Exploring the Warner Trail — Wrentham

I recently spent some time exploring a section of the Warner Trail in Wrentham. The section skirts a major shopping center, passing small brushy-edged retention ponds, extensive powerline cuts and dirt access roads. Not what most people think of as wilderness, but it nonetheless offers plenty to discover and appreciate.

Take this Bird-foot Violet (Viola pedata, below), for example, which I found growing in small clumps along the wood's edge. Nearby, Red Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) was blooming -- a plant that always warrants a closer look.  While I snapped photos, an Indigo Bunting began singing nearby. The all-blue bird is about the size of an American Goldfinch, and my eyes never tire of seeing it.

Photo of Birdfoot Violet (Viola pedata)

Further along, I found a variety of birds that favor open, brushy areas -- including Field Sparrows, Prairie Warblers, Eastern Towhees, Gray Catbirds, and even a fairly uncommon Brown Thrasher.  Scanning a roadside pond, I noticed several Canada Goose families, a group of male Mallards, two Killdeer, and a single Spotted Sandpiper.

It's not necessary to travel a great distance to see a diversity of life -- in this case, I simply walked 20 minutes from my home.

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