There has been a number of surprising sightings at Salter Grove this summer!
Immature Bald Eagles have been sighted now and then during the winter months over the park. However, in early August, a few visitors got to see a mature adult perched in the black oak southeast of the entrance to the causeway. It was photographed as it flew off by Ian Ohara, a graduate student in the Environmental Studies Department of the University of Rhode Island.
Friends of Salter Grove member Jason Major was on scene as well and captured cell phone video of the eagle perched in a tree just east of the causeway path entrance:
Many of the plants at Salter Grove are wildflowers from other continents! Here, however, they are usually considered weeds because they readily colonize waste areas and lawns. Rarely are they given a second look before they are pulled up or mown down. Some of these are quite interesting and have been showcased east of the parking lot.
We learned about Matthew “Twig” Largess and Nathan Cornell in the Warwick Beacon where they were featured as seekers of old-growth forests. The woodland at Salter Grove is relatively young, but there are some unexpectedly large trees in the park so we invited this arboreal dynamic duo to assess them on Saturday, March 27.
They were joined by FoSG coordinator Peter Becker and nature trail volunteers, Carolyn Hardie, Nick Pasterino, Billy McGovern, Nancy Sumrall, and Marina Wong. Twig and Nathan examined and measure the suspected old-growth trees and provided a great deal of information in two short hours.
We may have a champion black oak north of the parking lot. Our visitors were quite impressed by the very large black gums surrounded by numerous smaller individuals along the pond trail.
As a preliminary to a geology section in our developing online nature trail guide, Jonathan Alvarez, a geologist from EA Engineering in Warwick, kindly shared his knowledge of features found at Salter Grove.
It is truly a shame that so many of the exposed rocks have been defaced by juvenile grafﬁti that obscures a fascinating geological history. Even birds know better than to foul their own nest! Please help us to realize our park’s potential as an outdoor classroom by leaving no trace of your visits.
The above view of Rock Island from what is currently known as Audubon Hill shows an interesting slice of Salter Gove’s history from the turn of the previous century.
At least three houses, long since gone, are visible on the island. Riverside, in the background, is already quite developed.
The circled trees are probably individuals of tree-of-heaven, which was introduced from China to the United States in the late 1700s as an ornamental plant. At Salter Grove, scattered individuals can now be found at the edge of the woodland south of the parking lot.
We would like to illustrate more of such historical changes in the Guide to Salter Grove website being developed. If you have photographs that you are willing to share we’d like to hear from you.
Please send scanned copies of your photos with all available information (dates, locality in park etc.) to email@example.com. We would also welcome personal accounts of activities and times spent at the park in years past to add to our understanding of the park’s evolution.
While working on the nature trails on Tuesday, November 17th, a hawk flew right toward us, struggling to keep hold of a squirrel in its talons. It graciously posed for some photos, and then flew to a limb tangle where it was better able to pin the squirrel down for a feast. It must have been very hungry because it even stripped the fur off the squirrel’s tail, presumably to access the tidbits there.
An hour later, a large raccoon was spotted sleeping 35 feet up on a black oak bough, not far from the hawk’s feeding perch.
Then an immature bald eagle soared by over South Cove.
Finally, the same hawk was seen close up, feeding on another bird, but unfortunately the camera battery had died.
Salter Grove—who needs a documentary when you can see it live?