boardwalks, wildlife

Tips:

  • mosquitoes, ticks and poison ivy are a common issue at the refuge
  • bald eagles, especially during the winter, are a common sight there

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One of the more overlooked parks in New Hampshire, Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge is home to a variety of wildlife, pretty flowers (when in bloom) and scenic views.

Great Bay has a boardwalk with an overlook at the main trail at the parking area.

Across from the main parking area is a fenced off area that was once used to be used as a weapons storage area for the nearby Pease Air Force Base.

The trails at Great Bay are fairly easy with a few very moderate inclines.

There is a bridge along the trail as well as an overlook with a view of the bay.

When I went to visit there were still lots of flowers in bloom.

There were lots of chipmunks and squirrels scurrying around gathering acorns for the upcoming winter.  I saw this little critter while I was walking along the boardwalk.  If you look closely, you can see what looks like a cut or injury to his or her head just above his or her left eye.  It is a sign of how unyielding and harsh nature can be.  But, it is also a sign of how resilient and hardy animals are regardless of their size.  I have to admit I wanted to take this little fella home and nurse the chipmunk back to health.  But, as you can see from the photo, wildlife has a way of healing and surviving.

 

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Chipmunks aren’t the only animals at the refuge.  There are birds, turkeys and turtles as well as other types of wildlife and insects there.

The one downside of Great Bay, for me at least, is that dogs are not allowed there.  However, I did see some evidence of them and I do think they visit from time to time, although I did not see any during my visit.

 

 


Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary (Sharon, MA)

Date Of Visit: November 13, 2016

Location: 293 Moose Hill Parkway, Sharon, MA (about 45 minutes south of Boston)

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

Size: 1,951 acres

Hours: Mon-Fri, 9 am-5 pm
Sat & Sun, 10 am-4 pm

Trails
Spring & Summer, 7am–7pm
Fall & Winter, 8 am-5 pm

Parking: There are about 60 parking spots in the lot

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Handicapped Acessible:  Some trails at the entrance may be flat enough to be considered handicapped accessible.  But, for the most part no.

Dog Friendly: No, Mass Audubon trails are not dog friendly

Highlights: miles of trails, observation lookout, wildlife, nature center, acticities throughout the year, fire tower (inaccessible during my visit)

Web Site: Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary

Trail Map: Trail Map

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Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Sharon, MA, may not have moose but it has everything else that makes a sanctuary the perfect place for a weekend hike.  Pretty flowers and trees, scenic views and wildlife are plentiful at Moose Hill.

The nature center at Moose Hill was decorated for the autumn season with pumpkins and a quilted figure.

The trails at Moose Hill are, for the most part, easy with some modest inclines, except for the trail up to the fire tower.  There is also a boardwalk over a red swamp area and some other boardwalks that are a nice touch.

The trail to the fire tower is challenging but it’s not too difficult.  It’s a short incline up to the tower.  Unfortunately, it appears to be off limits.  Usually, signs and barriers don’t stop me but I draw the line at barbed wire.  It’s too bad because the views must be amazing.

Instead of the fire tower, there is a great overlook at the Bluff Overlook on, oddly enough, the Bluff Trail.  Most of the trees have shed their leaves but yyou could still see some pretty colors out there.  I especially liked the branches in the first photoon the left hand side of the group of photos.

It is easy to find beautiful areas to photograph in Moose Hill all year round.  Ideally, foliage season would probably be the best time to visit.  I just missed the peak foliage season but it still looked beautiful.  The shapes of the trees and the way the rocks form borders in the different sections of the park make for great photo opportunities.  It really doesn’t take a lot of effort or talent to find the beauty of the sanctuary.

There is also a beekeeping harvest hive and a real hive located near the harvest hive.  Both looked inactive.  A bench sat precariously near the now destrcuted hive.  “Be At Peace” is engraved on the backing of the bench.  Good advice.

I was a little disappointed by the lack of visible wildlife during my visit.  I got there early (between 7 and 7:30) but I still didn’t see any of the larger wildlife that is known to be there such as deer, foxes and coyotes. I did see these little critters, though.

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chipmunk, Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, 11-13-16

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red squirrel, Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, 11-13-16

And this owl.

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Fooled ya!

