Posts Tagged ‘ Bird Watching ’

Westport Town Farm – Westport

 

This beautiful property owned and maintained by the Trustees and the Westport Land Conservation Trust offers a nice 1 mile walk along mowed trails following the perimeter of a large meadow. The property stretches downhill from the farmhouse and barn to the Westport River. There are several stone walls and wildflowers here at Westport Farm as well.

 

Map can be found at: Westport Town Farm

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Stone Walls and Mowed Paths

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Prudence East – Portsmouth

  • Prudence East
  • Narragansett Avenue, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°37’11.11″N, 71°18’18.54″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 25, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 6.1 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

 

This hike on Prudence Island starts at the ferry dock in the small village of Homestead. It covers most of the trails around Baker Farm, a Prudence Conservancy property that is meticulously maintained by a group of volunteers known as the “Trail Gang”. Staying on the well blazed and mowed trails reduces your chances of encountering ticks which are in abundance on the island. Starting from the ferry dock, walk out to Narragansett Avenue and turn left. In a couple hundred feet turn right onto Pier Road. This paved road climbs uphill passing the historic Union Church and several homes before coming to Sunset Hill Avenue on the left. The street is marked by a white post with the respective street names engrave into it. Following Sunset Hill Avenue will lead you pass a couple more homes before a vast open area with fields on each side. Ahead you will pass through the intersection of East Lane and this will lead you to the trails. There are several signs here indicating which way to the trails. Continue ahead on the trail for a few hundred feet and you will soon come to a trail intersection marked with a diamond. Turn right here to follow the Diamond Trail to the Division Wall. The trail to the left is the Diamond Trail as well and you will return from this trail. Make note of this intersection. The trail is wide here flanked by trees, shrubs, and thickets. The rustling you may here are the birds in the thick brush. When you reach the end of the trail you will come to a dirt road. Stay to the left here and pass through the stone wall. Take a look at the historic wall. This wall, running from Division Rock along the west coast of the island to Governor Payne Road to the east, was built to divide the island into two halves, delineating the properties once owned by Roger Williams to the north and John Winthrop to the south. You will also notice that you are at a major trail intersection. For this hike you will want to follow the dirt road to the south called the Heritage Trail. It is blazed with a feather and is just under a half mile to Baker Farm. When you reach the old barn site continue straight ahead. You will have an opportunity to explore it later as you will return to the farm site two more times on this hike. You will soon reach another major trail intersection. Turn to the right here and follow the School House Trail. The trail starts to descend gently for a little over a half mile and comes out to a dirt road named Broadway. This is the main east-west route across the island so do expect to see some traffic. You will want to turn left onto Broadway, but first take a peak at the Prudence Island School House to the right. The structure was built in 1896 and is the fourth (only surviving) school house built on Prudence Island. Continuing the hike, start walking along Broadway to the east. Across the way is a local landmark know as the Farm-a-cy. This honor system farm stand offers seasonal vegetables, jams, honey and home made baked goods. The zucchini muffins are outstanding. Further up the road just before the first street on the right is the southern trail head of the Heritage Trail. It is on the left and well marked with a Heritage Reserve sign. Turn left here and follow the Heritage Trail (also known as Army Camp Trail) north back towards Baker Farm. When you reach the intersection of the School House Trail you will notice an unmarked, but well groomed trail straight ahead and slightly to the right. Follow this trail and it will lead you to Baker Farm and come out between the ruins of the barn to the left and the farmhouse to the right. Both of these sites have impressive stone foundations. There was also a milk shed and an inn on the site. The inns location is marked with three rows of stones to the east of the farmhouse foundation. The farm site also offers a disc golf course. The history of the farm and the disc golf course are available on an informational kiosk board. To the south of the inn site is a large mowed lawn. At the south end of the lawn is the beginning of the Bob Clachrie Trail. This trail, marked with a hikers hat and also originally called the Christmas Trail, is named after Mr. Clachrie whom was one of the original members of the so-called Trail Gang. The trail, the first cut by the Trail Gang, winds down hill offering a nice view of the East Passage and the Melville Pier before descending to Narragansett Avenue. From here turn left and follow the paved road pass the Prudence Island Fire Station and then turn left onto Governor Payne Road. This road passes several homes and a vast wooded area on the left. About three tenths of a mile along the road and on the left look for the Old Inn Trail marked with a rocking chair. Turning left here, follow the trail over a couple boardwalks, uphill, and along a beautiful stone wall before returning to Baker Farm. Once back at the old inn site, turn to the right and look for the Diamond Trail. Follow this trail as it descends downhill passing through an area of trees that look twined and braided. You will soon pass over a few more short boardwalks before coming to the Division Wall Trail and the wall itself. Continue straight, passing through the wall. The trail first goes through an area of ferns and then becomes substantially root bound. Watch you footing here as some of the roots can be a tripping hazard. The trail soon comes to an intersection. The Diamond Trail turns to the left, but you want to stay to the right and return to East Lane. This is the trail intersection you made note of earlier. When you reach East Lane turn to the right and follow the road keeping the large field to your left. After passing the field you will see a sign for the Buzzy Rice Trail to your left. Follow this mowed trail passing the water tank. The trail then slightly descends. Ahead the trail splits. Stay to the left here, but first take a peek through the trees along the right. There is an opening that offers a great view of the Mount Hope Bridge. Staying to the left the trail continues to descend slightly and ends at Pier Road. Turn right here, passing the Union Church once again and follow Pier Road down to Narragansett Avenue. Directly ahead of you is the “Prudence Island Mall” consisting of a small general store and the post office, To the left is the ferry terminal. Note that hunting is allowed in and around some parts of this hike. Be sure to wear orange during hunting season.

