Dates Of Visits: March 16 & 17, 2019
Location: 200 Main St., Marshfield, MA
Hours: Open daily dawn til dusk (office is open Mon-Fri, 9:00-4:00)
Cost: Free for members, Nonmembers: $4 Adults, $3 Seniors (65+), $3 Children (2-12)
Parking: There is free parking for about 30 to 40 cars
Trail Size/Difficulty: 225 acres, 5 miles of trails (universally accessible: 0.5-mile loop)/ Easy. See website for additional information.
Handicapped Accessible: The Fern Sensory Trail is universally accessible. But the other trails are not handicapped accessible.
Dog Friendly: No, MASS Audubon trails are not dog friendly
Website: North River Wildlife Sanctuary
Map: North River Wildlife Sanctuary Trail Map
Highlights: wildlife, wide variety of birds, observation deck, sensory trail
Summary: Easy trails, a variety of wildlife and birds (with one special bird), boardwalks and an observation deck are just some of the features of this park
It’s not everyday that you see an eagle. At least not in the suburbs of Massachusetts. But, that’s exactly what happened during a visit to one of the hidden New England treasures in Marshfield, MA.
In trurgh, Marshfield is home to a lot of different wildlife. You may find beavers in some of the rivers and ponds. There are coyotes, wolves and deer in the area. But, eagles are a different matter.
While I was walking along the River Loop Trail, a .5 miles trail that loops around the field across Summer St, I noticed a very large bird soaring above the treetops. I froze at first, not believing what I had seen. A Bald Eagle, not a common bird in these parts, was indeed flying above me. It’s unusual to see birds like this in Marshfield. Later during my visit, one of the workers at the Audubon informed me that an eagle had a nest in that area.
There are a variety of other birds at the sanctuary such as cardinals, blue jays, red winged blackbirds and chickadees.
I have to make a confession though. I sort of cheated. There are bird feeders located in front of the office which made it easier to photograph some of these birds. But, I was able to photograph a lot of the birds on the trails.
The trails are fairly easy to negotiate. In fact, the only issue I had walking on them had more to do with the time of the year I visited. The temperatures had risen melting much of the snow which created mud puddles, then froze over making it it a little icy. But, this should not be an issue now.
The first trail at the sanctuary is the Sensory Trail. There are educational exhibits along the trail such as a display that shows examples of needles and bark. Visitors can touch the display and see the difference between the two materials. There is an exhibit that shows the lifecycle of a butterfly along the trail. The sanctuary also has solar panels which they use for energy. There are boardwalks along the trail as the area is rather marshy. Unfortunately, I could not access all of the trails on the Sensory Trail due to the flooded and muddy nature of the trail.
There is one tricky part to accessing the other trails at North River Wildlife Sanctuary. To access the observation deck and the other trails that lead up to it, you must first cross Summer St (see attached link to the ap of the sanctuary for more details). It can be a busy road depending on when you visit. Do use caution while crossing the street.
Once you cross Summer Street, you will see a field with a nesting area, which I don’t usually see birds using, and a trail that loops around the area. You can also view the aptly named North River from the top of the area.
If you’re lucky, you may see a few chipmunks and red squirrels along the Red Maple Loop which is accessible off the main trail (the River Loop trail).
The most popular attraction (besides the eagles) is the observation deck off the again aptly named North River View trail. The observation deck offers pretty views of the North River and the surrounding Marshfield neighborhood.
As I was leaving the sanctuary I did see one hopeful sign. Spring is indeed springing!
Similar Places I Have Visited:
Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary (Marshfield, MA)
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary (Topsfield, MA)