But, this owl is an actual part of the sanctuary.  It’s part of the “unnatural trail.”  The unnatural trail is a family friendly trail that is geared more for children.  The trail is about a quarter of a mile that has objects that you normally don’t find on a trail (like shovels and shoes for instance).  The children are then asked to identify the randomly placed objects and answer questions about what was on the ttrail.

There is also the Billings Barn (the white building) and a maple sugar shack which campers use to make sugar from the sugar maple trees.  During maple sugar harves season, the campers and people at the sanctuary leave buckets attached to the trees to harvest the maple sugar from the trees.

 

 

 


Richardson Brook Wildlife Sanctuary (Tolland, MA)

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Date Visited: August 20, 2016

Location: New Boston Rd. (Route 57) Tolland, MA

Hours: Open everyday, 24 hours and day

Parking: There is not a designated parking lot or parking area.  You have to pull over to the side of the road on Route 57.

Cost: There is no fee but donations are appreciated

Trail Difficulty: Easy

Size: We took the 1.6 mile Brook nd Charlotte trail loops

Dog Friendly: Technically, no, MA Audubon does not allow dogs on their trails.  But, I suspect people do bring their dogs.

Highlights: brook, secluded, trails are not very steep, short and easy trail

Lowlights: trails are a little hard to follow (look for the blue and yellow marked trees), lack of visible wildlife, hard to find especially if you don’t have a passenger to help you look for it

Richardson Brook Wildlife Sanctuary

Richardson Brook Wildlife Sanctuary Trail Map

Richardson Brook is not the easiest trail to find.  In fact, it took a few turnarounds and nifty parking to find a safe place to park and enter the trail.

The trail for Richardson Brook is pretty easy.  The only catch is looking for the marked trees to follow since the trail is not clearly defined all the time and it can get a little confusing, even with the markings on the trees to follow. It could be very easy to get lost.  Visions of Camp Crystal Lake flashed before my eyes a few times.

The big payoff is the brook which was not running very hard during my visit.  But it was still very pretty.

We saw some little critters and colorful mushrooms along the way.

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Water bugs, frogs, salamanders and baby salamanders were abundant, even if they did try to camouflage themselves.

Although we did not see many birds we did hear them and we did see evidence of other animals.  I am also convinced that if you were determined to find other wildlife you wouldn’t be disappointed.  If you had a lot of time to spend and you went off trail you could definitely find bigger wildlife.  Just look out for Jason!

The video below of Richardson Brook really captures the beauty of the trail.

Similar Places I Have Visited In New England:

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Cascading Waters (Worcester, MA)

 


Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary (Natick, MA)

Date Visited: August 13, 2016

Location: 280 Eliot Street Natick, MA

Hours: Tues-Fri, 9 am-5 pm
Sat, Sun, & Mon holidays, 10 am-5 pm
Closed Mondays

Trails:
Tues-Sun, & Mon holidays, dawn to dusk
Closed Mondays

Cost:

(MA Audubon) Members: Free
Nonmembers:
$5 Adults
$4 Children (2-12)
$4 Seniors (65+)

Parking:  There are about 50 0r so parking spaces in the parking lot

Trail Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Size: 9 miles of trails

Time To Allot For Visit: 2 to 3 hours

Highlights: abundant wildlife, clearly defined trails, lookouts and bridges, several pond areas

Lowlights: One of the ponds (Little Farm Pond) is only accessible via motor vehicle and is not accessible from the sanctuary, according to one of the staff workers at the sanctuary

Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary Web Site

Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary Trail Map

From the moment I drove into the parking lot for Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary (a MASS Audubon sanctuary), I could tell it was going to be a special place.   The pretty trees and stocks of grass reminded me of some rural, country farm.

The 10 trails at Broadmoor are fairly easy to negotiate (the Charles River Loop is probably the most challenging).  There are a few trails that cross over ponds and marsh land.

Overall, the trails are easy with a few moderately difficult trails such as The Charles River Loop.  The trail on the Charles River Loop is somewhat narrow in some places and it can be hard to follow the trail (look for the yellow and blue marked trees).

There was a lot of activity, such as turtles,  in the ponds.  Can you spot the turtles in this photo?  There are three.

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What if I get closer?

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How about now?

Broadmoor is teeming with wildlife.  I found these critters during my hike.

There is also a lookout area where you can sit and look out upon the pond where I found this heron hiding.