 

NOTE: If you plan on hiking on Prudence Island, be known that the island is not commercialized. There are no restaurants, lodging, or transportation services. There are no public restrooms on the island except a composting toilet by the T-Wharf at the southern end of the island, which is several miles from most hikes. Once you are off the ferry you are on your own. Bring everything you will need for a day hike with no services. Furthermore, ticks are in abundance on the island. It is necessary to take precautions including proper clothing, sprays, and frequent checks.

 

Map can be found at: Prudence East

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Along The Bob Clachrie Trail

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Along The Old Inn Trail

Black Ledge Trail – Portsmouth

  • Black Ledge Trail
  • Bay Avenue, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°36’15.40″N, 71°20’0.87″W (3 miles from ferry)
  • Last Time Hiked: July 31, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.5 miles
  • Fairly easy, use extreme caution at ledge.

 

This hike on the western side of Prudence Island seems to have had two names. On the map linked below it is referred to as Bay Avenue. In an older Prudence Conservancy newsletter it is called the aptly named Black Ledge Trail. To access the trail, park on Bay Avenue just south of the Stone Wharf at the “diving rock”. From here walk up the driveway (still a public road) then stay in front of the stone wall in front of the houses. Ahead you will see a gate and the entrance of the trail. The trail is an out and back leading to a beautiful (but dangerous) ledge that overlooks the West Passage. Along the way are several spots where you can catch a glimpse of the bay. The east side of the trail for several hundred feet is a wall of sweet pepperbush. It is in bloom late July into early August and is very fragrant. The ledge is just after the second gate on the right. The trail ahead ends briefly at a home, there is no need to continue ahead. The trail to the right is steep and narrow as it descends to the ledge. It is worth the climb down for the amazing view. Take some time to linger here before retracing your steps back to the car.

 

NOTE: If you plan on hiking on Prudence Island, be known that the island is not commercialized. There are no restaurants, lodging, or transportation services. There are no public restrooms on the island except a composting toilet by the T-Wharf at the southern end of the island, which is several miles from most hikes. Once you are off the ferry you are on your own. Bring everything you will need for a day hike with no services. Furthermore, ticks are in abundance on the island. It is necessary to take precautions including proper clothing, sprays, and frequent checks.

 

Trail map can be found at: Black Ledge Trail.

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Black Ledges of Southwest Prudence Island

Pine Hill Point – Portsmouth

  • Pine Hill Point
  • Neck Farm Road, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°38’11.54″N, 71°20’18.77″W (2.5 miles from ferry)
  • Last Time Hiked: July 30, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.4 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

This is a beautiful network of grass mowed fields that lead you to the bay. Starting from a small parking area along Neck Farm Road you will follow the Pine Hill Trail south for about a tenth of a mile. Turn right at the first intersection and follow the trail slightly uphill. The trail here is flanked by trees and overgrown fields full of wildflowers and buzzing insects. The trail soon turns to the left passing through a fairly large meadow. At the next intersection continue straight and you will soon be turning to the left again onto a trail aptly named Seaside Way. You will catch glimpses of the bay through the trees here. When you reach the Pine Hill Trail continue straight and the trail will lead you downhill to Jenny’s Pond on the left and the beach on the right. From the beach you have views of the Jamestown Bridge and the Newport Bridge as well as Quonset. In Jenny’s Pond you are likely to see seabirds including egrets. From here retrace your steps to the Pine Hill Trail, turn right and follow it back to the parking area.

 

NOTE: If you plan on hiking on Prudence Island, be known that the island is not commercialized. There are no restaurants, lodging, or transportation services. There are no public restrooms on the island except a composting toilet by the T-Wharf at the southern end of the island, which is several miles from most hikes. Once you are off the ferry you are on your own. Bring everything you will need for a day hike with no services. Furthermore, ticks are in abundance on the island. It is necessary to take precautions including proper clothing, sprays, and frequent checks.

 

 

Trail map can be found at: Pine Hill Point.

