Yet Another Earth Garden: Northern Rail Trail in Andover, NH

This past weekend I walked the Northern Rail Trail in Andover, NH, from the access point off Lawrence Street (to the right off Route 11 by the Irving Gas Station) to Plains Road, and back, a total of 5.4 miles. (Map of the walk.) There is plenty of parking and a port-a-pot right by the ball field on Lawrence St.

Most of the path was fairly sunny, with a few shady spots. The most notable feature was the dragonflies, thousands of them, many varieties, swooping low arcs over the path and alongside it. (Click any photo for larger view.)

 

still un-ID'd gorgeous dragonfly
still un-ID’d gorgeous dragonfly
Chromagrion conditum (Aurora) damselfly on fern
Chromagrion conditum (Aurora) damselfly on fern
mating Chromagrion conditum (Aurora) damselflies2014
mating Chromagrion conditum (Aurora) damselflies
Ladona julia (Chalk-Fronted Corporal) dragonfly resting on road
Ladona julia (Chalk-Fronted Corporal) dragonfly resting on road

Horseshoe Pond was also a great place to stop and observe: so many turtles perched on rocks, some cedar waxwings in the trees, lily pads just starting to bloom yellow.

Horseshoe Pond
Horseshoe Pond
cedar waxwing near Horseshoe Pond
cedar waxwing near Horseshoe Pond
two sunning painted turtles at Horseshoe Pond
two sunning painted turtles at Horseshoe Pond
two painted turtles, on balancing, at Horseshoe Pond
two painted turtles, one balancing, at Horseshoe Pond
lily pads in bud, Horseshoe Pond
lily pads in bud, Horseshoe Pond

And like everyone else who walks this trail, we came across a memorial area for Josh Wilterdink, who died after a car crash at age 18.

Some other interesting flora, fauna, and human-made things to see along the trail at this time of year:

Some bridges …

Some blooms … ox-eye daisy, lady’s slipper, dandelions, sarsaparilla, yellow hawkweed, British soldiers lichen, sheep laurel …

Some human and animals “signs” …

one of the granite signposts ... 100 miles to Boston
one of the granite signposts … 100 miles to Boston
railroad ties
railroad ties
metal plate on railroad tie ... the track would sit on top of it.
metal plate on railroad tie … the track would sit on top of it.
signs for pizza and ice cream!
signs for pizza and ice cream!
side trail steps
side trail steps
snowmobile debris (one of several we saw)
snowmobile debris (one of several we saw)
view at Plains Road
view at Plains Road
scat with white fur
scat with white fur

 

And a few other goodies … I wasn’t quick enough to get the snake we saw scurrying away …

white admiral butterfly
white admiral butterfly
Comptonia peregrina (sweet fern)
Comptonia peregrina (sweet fern)
milkweed
milkweed
wet area with moss and grass
wet area with moss and grass

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