There is a lot to see at Broadmoor.  There are lots of turtles, butterflies, birds and evidence of other wildlife.

I found this beautiful swan as I was walking along the park.

All that swimming and looking for food can make you tired.  So, she decided to take a nap.

There are also beautiful views of the park.  The flowers, plants and trees make for a beautiful backdrop.

Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary is the perfect visitors of all ages (I even saw some visitors in strollers).  It can be buggy but, as lucky would have it, that won’t be a problem for much longer in New England as fall descends upon us.

Similar Places I Have Visited In New England:

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Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary (Topsfield, MA)

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Borderland State Park (North Easton, MA)

 

 

 


World’s End (Hingham, MA)

Date Visited: August 28, 2016

Location: 250 Martin’s Lane, Hingham, MA

Hours: open everyday, 8:00 a.m. until sunset

Cost: $6 for adults, annual memberships which include free admission are available for $47

Size: 4.5  miles of continuous trails, 251 acres

Parking: there are three parking areas with roughly 20 spots each.  When I left at 1:00 p.m. the lot was full and there was a line of about half a dozen cars waiting to get into the park.

Time To Allot For Visit: 2 hours

Dog Friendly: Yes

Trail Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Highlights: scenic views of the Boston skyline and surrounding area, wildlife, occasionally they display exhibits at the park, benches to sit along the trail, pretty trees and flowers, perfect for walkers, joggers, runners, cyclists and even horseback riders and anowshoeing during the winter

Lowlights: limited parking (if you follow the reservation Twitter they post alerts when the lot is full)

Website: World’s End

World’s End Trail Map

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I “misunderestimated” World’s End.  I figured it would be an “easy” quick jaunt (I usually save my easier treks for Sundays).  So, I slipped on my Chuck Taylor All-Stars and figured I would be home in a few hours.  Not the best choice of footwear in retrospect.  The trails can be rocky (particularly if you go off trail) and deceivingly steep in some areas.

There are a lot of side trails and it’s easy to get confused and cover the same area twice (or more) which can add quite a bit of time to your journey.  In fact, for a while, I thought World’s End would never end. It’s a good idea to take a map of the trails with you.  But, the trails are clearly marked and easy to negotiate with some slight inclines.

Undoubtedly, the main attraction for many visitors at World’s End are the views of the Boston skyline.  World’s End affords several views of the skyline and surrounding areas.  From the shoreline views to the views atop the highest point on the top of one of the many views of the rolling, hilly trails, the views are majestic.

World’s End is teeming with wildlife, particularly birds.  They’re very good at camouflaging themselves so you might have to squint to see a few of them.

But, the real gem of my visit was this deer I spotted on my way to Rocky Neck, one of the more secluded areas.  We stood mere feet away from each other staring, until she finally took off.

There are not just an abundant of bird life in the water.  Being a picture perfect summer day with low humidity and a slight breeze and calm waters, it was ideal for many of the boaters, paddlers and other seafaring folks.

This boater wanted some privacy, apparently.

World’s End has many other charming features such as this huge rock and an elevated viewing area for bird watching.

Of course, sometimes the more simpler things can be the prettiest features of the park.  These flowers, tress and views off the water caught my eye.

Some people took advantage of the shore to skim some stones.

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If there is one photo that sums up a trip to World’s End it is this photograph of a hammock with a bicycle next to it.  World’s End is the perfect place to lie out in a hammock with only the sounds of nature to keep you occupied and maybe a good book or your Itunes collection.

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There is also an art exhibit on display until Oct. 31, 2017.  The display was created by Jeppe Hein, an artist based out of Copenhagen and Berlin.  He is known worldwide for his interactive exhibits.  The exhibit is called, “A New End”.  According to the website for the exhibit, Hein wants to invite visitors to reflect and to transform how we view a familiar place like World’s End.

There were dogs-a-plenty at World’s End during my visit.  World’s End is a great place for dogs to play around in since there are many open, grassy areas and, of course, water to frolic around in.

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Casey is a happy, 8 year old English Pointer mix.  He is a rescue.

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Gus is a 2 year old Ridgeback mix.  He was very excited to be at the park!

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Tande is an 8 month old Portuguese Water Dog.  If Tande looks familiar, you may have seen a similarly looking dog on the news.  The President also has the same breed of dog. Tande came all the way from the Odysea Portuguese Water Dogs breeder in Colorado.

