Hitting the Trail is a weekly feature here at Mud Puddles to Meteors. In each post we will share trails, parks, and museums from around the country (and sometimes even beyond). If you would like to join in and share a special nature location please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the details listed at the bottom of the post and links to the photos. We would love to share your nature adventure!
Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge (South Kingstown, Rhode Island)
This week Amy, of Amy Hood Arts, is sharing a recent walk she took with her family at the Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge. She said that she would normally bring her sketchbook, but enjoyed having her camera out to record their walk this time around. They spotted a wide variety of neat animal and plant life (click on the photos to read a description in Flickr). In the Special Features section below, Amy shares how this area was impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
Thank you for sharing your walk with us, Amy!
Location: South Kingstown, RI
Habitat: meadow, freshwater pond, red maple swamp, uplands, coastal shrub, salt pond, barrier beach (access restricted).
Favorite Animal and Plant Life: Frogs, painted turtles, osprey, water lilies, milkweed, caterpillars, dragonflies, shorebirds, songbirds.
Special Features: Trustom Pond is a salt pond behind a barrier beach. These salt ponds/barrier beaches are a feature of Rhode Island’s coastline, but this is the only pond/barrier beach completely contained within a conservation area. The beach is protected for piping plover nests, and many migratory waterfowl make use of the refuge. During Hurricane Sandy a year ago, the pond was breached, dropping the water level and increasing the salinity. The breach closed naturally five months later. Scientists are monitoring the water and its inhabitants; they may decide periodic breaching should be a part of the refuge management policy.
The meadow habitat contains lots of milkweed, which (usually) makes it a great spot for seeing monarchs and other butterflies. As always in this part of the country, be aware that deer ticks are on the property and take precautions. The variety of habitats makes it a great place for a nature walk.
The website is here.
Best Time of Year to Visit: We enjoy it in all seasons. Usually at this time of year we see lots of monarch butterflies, but populations are down this year, and we felt lucky to see a monarch caterpillar. We enjoy observing nesting ospreys in the spring (there are observation decks with spotting scopes) and seeing the boats go back and forth in the Sound–out beyond the barrier beach–in the summer. And a quiet wintertime walk is always a great way to get exercise and fresh air during the colder months.