Saturday, April 20, 2013

Rocky Hill Wildlife Sanctuary

I drove up to Groton this afternoon to visit a Mass Audubon Sanctuary, Rocky Hill, that I had never been to before.  In the parking area, I saw Eastern Bluebirds.  I started out on Rocky Hill Trail.  Let me just say this sanctuary is well named!

Lots of the boulders had this strange fungus lichen (Rock Tripe) growing on them that looked like burned paper.

When I walked out onto the power line easement, I saw more Eastern Bluebirds and a Tufted Titmouse.   They all flew away as I approached, so I have no photos of them.  Finally, on the hill top, a bird stopped and posed for me.  I think it is an Eastern Phoebe although its cap seems much darker than the others I've seen so far.

I continued along the trails, hoping to find nesting Great Blue Herons on the "Heron Rookery Trail".  I ended up going out of the sanctuary, without realizing it, but soon knew that I had made a mistake when I no longer saw the markers on the trees (there were lots throughout the sanctuary) and turned around.

I had just about given up on finding any Great Blue Herons when I came to an overlook of the water.  There was a nice little rock that looked like it'd make a good seat,  so I thought I'd get off my feet and rest since I had been hiking for quite a while by this time.  As I was sitting there enjoying the view, I suddenly realized the Great Blue Heron nests were directly in front of me!  I was very happy not to have missed these nests.  I hope to come back after the babies are born!

While I was enjoying watching the Great Blue Herons on their nests, I also spotted a Brown Creeper.

There was another trail called "Ovenbird Trail" that I really would have liked to take too, but I was just too tired so I headed back to the car.  I saw two Northern Flickers and an Eastern Bluebird pair as I was leaving the sanctuary.

A lovely stop.  I highly recommend it to anyone who would like to see nesting Great Blue Herons!


  1. I believe the strange lichen is called Rock Tripe.

    1. Thanks, Brian. That looks like a match. I see that it's doesn't look very appetizing!