TRAIL REPORT

Seven Ponds Nature Center encompasses nearly 500 acres of woodlands, wetlands, lakes, ponds, prairies, and fields. There are over six miles of trails for you to explore and enjoy. Please check-in at the nature center prior to venturing out on the trails. Our trails are open to guests Tuesday through Sunday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and open to Seven Ponds members dawn to dusk, every day of the year.

Click here for a Seven Ponds trail map

CURRENT TRAIL CONDITIONS

May 11, 2021: Our trails are quite dry for this time of year. However, there may be a few soggy areas throughout the grounds, so footwear that can handle a bit of mud is recommended.

NOTE: Our indoor restooms are available during regular operating hours. To help keep our staff and fellow visitors safe, a mask or face covering is required to enter the building, and our building capacity is 25 visitors at one time.

The Discovery Room may be closed at the discretion of our staff during times of high visitation in order to help ensure the health of our visitors and staff. We apoligize for any inconvenience this closure may cause and we encourage you to enjoy the outdoor areas of the nature center.

RECENT OBSERVATIONS

  • Newly arrived birds seen at the nature center the past few days: Chimney Swift, Baltimore Oriole, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, White-crowned Sparrow, Nashville Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Palm Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Gray Catbird, Eastern Towhee...and who knows what tomorrow may bring?! (5/4/21)
  • Exciting news! The Sandhill Crane pair that nested on the island in the North-80 Waterfowl Pond have fledged a single colt. Mom, Dad, and one little colt - with its head just barely clearing the grasses - were seen today in the field by the North-80 tower. (4/29/21)
  • House Wrens have arrived, alerting us to their presence by their nonstop chattering song! (4/29/21)
  • A beautiful Dryad's Saddle fungus was found in the nature center's North-80. This mushroom is found throughout the eastern United States and Europe, where it is commonly attached to logs or dead stumps. (4/28/21)
  • Many spring wildflowers are popping up in our Woodland Wildflower Area. Every day brings new blooms of these beautiful ephemerals. (4/23/21)
  • The area burned in the prairie on April 7 is showing lots of renewed growth. Take a walk around the prairie to see life reinvigorated! (4/21/21)
  • A male Pine Warbler, handsome in his yellow attire, was a nice find on this morning's spring bird walk at Seven Ponds. Look for these summer residents in the stands of red pine and white pine around the building and listen for their fast trill song. (4/21/21)
  • An Eastern Meadowlark was observed singing his heart out at our Richie Pond Preserve. Let's hope he is successful at attracting a mate. (4/11/21)
  • Busy as a beaver! The beavers that occupy the lodge on Treetop Pond have been busy, as evidenced by the pencil-point tree stump in the cedar swamp. (4/11/21)
  • Mayapples are popping up in Paul's Woods and the skunk cabbage in the cedar swamp near the A-Frame Bridge is leafing out nicely. (4/11/21)
  • We conducted a prescriped burn in our prairie today. Conditions were ideal and the burn went smoothly. Check out the prairie in the coming days and weeks for renewed growth! (4/7/21)
  • Spring is the season of migratory bird arrivals - sometimes we get new birds daily. Today we saw our first Chipping Sparrow of the year! (4/5/21)
  • Swamp Sparrows and Yellow-rumped Warblers have arrived! (4/4/21)
  • A pair of Sandhill Cranes are nesting on the small island of reeds in Waterfowl Pond in the North-80. The nest can be easily viewed from the N-80 tower. Please remain quiet and respectful when viewing the nest and enjoying these amazing creatures. (3/27/21)
  • Eastern Phoebes have arrived! A pair is working the area around the front of the building. Look for these mostly-gray/brown flycatchers perched on low branches and human-made structures. Note the nearly-constant tail-wagging. (3/24/21)
  • Spring Peepers and Chorus Frogs are filling our forests with the sounds of spring! (3/23/21)
  • Tree Swallows were observed today for the first time this year. Look for them flying over the North-80, Earl's Prairie, and the area around the nature center building. (3/21/21)
And baby makes three!
And baby makes three!
Dryad's Saddle in the North-80
Dryad's Saddle in the North-80
Eastern Meadowlark singing at the Richie Pond Preserve
Eastern Meadowlark singing at the Richie Pond Preserve
Evidence of the recent work of a beaver in the cedar swamp
Evidence of the recent work of a beaver in the cedar swamp
Skunk cabbage in the cedar swamp near the A-Frame Bridge
Skunk cabbage in the cedar swamp near the A-Frame Bridge
Prescribed burn in Earl's Prairie
Prescribed burn in Earl's Prairie
Sandhill Crane on its nest in the North-80
Sandhill Crane on its nest in the North-80

204 bird species have been observed at Seven Ponds! For recent sightings posted to eBird, click the eBird logo to the right.

