The Ipswich River and its watershed have supported a rich, diverse ecosystem for thousands of years. This small river graces the region, providing outstanding habitat for the myriad creatures which live here. Eastern Bluebird, Ipswich River, Ipswich River Audubon, Topsfield, Tree Swallow, Luna Moth, Smooth Green Snake, ChickadeeIn the early 1600′s, Captain John Smith was so awed by the river’s bounty that he called this the “land of promise.”
The watershed provides habitat for a number of endangered and threatened species, including the piping plover and least tern on the coastal beaches, as well as least bittern, golden-winged warbler, Cooper’s hawk, pied-billed grebe and northern harrier. More common species also bring great enjoyment and beauty to the landscape – cardinals, red-winged blackbirds, blue jays, red-tailed hawks, spotted sandpipers, song sparrows, great blue herons, egrets, wild turkeys…
Black-capped Chickadees are members of the Titmouse family. These birds can be very friendly and are rarely bothered by a humans presence. In fact, many bird watchers like myself have been able to hand feed these little birds, especially during winter. It is such a delight when a Chickadee trusts you enough to land on your hand to take seed. They are so light, like they are not even there.
These small, bright green snakes (with whitish bellies) camouflage well into their grassy habitats. Because they are small and secretive, blend in well with their surroundings, and are comparatively rare throughout their range, green snakes are only occasionally encountered. (I felt very fortunate to have seen this pretty snake) Except for struggling violently when handled, even after being in captivity for some time, the green snakes are gentle and never bite.
The Luna Moth with its incredible size (3-4 inches), sea-foam green to yellow coloring and long sweeping tails is one of the most spectacular moths found in North America. They are most active at night although there have been sightings during daylight hours. Luna Moths are most likely seen in forested areas but are often attracted to well-lighted areas in the evening.
Here in the northeast tree swallows are a common sight around the ponds and open fields. They are especially beautiful when the sun shines on their iridescent feathers. Tree swallows have steel blue feathers on their head and back and pure white underparts. Fantastic aerialists, they feed on the wing and commune in huge flocks after breeding season. They spend the summer up north in the United States and winter down in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. They nest in old bluebird houses, purple martin houses or dead tree nest cavities that other birds left behind in previous seasons.
Marvelous birds to capture in your binoculars, male Eastern Bluebirds are a brilliant royal blue on the back and head, and warm red-brown on the breast. Blue tinges in the wings and tail give the grayer females an elegant look.Eastern Bluebirds live in meadows and openings surrounded by trees that offer suitable nest holes. With the proliferation of nest boxes and bluebird trails, bluebirds are now a common sight along roads, field edges, golf courses, and other open areas.