The Salamander Trail
Welcome to the Trail
Things to See:
Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)
The Spotted Salamander is a rather large salamander common to Eastern North America. Adults can grow to seven inches in length, with a black body and a row of irregular, large yellow spots
Gray Partridge (Perdix Perdix)
Originally introduced from Europe, the Gray Partridge has become prolific across North America and is now a popular game bird. A mother patridge will feign a broken wing to distract would-be predators from her young.
Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
The pioneers made ink and dyes from the bark of the now-often ornamental Red Maple. Watch the forest glow with brilliant red, orange, and yellow hues in autumn. In winter, White-tailed deer browse on the woody vegetation.
Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea) Plant Life
The green fronds above are actually sterile; in early spring, the fertile cinammon brown stalks grow. These fertile fronds, or fiddleheads, may be harvested, boiled, then eaten.
Goldenrods (Solidago spp) Goldenrods
This autumn-blooming plant abounds in many types of terrain, including meadows, forest, and rocky ground. The nectar is a source of food for Monarch butterflies. Some species of the plant are used to make herbal tea.
Blackberry (Rubus fruticosa) Plant Life
Though its looks might deceive you, the blackberry is actually a member of the rose family. This delicious berry is used in jams, pies, candles, ice cream, and many other recipes.
Start at the entrance to the trail beside the car park behind the Sea Captain’s House. Walk down through the tunnel formed by Speckled Alder bushes, Meadowsweet and showy Beach Roses. Look for bright yellow hairy caterpillars tucked in the folds of the alder leaves. Pause as you come out into the open meadow to feel the heat of the sun reflected up from the ground. Smell the fragrant grasses and wildflowers, watch for fluttering butterflies, and listen to the background chirps of crickets and the melodies of songbirds.
The Meadow is an important habitat for wildflowers and grasses, providing cover and food for a rich variety of butterflies and birds. The area is actively managed by mowing every two years to maintain its unique grassland flora and to help preserve this type of open meadow, which is often lost through development or forest re-growth.
As you walk along the trail towards the Salt marsh, notice the tall spikes of Goldenrod, the purple and white Asters, the velvety-brown centers of Blackeyed Susan and the arching thickets of Blackberries. Watch for the flash of yellow-bordered wing as a Carolina locust starts from under your feet. If you stand awhile you may see a vibrant orange Monarch butterfly glide past, or, if you look even harder, you may spot the small dusty brown wings of the Wood Nymph hesitating over a leaf.
The Red Spruce Forest:
Pause and feel the different atmosphere. The forest is much darker, cooler, damper and subdued. The riot of colors in the meadow has been replaced by the subtle variations in green of the evergreen and broadleaf trees, set off by touches of white flowers or red berries near the forest floor.