 

Our satellite properties are visited less frequently, but offer different habitat for birds. Check out the eBird reports for these two areas below:

Jonathan Woods Nature Preserve eBird reports

Richie Pond Nature Preserve eBird reports

Paul's Woods

Paul's Woods is a mature beech-maple forest bordering a swamp. The trail is a loop of approximately 1/2 mile, and includes a wide, flat trail through the forest and a winding boardwalk through the swamp, which borders Miller Pond. Get a close-up look at the beaver lodge on Treetop Pond, and check out Big Pond from the observation tower.

North-80

The North-80 is located on the north side of Crawford Road, and has an extensive trail network that winds through old fields, a wildlife orchard, young forests, and an old fence row. Two bridges cross the drain, and an observation tower gives you a panoramic view of the field and Waterfowl Pond. During spring and summer look for Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows using the nest boxes in the field.

Earl's Prairie

Earl's Prairie is a nine-acre reconstructed tall grass prairie. Bordered by pine trees most of the way around, the prairie truly comes into its own during late summer, when the grasses are tall and prairie flowers are blooming. Enjoy the wide-open sky and prairie view from the observation tower. 

Woodland Wildflower Area

Located near the nature center and containing many ephemerals, the Woodland Wildflower Area is a wonderful place to visit in the spring. A wide variety of wildflowers and ferns awaits you in this enclosed area. 

Jonathan Woods

Jonathan Woods is located a few miles southwest of the nature center on Jonathan Road. This 145 acre preserve is mature hardwood forest that includes a large, leatherleaf bog and a cold water brook with a hemlock stand. Greatly affected by past glacial activity, the terrain here is rolling and hilly. 

Richie Pond Preserve

Richie Pond Preserve is located on Hosner Road and includes a grassland and small ponds, as well as a marsh bordering Richie Pond.

Along the Trail

boardwalk

Miller Pond Boardwalk

The 1/4 mile boardwalk winds along the shore of Treetop and Miller ponds, and provides access to an interesting swamp forest habitat, with cattails, skunk cabbage, ferns, and views of both ponds. A small platform at the north end overlooks an active beaver lodge.

Observation Platforms

Three raised observation platforms are located throughout the nature center grounds. In Paul's Woods, a platform overlooks Big Pond, the largest of the Seven Ponds. In the North-80, a platform overlooks Waterfowl Pond and the neighboring grassland. In Earl's Prairie, a platform provides a grand view of the entire nine-acre tallgrass prairie.

Observation platform on the tallgrass prairie
A-Frame

A-Frame Bridge

This unique bridge spans the channel between Treetop Pond and Little Pond, and leads to Paul's Woods. It's a wonderful place to view wildlife, and is always worthy of a pause to enjoy the view. First constructed in 1968, it was rebuilt in the 1990s and again in 2011.

Waterfowl Pond

Located in the North-80, Waterfowl Pond is a small, shallow pond with plenty of cattail marsh, and is an excellent place to observe ducks, herons, rails, muskrats, and other wildlife. An observation platform provides an overhead view. Water from this pond drains into the marsh of Long Pond.

Waterfowl Pond at Sunset
IMG_4348

Treetop Pond Teaching Platform

This dock is located at the base of the hill behind the nature center building, and provides an excellent view of Treetop Pond and the A-Frame Bridge. Check out the large beaver lodge visible across the pond, and look for signs of their activity in the woods around the dock.

Demonstration Gardens

These gardens are located in front of the Interpretive Building, and display numerous native trees and shrubs, demonstrating that you can landscape your own yard using native plant species.

Demo gardens
butterfly garden sign
Tree Swallow

Butterfly Garden

Maintained by our Butterfly Gardeners volunteer group, the Butterfly Garden is located near the driveway loop. Its plants provide nectar for butterflies and other insects, and serve as hosts for butterfly larvae.

Songbird Nesting Boxes

The nature center maintains over 100 songbird nest boxes, scattered throughout the North-80, Earl's Prairie, the Richie Pond Preserve, and around the nature center building. These boxes are utilized by Tree Swallows, Eastern Bluebirds, House Wrens, and Black-capped Chickadees. Volunteers monitor these nest boxes, collecting data which is submitted to NestWatch, a citizen science program conducted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Herb Garden

Maintained by our Friends of Herb volunteer group, the Herb Garden is located near the driveway loop. This garden displays plants used by our fore-bearers for food, medicine, potpourri, and dyes.

Bird Feeding Stations

Two bird feeding stations located just outside the interpretive building attract a wide range of birds throughout the year. Depending on the season, you may see a variety of woodpeckers, finches, sparrows, blackbirds, and many other birds visiting the feeders. Visiting mammals may include gray, fox, and red squirrels, eastern chipmunks, and woodchucks.

IMG_4359
feeders