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One of my easiest subjects to photograph ever, Bella is a gentle 7 year old Shetland Sheepdog.

I also saw a variety of other dogs playing in the water and running around.

viewsofanemergencyrn was kind enough to nominate me for the One Lovely Blog Award.  Thank you!  I usually don’t post about these awards but I figured I would play along since she was so nice to mention me and I wanted to acknowledge her.  She is a sweet, strong person and a survivor (read her post to see what I mean).

So, the rues are I have to mention 7 random things about me.

  1. I didn’t take up photography seriously until last year
  2. I  love dogs and all animals (big surprise there) but they also seem to love me – the key is to not show fear and be confident and friendly around them (they can sense fear)
  3. I am a pescatarian (I only eat seafood and do not eat meat, primarily)
  4. People often say I bear a strong resemblance to Donnie Wahlberg (but I can’t sing like him)
  5. Although I love dogs, I don’t have one (I have a cat instead)
  6. Until my work schedule got too busy, I had been an active literacy tutor at my local library
  7. I run (and/or walk) 3 miles (at least) a day everyday

The rules say to nominate other bloggers to participate.  But, I’m going to skip that part.  In my experience, people have usually already posted a blog like this in the past and don’t want to do it again, or they don’t participate or they seem to be too busy.  But, thank you, once again for the mention, viewsofanemergencyrn!  I do appreciate you and I look forward to reading more of your posts.  You all should also!

Similar Places I have Visited In New England:

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Webb Memorial State Park (Weymouth, MA)

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Blue Hills Reservation (Milton, MA)

 

 

 


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

 

 


Robinson State Park (Feeding Hills, MA)

Dates Visited: July 3 & 4, 2016

Location: 428 North St, Feeding Hills (Agawam), MA

Cost: $8 for MA vehicle, $10 for non-MA vehicle

Parking: There are about 50 parking spots in the park itself at various designated parking areas.  There are also several entrances besides the actual entrance to the park where you can park for free but there are gates at these entrances and you have to walk rather than drive to the beach and fields in the park.

Time To Allot For Visit: 3 to 4 hours to hike the entire park

Size of the park: 800 acres, 5 miles of frontage on the Westfield River

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: walking trails, stream, beach, picnic area, fields, lots of wildlife, great for bikers, joggers, walkers and dogs

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Known for its abundant wildlife, long paved trail and scenic views of the Westfield River, Robinson State Park is one of my favorite parks to visit.  I love the paved, winding trail and abundant wildlife.  I have jogged the main trail hundreds, if not thousands, of times.  The wide paved trail is wide enough to accommodate joggers, bikers, walkers and even vehicles (cars are allowed on the main paved trail during the summer months only).

About a mile or a little more than a mile from the main entrance there is a small beach next to a grassy area for people to relax and sun themselves.  If you’re lucky, you may even see a tadpole.

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One thing to keep in mind is there are a lot of bugs in the area.  Since it is located by a stream of water, bugs and mosquitoes are a real problem, especially during the summer months.  So, either cover up or use bug spray if you plan on hiking the various trails.  Another downside to the park, if you want to call it that, is that some trails just seem to end…right in people’s backyards.  This happened on two of the side trails I ventured on.  No biggie.  You just turn around and come back the way you came.  But it can be anticlimactic and annoying (for the homeowner as much as it would be for you).

The Westfield River runs along the paved trail giving off some pretty views.  There are some side trails you can use to get a better view.

There is a pond just down the trail from the beach.  I heard lots of frogs, toads and other wildlife in the pond but they are pretty well hidden.

Robinson Park is also teeming with wildlife.  In fact, Westfield, one of the cities the park borders, is known for its black squirrels.  Unfortunately, I didn’t see any during my visit or at least none that I could photograph.   But, there were plenty of other animals visible at the park the days I visited.

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There is also a pond and a variety of trees, plants, flowers and berries along the trails.

The trails are well defined and there are a number of bridges at the park.

Because it has such a wide main trail and lots of area to roam, Robinson Park is a great place to walk your dog and I ran into quite a few cute dogs during my visits.

Oliver is an 11 year old Collie and Chow mix.

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Josie is a 9 year old Cocker Spaniel.

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And Bruno is a 2 year old Shepherd and Lab mix rescue.

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