Back to the Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary

Finally a day off when it isn’t snowing or raining. That’s not to say it’s beach weather but it’s a lot nicer than it’s been. The sun is out and although there is a stiff breeze it isn’t that cold, cutting wind. I have to drive to Plymouth so I think I’ll swing up to Marshfield and see how the sanctuary survived the winter. I intended to get there during the winter but it seemed like there was a winter storm every time I got a day off. So here it is …almost spring…and I’m just getting back here now.

As I pulled in to park I saw that the little garden and bird feeders were still there next to the entrance. I scared a flock of blackbirds but then I think I saw a flash of red. I think they may be red wing blackbirds.

My goal today is to make it to the end of the main trail. A friend of mine asked me if I’d been there yet. He said there are often deer and that you can almost always see a red-tailed hawk or two. I knew it was the wrong time of day for deer to be out in the open but I mainly wanted to see the area.

I started down the path and right off the bat met up with another couple who were really walking fast. I stopped and let them pass ahead of me. I wasn’t looking to run a race. I think I have seen this couple here before, He, like me, takes pictures and she seems to be along for the walk.

I took the right path down by the pond. There were ducks and swans and the ever-present Canadian geese. I passed the otter slide on the left but it didn’t look like it had been used in a long while. I entered the woods and here the path was still covered with snow and ice so I had to step carefully. I took the “Secret” Trail along the boardwalk that led to the meadow where I saw the deer last year. All was quiet, the leafless trees making for a surreal landscape.

Back in the woods I followed the boardwalk until the trail split. I went right this time and took the loop trail which is just what it says…a loop. Back on the boardwalk again I hooked up with the main trail and followed it up to a wooden platform. This must be the Fox hill Observation platform and the end of the trail. I sat there listening and looking out over the varied terrain thinking about what it would look like in a month or two when spring has really “sprung”. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a movement. A large bird was flying low over the landscape. It was too far away for a picture so I just sat and watched. It landed on a fence post and I used my telephoto to get a little better look. I think it was a hawk but I couldn’t tell what kind. Maybe the red-tail I’d been told about?

It didn’t stay there very long before it took off circling higher and higher. It was soon joined by 2 others, the three of them dipping and gliding in a kind of ballet in the sky. I’m not sure how long I watched but eventually I figured I should head back. Other than the 2 people I had met when I started out, I hadn’t seen another soul.

Leaving Fox hill I took the right trail again. This one was marked River Walk. I had started it last visit but had turned around. This time I was determined to walk the whole thing and I’m glad I did.

The Green River was slow and meandering here, it’s smooth surface acting as a mirror for the trees along it’s banks. Not too far in the river made an oxbow and led me around to a pretty wooden bridge. This too was reflected in the calm river waters.

Crossing the bridge led to a board walk over a swampy area and on to another bridge. Once I crossed that bridge I recognized the other end of the River Walk. I was back on the main trail. A bit farther on is a little trail to the right that I remembered from last year. It’s where I got the picture of the buttercups and sunshine. Today it was just dead grass but it still held a surprise. As I headed out of the last bend a hawk took off from the tree right in front of me. I got a good glimpse and then he was behind the tree line.

I moved up to the end of the trees only to see him winging upward to do the same soaring dance I’d seen the other 3 hawks do earlier.

I continued along the main path until I reached the duck blind. I let myself in and probably spent a good 30-45 minutes there watching the geese play on the pond. They were splashing and bobbing like so many little kids playing. They all seemed to be in pairs too.

By now it was definitely time to move on. I still wanted to find the Marshfield beach .

I was impressed by the condition of the trails and the blinds. Everything is groomed and some of the fence posts looked new. If they are, then the Audubon folks have been busy indeed as winter hasn’t even come to an end yet.



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