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Trail at Pine Hill Point

Prudence South – Portsmouth

  • Prudence South – Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
  • T-Wharf Avenue, Portsmouth, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°35’25.29″N, 71°19’28.96″W (3 miles from ferry)
  • Last Time Hiked: July 29, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.0 miles
  • Fairly easy, all road walking.

 

Once part of a Naval Base and ammunition storage facility during World War II, the southern end of Prudence Island is now a National Estuarine Research Reserve. The old roads of the former base offer several miles of walking “trails” on the property. For this hike, you will start at the Learning Center. Inside the building are several displays of the type of birds, butterflies, and flowers you may see along the hike. There is also a butterfly garden outside the building. From the Learning Center follow T-Wharf Avenue, just under a mile, south to the wharf itself. The wharf was built by the United States Navy and was quite active during the second world war. Today the wharf is used for recreational purposes. There is an Education Shed at the beginning of the wharf well worth checking out. Follow the wharf to its end for uninterrupted views of Jamestown and the Newport Bridge, but be sure to secure your cell phone. The spaces between the wharfs boards are just wide enough to lose a falling cell phone. Fishing is quite a common site here as well. Several types of birds can be commonly spotted here including seagulls, terns, and cormorants. Returning back to land turn left at the composting toilet (good time for a break if needed), and follow the gravel road (Levesque Memorial Road). It will lead you along an Interpretive Trail that offers an occasional informational board about the surrounding area. This road also offers areas along the left that reach out to the bay for some spectacular views including a memorial park with a picnic area. When you reach Brown Road, stay to the left. The road then starts to bend to the right to another intersection at Albro Farm Road. Stay to the right here and head east following the concrete road. You will start to see several former ammunition bunkers from yesteryear along this stretch. At the end of the road you will come to a Quonset Hut. Here turn left and retrace you steps back to the Learning Center.

 

NOTE: If you plan on hiking on Prudence Island, be known that the island is not commercialized. There are no restaurants, lodging, or transportation services. There are no public restrooms on the island except a composting toilet by the T-Wharf at the southern end of the island, which is several miles from most hikes. Once you are off the ferry you are on your own. Bring everything you will need for a day hike with no services. Furthermore, ticks are in abundance on the island. It is necessary to take precautions including proper clothing, sprays, and frequent checks.

 

 

Trail map can be found at: Prudence South.

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Newport Bridge From The Southern Point of Prudence Island

Freetown North – Freetown

  • Freetown North – Freetown/Fall River State Forest
  • Slab Bridge Road, Freetown, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°46’40.01″N, 71° 2’29.59″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 30, 2018
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.5 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

Three and a half years ago I ventured into the southern part of the Freetown State Forest to do a hike. It was a cold and icy day in mid December of 2014. I finally made my way back to explore some of the trails in the northern part of the forest. This hike, early in the morning to beat the heat, made for a very sweaty adventure on a very warm and humid morning. Starting from the main parking area off of Slab Bridge Road we made our way up the entrance road back to the fire barn and then turned left onto the dirt trail named Payne Road. We followed this road passing a CCC watering hole on the right. Shortly after the watering hole and again on the right we came upon a blue blaze on a trail marker. We turned right here and followed the narrow and winding Massasoit Trail. This trail is rocky and rooted in areas and crosses a small stream. We followed the trail to its end then turned left on to Hathaway Road. There are several side trails off the main roads here but the remainder of the hike is on old forest roads. At the next major intersection of forest roads we continued straight staying on Hathaway Road passing two more watering holes. We also observed along this stretch mosquito traps that are used to test the pests for West Nile Virus and EEE. At the next major intersection we turned right onto Makepeace Road and followed it past the intersecting orange trail before going over a slight hill. Just over that hill we turned left onto the Bent Rim Trail which is marked with a sign. For the remainder of this hike we continued straight ahead followed the Bent Rim Trail as it winded through the forest ignoring all side paths and roads until we reached a trail on the left just before the gate at Slab Bridge Road. This trail leads you back to the parking area.

 

Map can be found at: Freetown North

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Old Forest Roads

Town Pond – Portsmouth

 

This out and back trail is well maintained and follows the west shore of Town Pond on one side and Founders Brook beyond the shrubs and thickets on the other side. The trail is accessible from an unmarked parking area on Anthony Road and the trail starts from the left side of the lot. The shrubbery along the trail serves as a haven for birds of all sorts. There are also utility poles here with nests for ospreys here. Hawks, owls, a great blue heron, ducks, and swans were all observed here at the time of this walk. The trail ends at the railroad tracks and across the way is the Bertha Russel Preserve which is essentially a tidal marsh protected for wildlife. This area is also significantly historical as this is approximately where Anne Hutchinson founded the colony which became Rhode Island in 1638. Founders Brook Park is nearby and has monuments commemorating the event.

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From the end of the trail looking over the Russel Preserve

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