Recent scratch marks outside this tree cavity means something’s taken up residence – maybe a squirrel or chipmunk.

 

The 400-acre Rocky Hill wildlife sanctuary in Groton is one of Massachusetts Audubon’s latest acquisitions. With the change in clocks, I decided to take advantage of the extra hour to do some early-morning exploring.

The entrance is a bit tricky to find. It’s nestled in among a new development of MacMansions along streets like Robin Hill Road and Cardinal Lane. From either Ayer or Groton look for Robin Hill Road off Westford Road near a power line right-of-way. From Robin Hill Road take Cardinal Lane and you’ll soon see the familiar Mass. Audubon sign at a small parking lot. There’s an information kiosk with maps.

A nice network of trails loops through an extensive oak forest and wetlands area. The sanctuary boasts a heron rookery, and a ridge of interesting ledges. There are signs of early settlement – cellar holes, and an old stone bridge across a brook. The walking is easy, though the footing in some places, especially around the ledges, can be a little tricky.

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