Posts Tagged ‘ Bird Watching ’

Ninigret Beach – Charlestown

  • Ninigret Beach (East Beach)
  • East Beach Road, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°20’37.88″N, 71°41’22.71″W
  • Last Time Hiked: February 15, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.8 miles
  • Fairly easy beach walk.

 

The beach between Blue Shutters Beach and the Charlestown Breachway is part of East Beach State Park and the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. It is a long three mile strand of beach that is not overwhelmed with humans. In the summer a fee must be paid the access the beach and parking is very limited. In the winter the beach is desolate, especially at sunrise. This day was a windless but brutally cold February morning. Hike time temperature was a sweltering 7 degrees Fahrenheit. I came here armed with cameras to catch the sunrise, multiple layers of clothes, but mostly to find solitude to clear the mind. Success! I arrived at the small parking area before sunrise and made my way to the beach. To the east I could see the beacon of the Point Judith Light. To the south I could see the lights of Block Island twinkling. Along the horizon between them, the glows of pink, magenta, fuchsia, and orange setting the sky up for a spectacular sunrise. I turned to the east and followed the empty beach for a few miles. At 6:42 AM, just as scheduled, the piercing light of the sun broke the horizon. The beach suddenly a glow of of the colors in the sky. In the distance I could make out my destination, a dark shadow strip of the breachway stretching into the ocean. As the sun rose into the sky the beach came to life with sea birds. The waves broke gently and peacefully.  I spent only a few minutes at the breachway before retracing my steps back to the parking area. This walk is exactly what was needed. I did not run into a single soul! Also as a side-note, I was still cold when I ordered my breakfast sandwich at Sophie’s (in Exeter) a little while later.

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Winter Sunrise

Patricia Sprague Forest – Charlestown

  • Patricia Sprague Forest Preserve
  • Railroad Avenue, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°27’4.63″N, 71°39’21.18″W
  • Last Time Hiked: February 2, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.4 miles
  • Fairly easy, some elevation.

 

For a relatively short, but stunningly beautiful hike just off of Route 112 in Charlestown, the Patricia Sprague Forest offers quite a bit. Starting from a small parking area along Railroad Avenue, follow the blue blazed, pine needle covered trail into the property first passing a stone wall and glacial boulders before coming to a split. For this hike stay to the right following the blue blazes northeasterly along the properties southern border. Ahead, just off the trail and on the right, is an old fire pit that overlooks the valley below. Continuing along the blue blazed trail you will catch glimpses of the Pawcatuck River down below on the right. The trail then descends rapidly into a valley, then climbs back uphill, over a ridge-line and finally into an open field. At the field stay to the right following the fields perimeter on a beaten path that traverses the northern reaches of the property. You will pass through a very young pine grove along this stretch as well. The trail leaves the field for the last time as it bears right into the tall pines and along the properties western border. Ahead you will pass through an old orchard before coming to the entrance trail. Stay to the right here and retrace your steps by the stone wall and back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Patricia Sprague Forest.

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Stone Walls and Tall Trees

Copicut Reservoir – Fall River

 

This is a very short walk on a peninsula that is just under a half mile in total. This location, used mostly by fishermen, offers a short trail that reaches to the end of the peninsula. The views of the reservoir are spectacular and makes it well worth the stop if in the area. Be on the look out for several types of birds here that visit the reservoir.

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A Thawing Copicut Reservoir

King Phillips Spring – Fall River

  • King Phillips Spring – Watuppa Reservation
  • Blossom Road, Fall River, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°42’56.24″N, 71° 5’19.86″W
  • Last Time Hiked: December 15, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.6 miles
  • Fairly easy with some slight elevation.

 

This 2.6 mile loop starts and follows the route of the Homestead Loop Trail before breaking off and heading east into the depths of the Watuppa Reservation. Starting from a parking area surrounded by a split rail fence follow grass covered cart path away from the road. On the right before the stone wall and power lines is the trail. The trail is first flanked on the left by the stone wall. A few hundred feet ahead the trail passes through the wall and then to a split. Staying to the left you will see the first trail marker (marked by a rabbit). You are on the Homestead Loop Trail at this point. The trail markers for this trail are at every tenth of a mile. There are no other blazes on this loop. The trail passes under the power lines before winding back into the woods. After passing some holly and small boulders you will come upon a trail on the right (marked by a bee). Ignore this trail for this hike and continue straight. You will soon enough come to another “rabbit” marker to confirm you are on the right trail. At the end of the trail you will come to a fire lane where you will turn left. First find a sign on a tree with “KP3” on it to confirm your location. For the remainder of this hike you will want to look for these signs. The trails are not blazed otherwise. Following the fire lane known as Brightman Path you will pass through a swamp before coming to a small pond and what appears to be a small levee on the left. Continuing ahead the path starts to climb uphill. At the next intersection (KP7) continue straight onto the Indian Turn Trail which continues to climb uphill. At the top of the hill is a four way intersection (KP8). Turn left here and within a few hundred feet you will bear to the left (KP16) and start a slow descent. Keep an eye to the left for a wide path. It is a dead end but it takes you to the highlight of this hike, King Phillips Spring. The spring with a large rock surrounding by a cluster of smaller ones is the headwater of Blossom Brook. Take some time here to linger before heading back up to the main trail where you will turn left to continue to make your way to intersection KP17. Bear to the left here and again bear left at the next intersection (KP18). The trail now starts to wind downhill a bit coming to what appears to be a cellar hole on the right. From here the trail bends to the west and narrows quite considerably as it passes through a swamp once again. This stretch, called Corduroy Path, offers very thick shrubs, hemlocks, and junipers. Stop and listen for the birds as it is a haven for them. The trail then passes under the power lines again, back into the woods, pass a gate and ends at Blossom Road. Turn left here and follow the road pass the Reservation Headquarters and over a much wider Blossom Brook. The parking area is a few hundred feet ahead on the left.

