A trail within mixed hardwoods opens to a dramatic wetland habitat that can be more closely observed on a water-side viewing platform, where you can observe a successional wetland. A memorable spot for birding and wildlife observation.
Once an abandoned cow pasture, the field came into forest. In the 1990s beavers dammed a small stream nearby, creating a wetland of standing dead trees. These trees attracted 90 pairs of herons, who built high nests away from ground predators. As the trees fell, the heron have relocated to another more suitable habitat.
When Indigenous people came to this area prior to English settlement, the wetland probably was only seasonal and the area dominated by hardwood forest. The people were the Pawtucket, or Agawam, and their nearest settlement with access to the Merrimack was on the Cochichewick River in North Andover.
Flora & Fauna
The forested areas consist of mixed hardwoods. Common plants found in the shrub swamps include alders, willows, elderberry and highbush blueberry. In spring and summer, the wetland edge abounds with skunk cabbage, with cattails visible in the water.
The large wetland is home to beaver and muskrat while deer are active along the edges. Ducks, geese, egrets, woodpeckers and flycatchers can all be seen. Painted turtles are common basking on logs, and the sound of calling wood, tree and bull frogs fills the air.
Greenbelt is grateful to several professional and staff photographers whose work is featured prominently within our website.
Thank you Jerry Monkman / ecophotography.com, Lynne Holton, Kindra Clineff, Adrian Scholes and John Raleigh.