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Hike-NH.com - View topic - A "Sweet" Trail For Viewing Wildlife - 6/9/16

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Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 
 A "Sweet" Trail For Viewing Wildlife - 6/9/16 
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Hiking Forums Are My Crack
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Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
Posts: 7137
Location: Exeter, NH
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 A "Sweet" Trail For Viewing Wildlife - 6/9/16
Mother Nature whited out my planned trip to the Alpine Garden yesterday, but with a hike planned this weekend I needed to get out and make sure everything still worked since it's been three weeks since I last hit a trail of any kind! :shock: I decided with unsettled weather all around to stay local and just return to the Sweet Trail and check out spring in the woods of Durham Point. The Sweet Trail is the longest in the area and runs about 4.5 miles from the waters of Great Bay through the rolling woodlands, visiting ponds, marshes and rocky outcrops along the way. Not much for distant views but a nice leg stretcher if you can appreciate the woods and small things along the way.

One of many herons seen along the way, this one in Crommet Creek on the way there


Canada Geese family






I started at the Lubberland Creek parking area on Bay Road in Newmarket. Room for half a dozen cars, a kiosk and a nice map where the trail heads either into the woods or out to the bay across the street. I chose the woods first, circling around the base of Jeff's Hill and then into the flatter lands filled with large marshes and swamps. I thought from previous visits they'd be filled with birds and wildlife, but other than a couple skittish great blue herons and some canada geese there wasn't much going on. Maybe all the birds were hunkered down since it was quite windy. Once of the wetlands was filled with dragonflies of all colors and sizes, so I spent a couple minutes stalking them before moving on.

The trail is well signed, blazed and traveled


Indeed!








Herons take off the moment they see you


Speaking of the "sweet" trail :D


Many types of dragonflies inhabit the wetlands








Some damselflies too






Enjoyable, quiet woods to stroll through


Some of the many wetlands along the way






And a few rocky sections, but not many




There was a decent variety of wildflowers along the way too, a few more animals and plenty of quiet woods. A few swamps had beaver lodges also but nobody appeared to be out and about. After about 3 1/2 miles I came to Colby Marsh, the largest of the wetlands along the trail, which has a nice rocky outcrop to hang around and spectate on, but there still wasn't much worth seeing other than a bunch of lily pads, so I turned back there since the last half mile to the actual end of the trail is just a dirt road with nothing to see.

























Colby Marsh, my turnaround point after 3.5 miles




On the way back I saw some more of the local wildlife (read chipmunks and squirrels) as well as a couple different kinds of turtles out in the sun. I think they were mostly painted turtles with a larger Blanding's turtle mixed in, which is an endangered species in NH. Back the way I came, scaring off a few more Herons along the way, I arrived at the loop up Jeff's Hill which I took before the trail split and headed 1/3 of a mile across the road into the salt marsh along the edge of Lubberland Creek with views out across the bay.





Painted turtle


Smaller Painted with larger, endangered Blanding's Turtle




Six spotted beetle


Lubberland Creek Preserve




End of the trail




There is also an Osprey nesting platform on the edge of the bay nearby, and a field waist high grass growing but a path sort of mowed through it that leads right to a cluster of woods closer to the platform. I decided to tuck my pant legs in to keep ticks out and take the path for a better look. I stayed in the woods, but the Osprey was circling and doing it's aerial maneuvers right over and in front of me, and I spent about half an hour watching and taking some pictures. After a while it noticed me I think, and he/she would swoop right over me screeching and staring me down, which I took as a sign that I was bothering it with my presence so I packed it up and went back the way I came and called it a hike.

Osprey nest on it's platform


My vantage point from the edge of the woods


Osprey circling around




Performing some impressive aerial maneuvers






I think I've been spotted! :D


And I think he/she is yelling at me.




Go away! So I did.


Elevation gain was minimal. Couldn't have been more than a few hundred feet over the eight miles, but there was a lot to see along the way if you can appreciate the southern NH uplands forests and wetlands. Bugs weren't bad either, probably because of the 20 mph breeze, and other than taking a pine cone off the head it was an enjoyable if not spectacular hike. I keep meaning to get back here on a quiet fall morning in foliage season but haven't yet. Maybe this will be the year. Maybe not. But summer and spring have both offered plenty to see on this local hike. Only two more for the seasonal grid! :lol:


Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:13 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman

Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:40 pm
Posts: 1667
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 Re: A "Sweet" Trail For Viewing Wildlife - 6/9/16
Glad you made good use of the day and got to see SOME flowers! This looks like another good place for my granddaughters (Megan and I went to NH Audobon yesterday for like the third time). Squirrel and chipmunk shots are great - nice perspective.

The weekend doesn't look as bad as it did earlier in the week, still holding out for Sunday. We'll camp tomorrow night and see what the AM brings.


Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:32 pm
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Peak Bagger
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Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:03 pm
Posts: 256
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 Re: A "Sweet" Trail For Viewing Wildlife - 6/9/16
Fantastic pictures of the osprey!


Sat Jun 11, 2016 7:49 am
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Sovereign Woodsman
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Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:35 pm
Posts: 2766
Location: south of the notches
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 Re: A "Sweet" Trail For Viewing Wildlife - 6/9/16
Wow G-to-the-second-power! That is a most excellent shot of that heron, caught mid-step.

Well done. It's shots like these and Joe's Alpine Garden shots that make me want to sell off some of my gear and get a new camera. Sigh.

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Sat Jun 11, 2016 10:14 pm
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Mountaineer
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Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:49 pm
Posts: 141
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 Re: A "Sweet" Trail For Viewing Wildlife - 6/9/16
Amazing pictures of the osprey!


Sun Jun 12, 2016 6:12 am
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Hiking Forums Are My Crack
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Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
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Location: Exeter, NH
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 Re: A "Sweet" Trail For Viewing Wildlife - 6/9/16


Sun Jun 12, 2016 8:29 am
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