 

Map can be found at: King Phillip Spring.

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King Phillips Spring

 

 

Homestead Loop Trail – Fall River

  • Homestead Loop Trail – Watuppa Reservation
  • Blossom Road, Fall River, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°42’56.24″N, 71° 5’19.86″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 20, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.2 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

Starting from a parking area surrounded by a split rail fence follow grass covered cart path away from the road. On the right before the power lines is the trail. The trail is first flanked on the left by a stone wall. A few hundred feet ahead the trail passes through the wall and then to a split. Staying to the left you will see the first trail marker (marked by a rabbit). The trail markers for this hike are at every tenth of a mile. There are no other blazes on this loop. The trail passes under the power lines before winding back into the woods. After passing some holly and small boulders you will come upon a trail on the right (marked by a bee). Ignore this trail for this hike and continue straight. You will soon enough come to another “rabbit” marker to confirm you are on the right trail. At the end of the trail, turn right onto the wide grass road and look for a trail on the left. Turn onto this trail and continue with the loop. At 0.3 mile marker there is a rather impressive holly tree. The trail winds a little further south and back west coming to a trail intersection just before the power lines. The trail to the right is the “bee” marked trail. Stay to the left here making your way to the power lines. The trail can be a little overgrown here. Continue ahead here passing under the lines and the trail becomes much clearer at the tree line. The next feature of the trail is a boardwalk (still under construction) before coming to the wide grass road once again. From here continue straight as the trail winds back to the first marker. From the first marker retrace your steps back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Homestead Loop Trail.

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Marker Along The Homestead Loop

Little Creek Preserve – Portsmouth

 

The newest of the Aquidneck Land Trust properties, Little Creek offers a half mile loop trail as well as several short spurs. The property also will feature a boardwalk over a marsh for birding and wildlife viewing. This boardwalk is slated to open in the fall of 2020. The trails wind through thickets, wildflower fields, and brush making the property a haven for birds. the eastern edge of the preserve has two connector trails to the Sakonnet Greenway if you wanted to add some extra mileage. Be sure to bring your camera if you are a birder or wildflower enthusiast.

Map can be found at: Little Creek Preserve.

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Little Creek Preserve

Sunset Farm Trail – Narragansett

  • Sunset Farm Trail
  • Point Judith Road, Narragansett, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°24’24.97″N, 71°28’48.22″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 15, 2019
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.5 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

Tucked away behind Sunset Farm is one of the newest trail systems in Rhode Island. A working farm, you must first make your way past the gate and follow the signs along the dirt road through the farm area. Be sure to close the gate behind you!! The trail is to the left just as you approach a stone wall at the northern edge of the property. The trail is flanked by the wall to the right and a wire fence to the left. Along this stretch are sweeping views of the farm fields. At the next intersection, and for this hike, turn left and follow the trail into a wooded area. A stone wall will now be on your left. Look for a very distinctive and obviously out of place stone in the wall. At the end of this trail turn right. The path to the left is blocked with a gate. From here you will gently descend downhill through an area with old apple trees and grape vines. The scent of grapes was rather strong at the time of this hike, and with the fruit, the birds. There were many of them singing in the nearby shrubs. At the next trail intersection there is signage. Turn left here, cross over a boardwalk, and then slightly uphill to a small knoll with a bench. There is a small view corridor (likely larger when the leaves are off the trees) of Point Judith Pond. From here retrace your steps back to the intersection. Continue straight ahead and slightly uphill. At the next intersection continue straight and then retrace your steps back to and through the farm. Be sure to check out the farm stand for fresh fruits, vegetables, honey, sauces, and meats. Around the other side of the barn are pens. You may catch a glimpse of a cow or goat.

 

Map can be found at: Sunset Farm Trail.

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The Trail Flanked by Fence and Wall