The main purpose of this area is to preserve the grasslands. During the summer there are several species of birds that need these grasslands to nest. The path goes around the edges so people do not enter the fields while the birds are using them.
Total Hike & Seek Targets: 5
These fields are preserved mainly for their grasses. In the spring the grasses green up quickly and provide food for insects like grasshoppers and small mammals, like rabbits, to nibble. As the season goes to summer, the grasses grow tall. They can even be as tall as a small person! Grasses make flowers and seeds in the fall that are enjoyed by birds. Take a picture along the trail of the tallest grasses you can find.
The fields are also filled with many kinds of flowers. All are great for bees, bugs, butterflies, and other pollinators that are attracted to the flowers for their sweet nectar. While sipping nectar they also spread pollen from one flower to another. Milkweed is a special flower. There are patches of it along the trails and in the hedgerows. If you break one leaf, it will leak milky sap that tastes terrible! Look carefully at the delicate flowers if they are present. In the fall the seed pods form and will open to spread their seeds to blow in the wind on silken parachutes.
Butterflies enjoy the fields from spring through fall and they come in many sizes and colors. But everyone’s favorite seems to be the monarch. Beautiful bright orange and black butterflies come to this field especially for the milkweed. It finds nectar from the flowers, but it is the leaves that are most important. The female will lay her eggs only on the leaves of milkweed plants. That milky white sap that tastes so terrible is just what the young caterpillars need to feed on as soon as they hatch! The caterpillars are black, white and greenish yellow striped, so different from the adult butterfly!
Along the walls, the plants get to grow taller because they are not mowed often. Shrubs, vines, and trees can grow up making great hiding and nesting places for many small animals and birds. Our Connecticut state insect, the praying mantis, likes to hang out here waiting for food: another, smaller, insect for him to catch and eat. Berry plants of many kinds grow in the hedgerow and those berries provide great food for them too. Can you tell the difference between hedgerow and field plants?