Wenlock Wildlife Management Area

Area:  Wenlock Wildlife Management Area
Region:  VT - Northeast  
Wenlock Wildlife Management Area
Location:  Ferdinand, VT
Rating:  Easy  
Features:  Pond, wetlands
Distance:  1.6 miles  
Elevation Gain:  Minimal  
Hiking Time:  Actual: 1:00     
Season:  Winter
Hike Date:  01/28/2007 (Sunday)  
Weather:  Sunny and cold
Author:  Webmaster

Route Summary   

Walk from the parking area, along an unnamed trail, and head back the same way upon reaching the trail's terminus.

Place         Split
Parking area 0.0 0.0 0:00 0:00
End of trail 0.8 0.8 0:30 0:30
Parking area 0.8 1.6 0:30 1:00


The trail (photo by Webmaster)

Cedar trunk (photo by Webmaster)

  Trail Guide   

This trail was mostly level and went through a small section of the almost 2000-acre Wenlock Wildlife Management Area. It is an area popular for wildlife sightings: especially birds, deer, and moose.

On the day I went, there were several bird enthusiasts present. There had recently been a big buzz in the bird-world because rare American three-toed woodpeckers have been hanging out at Wenlock.

I met several birders taking a lunch break in the parking area. They pointed out several white-winged crossbills singing from high in the treetops.

I walked from the parking area farther down South America Pond Road for about 100 feet, and then turned right onto a trail. There is a sign on a tree indicating that this is a grouse area, but other than that, the trail is unsigned.

Indian pipe (Monotropa uniflora) (photo by Webmaster)

On my way to the trail, I met a couple birders walking in the opposite direction. They turned around and walked with me a bit to direct me to a spot off the trail where I would be likely to see the three-toed woodpecker. About 50 yards along the trail, was a beaten route leaving the trail on the left and heading down a gentle slope to a pond/wetland area and a small beaver dam. I was told I could see gray jays there as well as several species of woodpecker: the rare three-toed, the rare black-backed, the small downy, and the reclusive, large pileated.

Cedar grove (photo by Webmaster) I hung out there for half an hour and heard white-winged crossbills and saw a gray jay, but no woodpeckers. Nevertheless, it was still a pleasant spot to hang out.

I made my way back to the trail and resumed my original route. There was about 4-6 inches of snow on the ground but the trail was packed down and was easy walking. Fir and spruce trees lined the narrow trail. There were several trees down across the trail but they were easy to get over, under, or around. I saw some hare tracks.

I heard many chickadees chirping and singing in the trees but never got a close look at one. The birders I encountered told me they were the boreal chickadees (with a brown as opposed to a black cap) and that they were shyer than the black-capped chickadees. I could also see and hear the white-winged crossbills, always high up in the very tips of the trees.

I walked past a small grove of cedar trees with their interesting vertically ridged, sometimes twisting, bark. And in this spot, contrary to the tall cedar trees, were short little Indian pipe (Monotropa uniflora) plants poking out of the snow. They were in their winter form of course: all brown and with the flower (a.k.a. pipe bowl) pointing straight up. In the summer these plants are a ghostly, semi-translucent white with their flowers either pointing out so that the plant is the same shape as a pipe; or with the blooms pointing downward. Indian pipe is unique in that it has absolutely no chlorophyll - no green. It gets its nutrients by the surrounding trees via fungal threads (mycorrhiza) that are abundant in the ground and connect tree roots (or other plants' roots) to those of the Indian pipe.

At one point I happened upon a red squirrel sitting on a tree branch right about at my eye height. Although we were only a couple feet apart, he wasn't inclined to immediately run away. He was holding what looked like a hollowed-out acorn in his mouth. I snapped a few photos, and he finally ran away while making some funny groaning noises...I guess he couldn't make his normal chattering sounds with his mouth occupied with transporting the empty acorn.

Red squirrel (photo by Webmaster)

There were just a couple small clearings along the trail. The trail eventually ended by descending down a small hill and meeting Rt. 105. At this point, I turned around and retraced my footsteps, although one could make a loop if desired, by walking back on the road (turning right from the trail onto Rt.105, then walking about half a mile, and turning right onto South America Pond Road to rejoin the parking area). At the parking area, I saw another gray jay.
The trail (photo by Webmaster)


VT - Northeast

  Driving Directions   

Wenlock Wildlife Management Area is located in Ferdinand, VT. Both Rt. 105 and South America Pond Road run through the WMA. From the junction of Routes 102 and 105 in Bloomfield, travel 6.5 miles west on Rt. 105. Then turn left onto South America Pond Road. There is a small parking area on the right after 0.1 mile.

Heading east on Rt. 105, South America Pond Road is approximately 9 miles from Island Pond.

There is a gate on South America Pond Road that is closed during mud season.

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