2015-12-31 / Nature

Area Offers Diverse Natural Array

By Jack Kelly


This hardy great blue heron survived last winter at Easton’s Pond. This hardy great blue heron survived last winter at Easton’s Pond. Newport County has a vast wealth of wild spaces. Its diverse habitats of forests, meadows, scrub brush, rocky and sandy shorelines, and wetlands provide fertile breeding and nesting grounds for untold numbers of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and insects during the spring and summer months. Spring and fall migration cycles bring millions of birds along the Atlantic Flyway, and large flocks descend into these same bountiful regions. Pausing to feed and rest, the migrants follow age-old route to their final destinations.

Aquidneck Island also provides prime wintering grounds for scores of waterfowl, seabird, shorebird, songbird, and raptors species. A nature walk in any season will reveal new discoveries and wonders which only our island can produce.

Jack Kelly, a native Newporter, is a wildlife photographer and nature enthusiast who enjoys sharing his experiences with others.



A willow flycatcher dines on an insect while watching for more prey. A willow flycatcher dines on an insect while watching for more prey.

The adult female of the nesting pair of piping plovers at Third Beach this past summer shelters her two chicks from the heat and sun under her wings. The adult female of the nesting pair of piping plovers at Third Beach this past summer shelters her two chicks from the heat and sun under her wings.

A juvenile snowy owl spent three weeks in the marsh region of Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge last March feeding on mice, ducks and gulls. A juvenile snowy owl spent three weeks in the marsh region of Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge last March feeding on mice, ducks and gulls.

One very special avian visitor brightened last winter for scores of birdwatchers. A very rare painted bunting made an appearance at a set of bird feeders in Middletown. This colorful songbird is a native of Mexico. It was highly rare to see one so far north, especially in February! One very special avian visitor brightened last winter for scores of birdwatchers. A very rare painted bunting made an appearance at a set of bird feeders in Middletown. This colorful songbird is a native of Mexico. It was highly rare to see one so far north, especially in February!

A courting pair of snowy egrets forages together in the Gooseneck Cove saltmarshes. A courting pair of snowy egrets forages together in the Gooseneck Cove saltmarshes.

A whimbrel forages at Brenton Point. A whimbrel forages at Brenton Point.

An adult green heron stalks prey from a perch in the Gooseneck Cove saltmarshes. An adult green heron stalks prey from a perch in the Gooseneck Cove saltmarshes.

Adult male great egret displays his “nuptial plumes” in hopes of attracting a female. Adult male great egret displays his “nuptial plumes” in hopes of attracting a female.

A white-rumped sandpiper feeds on small invertebrates at Third Beach. 
Photos by Jack Kelly A white-rumped sandpiper feeds on small invertebrates at Third Beach. Photos by Jack Kelly

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