Spatterdock Pond

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Good morning,

Last weekend I took a short walk around the wildlife pond at Beaver Brook Association in Hollis, NH. I parked at the area right off of Route 130. The trails are well marked and I opted to take the wildlife trail. A few folks were fishing and lots of people were taking advantage of the nice weather. I plan to measure the distance on my next visit and will update this posting to reflect that.

It is a bit early for the spring flowers such as trillium to emerge, but noticed these lily pads with a purple hue. I saw a log that was covered with resting painted turtles but I didn’t have a telephoto to capture the shot. It is a great place and I plan to visit again.

Beaver Brook Pond Hike by John Poltrack on
Spatterdock Pond, note the purplish lily pads and one of the beaver lodges



Quarry Path

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I had an opportunity to explore the Fletcher Quarry in Mason New Hampshire. It was in operation from the late 1800s to 1929. I’m guessing this path was used to transport the granite from the quarry to the railroad line. Currently it is a wonderful conservation area, just off of the Mason rail trail.

Quarry Path by John Poltrack on
Tree lined path through the woods


Quarry Path by John Poltrack on
Weathered Stones


Topsfield Arboretum

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The Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Topsfield and Wenham Massachusetts.  The Rockery Trail belonged to an arboretum donated by the owner Thomas Emerson Proctor. The Sanctuary is currently managed by the Massachusetts Audubon Society who removed some of the non-native species of trees, However along the Rockery Trail I noticed some unusual trees and shrubs which managed to survive.

Thomas Emerson Proctor wrote a 430 page book titled Topsfield Arboretum Catalog of Trees and Shrubs  which unfortunately is no longer in print, so  it may proved to be challenging to identify some of these specimens.

January is probably not the best time for tree identification, so a return visit is planned for the warmer months.

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary by John Poltrack on
This tree resembles an Eastern Cedar but it much larger other varieties which I’ve seen.



Storm Damage by John Poltrack on
This tree is not native to the area. I saw some odd seedpods and large dead leaves.



Feeding birds at the Ipswich River Sanctuary

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Little darling of the snow,
Careless how the winds may blow,
Happy as a bird can be,
Singing, oh, so cheerily,
Chickadee-dee! Chickadee-dee!

When the skies are cold and gray,
When he trills his happiest lay,
Through the clouds he seems to see
Hidden things to you and me.
Chickadee-dee! chickadee-dee!

Very likely little birds
Have their thoughts too deep for word,
But we know, and all agree,
That the world would dreary be
Without birds, dear chickadee!

– Author Unknown

The Ipswich River Sanctuary in Topsfield is the largest Audubon Society Preserve in Massachusetts encompassing 2,800 acres. There are 12 miles of interconnected trails winding through a landscape shaped by glacial activity 15,000 years ago.

A co-worker told me that the smaller birds were so used to visitors that they would eat from your hand, something that I had to experience. For years I’ve fed birds at the feeder and only occasionally would have a brave chickadee alight on my hand to grab a sunflower seed. It was quite thrilling to have chickadees, thufted titmouse and nuthatches gather as we walked the trail.

We walked along the Rockery Trail which features a grotto constructed in 1905 of large boulders. It was originally part of an arboretum at Bradshaw Farm which featured exotic trees. The land was donated by the owner Thomas Emerson Proctor (1873 -1949) to the Audobon Society. A staff member mentioned that the Society had removed the non-native trees but on the trail I noticed several varieties that I have never seen before in the Northeast.

The weather was ideal for our visit, unseasonably warm for the last day of January with no ice or snow to negotiate on the board walks. There were many families with young children, all with their hands outstretched with bird seed and feathered diners. This venue is highly recommended. We plan to return.

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary
A brave chickadee grabs a seed from my hand
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary
Ginny feeds a chickadee
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary
A Tufted titmouse gives me a look