Tag Archives: wildlife

Five Days Of Foliage Day #3 – Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary (Topsfield, MA)

Date Of Visit: October 21, 2017

Location: 87 Perkins Row, Topsfield, MA

Hours:

November–April:
Tues-Sun & Mon holidays, 9 am-4 pm
Closed Mondays

May–October:
Tues-Fri, 9 am-4 pm
Sat, Sun, & Mon holidays, 9 am-5 pm
Closed Mondays

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

Cost:

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

Parking: There is free parking for about 30 vehicles

Handicapped Accessible: No

Dog Friendly: No

Website: Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

Original Post: Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

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Located only half an hour north of Boston, MA, Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary offers 12 miles of trails, diverse wildlife and some pretty good foliage.

I visited Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary in July, 2016 (the link to this post is posted above).  But, like many of the places I have visited more than once, I found some hidden gems that I missed the first time.  Specifically, during my initial visit I missed out a cute walkway cut out of rock which I found during my recent visit.  I have considered revisiting places I have already photographed in the upcoming year to make sure my posts are much more comprehensive than they have been in the past.  It’s very easy to miss things if you don’t do your research beforehand or if you have a difficult time with the conditions.  In any event, it’s an idea I’m tossing around.

Since I had already visited Ipswich River Sanctuary and I was focusing mostly on foliage photo opportunities, I walked along the Ipswich River along some boardwalks, fairly easy trails and a few side trails.  There are lots of birds to photograph and the wildlife seems to be pretty friendly.  In fact, a chipmunk greeted me and came within inches of me.  I think they are used to seeing people and people may often feed them.  Unfortunately for the little fella, I was all out of acorns and nuts.

I have also seen deer at Ipswich River Sanctuary during both of my visits.  Actually, I have seem them multiple times during both of my visits.  During my first visit, I spotted two bucks drinking from the river.  They got away before I could photograph them.  But, I saw a deer later during my visit which I was able to photograph.

During my most recent visit, I saw a few deer running off into the woods.  But, again, I saw them later.  Except not in the sanctuary.  This leads me to my next observation.  I took a wrong turn, more accurately I missed a turn, on my drive back from the sanctuary.  I ended up on Central St where I found a mom deer and two of her little ones grazing on the side of the road.  After stopping abruptly and making sure she didn’t charge, I quickly grabbed my camera from the back seat without leaving the vehicle and took some photos of the deer family.

It was both exciting and shocking to see the deer by the road.  I know this happens often but I had never been so close to any animal on the road.  Not for one second did the momma’s eyes look away from my car.  You can also see how she is shielding one of her babies in the photos I took.

There was a lot of color at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary.  However, my issue was more with lighting and shadows.  The weather was nice and there are lots of places to explore at the sanctuary.  But, I couldn’t stay long as I was going to Salem to do some Halloween photography.  So, I couldn’t stay too long.  I had to work with what I had.

Read more about my visit to Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary here…


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)

 


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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Please connect with me on Facebook to view photos, videos and other posts I don’t include in my blog! New England Nomad

 

 


October Mountain (Lee, MA)

Even though it’s only August, today was the perfect day for a trip to Mount October.

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Roughly, a 45 minute drive west of Springfield, MA, Mount October is located in the majestic Berkshires. The wild flowers and plant life, which are a staple of the Berkshires, were in full bloom.

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The wildlife at Mount October was also abundant.

There were salamanders

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toads

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caterpillars

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centipedes

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and dogs!

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Olive posed during her walk with her dad

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Emily stuck her head out for some fresh air.

While it serves as a campground, the hiking trails are perhaps the most notable part of the state forest.  But, the most challenging part of Mount October was the terrain of these hiking trails.  Dew and rain made for marshy, washed out paths which made it even more difficult when you had to cross rocky areas.  Some parts of the paths were also fairly steep.

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Interestingly, I visited Woods Pond earlier this year which is a section of Mount October.  The blog for which can be found here.  Even though I had already taken photos of Woods Pond previously, I took a few more during my visit at Mount October.

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Mount October is the largest state park in Massachusetts.  And, despite spending several hours there, we were only able to cover a fraction of the area.  Perhaps I’ll come back in the fall.