Hanover has a new nature sanctuary. It is located in metropolitan downtown Etna. It deserves a visit in any season but especially in spring when the trees are blooming and the birds that headed south for the winter are returning to nest or just passing through.
Established through the cooperative efforts of the Hanover Conservancy and the Hanover Conservation Commission, donations from area residents, and many hours of volunteer labor, this small but charming spot is the Nan & Allen King Bird Sanctuary. Many birds have managed to find it, or perhaps they have always been at this former Hayes Farm.
Park at the Etna Library, take a picnic lunch, walk across a field to enter, hike a short, obvious, mowed trail past handsome stone walls and crabapples, and sit on a stone bench in the high meadow. There you will find a plaque, appropriately showing a Kingbird, created from a glacial boulder by sculptor Chance Anderson of Canterbury, NH. You can enjoy a view over the Mink Brook valley from this peaceful spot. From here you can explore the Trescott Ridge Wetlands with even more stone walls to the west. However, before you do, learn how to identify many native trees and shrubs that are labeled with detailed information. All of the plants displayed make excellent alternatives to exotic plants for the home landscape.
The photos in the slide show here include the following birds, all photographed in the King Sanctuary May 6 & 7, 2012: Wilson’s, Nashville, Black-and-White, Chestnut-sided, Common Yellowthroat, and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Gray Catbird, House Wren, Eastern Bluebird, Chipping Sparrow, and Least Flycatcher.
Sixteen of the photos on this page were published as a photo essay in the March-April, 2013 issue of Upper Valley Life magazine.