After spending the night in Medford, we drove northeast to Greenport on the North Fork of Long Island, where we caught a ferry to Shelter Island:
Arriving on Shelter Island, we drove to Mashomack Preserve, a 2,039-acre preserve owned by The Nature Conservancy, constituting 1/3 of the island. We were greeted by Eastern wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris), among other feathered subjects:
The visitor center of the preserve had a large bird feeder, which attracted the turkeys, as well as at least one chipmunk and rat that were playing tag with each other. Here a common grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) rests not far from the feeder:
Am American goldfinch (Spinus tristus) enjoys the seed:
A juvenile blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) was also hanging out at the feeder:
We could have stayed longer at the visitor center, which also had a nice collection of bird’s eggs, but we at the preserve to hike. The preserve has a varied terrain, including mature oak woodlands, fields, tidal creeks and freshwater marshes. The trails are only marked in one direction. Only hiking is allowed; biking, horseback riding, and even jogging is prohibited.
We decided to hike without applying any bug repellent. I was probably thinking that none was needed because I had hiked the day before without problems, and Batya was probably thinking that it wouldn’t do any good because mosquitoes had attacked her the day before despite the insect repellent. We probably both would have benefited from repellent, as Batya was bitten by additional mosquitoes, and I was attacked by something else–probably sandfleas.
We began our hike on the red trail, hiking east through a wooded area:
A kettle pond, formed by receding glaciers:
After 3/4 mile, the red trail reached Miss Annie’s Creek, a natural tidal inlet and small cove:
We left the red trail and continued east on the yellow trail, which passed briefly through a meadow:
The meadow included this bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare), whose seeds are enjoyed by the American goldfinch (though perhaps not by the one we saw at the bird feeder):
After only about 1/2 mile we left the yellow trail. Our choice now was to follow a green-blazed lollipop trail south or to take the blue trail to the east. We continued east on the blue trail, which led through a lightly forested area in which I did not take any noteworthy photos.
After about 1.7 miles on the blue trail we reached Gardiner’s Bay, at the east side of the island, which included a tiny beach and a nice ocean view, with several islands visible some miles in the distance:
The blue trail turned south, and included a counterclockwise detour around a swampy area. Part of the trail again moved through lightly forested area:
After about another 1.5 miles, the blue trail reached the southeastern point of the preserve, Nicoll’s Point, again providing us with water views:
A feather from a wild turkey:
Over the course of another 1.1 mile, the blue trail ran west, passing by Plum Pond and Bass Creek. I will guess these two photos are Plum Pond, though I am uncertain:
We reached the end of the blue trail and turned south on the green trail. This was hiking in the opposite direction from that intended, though I thought the trail would be easy enough to follow. After about 1/2 mile, we reached Sanctuary Pond, where we followed a short Laspia Family Trail along the west side of the pond.
A great egret (Ardea alba) was standing guard over the pond:
Canadian geese (Branta canadensis) were also there:
We returned to the green trail and continued a short distance, but we ran into a residential area within the preserve that was no doubt grandfathered into the park at the time of its acquisition, and we could not tell where the trail continued. As I noted earlier, we were traveling in the opposite direction from that in which the trail was blazed. We therefore turned around and traveled north on the green trail, soon passing the junction with the blue trail, and continuing west on the green trail. This led through more of the lightly wooded area:
Stairs on the green trail:
The green trail returned us to the meadow area that we had encountered briefly on the yellow trail:
After 1.5 miles, the green trail came to an end, and we returned to the yellow trail, this time moving north and then east through the meadow:
The red berries of the shining sumac (Rhus copallinum) are said to attract wildlife:
A hollow log:
We completed the remaining 0.4 miles of the yellow trail and the 3/4 mile of the red trail, returning to the parking lot after a hike of about 9.2 miles.