Hiking Trails · Smithfield

Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge – Audobon Society of Rhode Island

It was a Saturday evening in June with just a couple hours of sunlight left. Both my husband and I were bored at home trying to think of places to go and take pictures with the new DSLR camera I had just gotten for my birthday a few days before. Lately, we’ve had an interest in hiking trails and I’ve had a fascination with photographing wildlife so we decided to find a nearby trail to explore.

We used to live in Smithfield, where we often drove by a Wildlife Refuge owned by the Audobon Society of Rhode Island. Even though we lived in Smithfield for a few years, we never cared to explore that place. It was my husband, Paul, who suggested we go there since it isn’t too far from where we live and we’d still make it on time to have a little more than an hour left of sunlight for photography. I was hesitant at first because it is a trail that is very close to a large and busy shopping center. I thought how much wildlife could there really be on a trail that is on a main road with a large intersection and stores all around? Well, I ended up going along with his choice this time knowing that I’d get to pick the next trail we go on (when we will have much more time to spare) 😉

When we arrived, there were plenty of parking spots in the large lot since there were only two other cars there. DSC_0054There was a visitor’s center nearby, however, it was closed since it was later in the evening. The hiking trails were clearly marked and easy to follow. We picked a trail and began to walk on it. It wasn’t long into our hike, when we saw the back of an animal sitting right in the middle of the path. We weren’t sure what it was at first until we got closer and realized it was a wild turkey. I immediately got my camera out and started shooting pictures. I’ve seen wild turkeys before, but never this close so this was exciting for me. As we got closer, we saw two baby turkeys sneak out from underneath their mother. I couldn’t believe it! They were so cute and tiny.

At this point, I must’ve already snapped about 50 pictures of the same image (I wanted to make certain that this was being captured). Once the mother realized we weren’t a threat, she began to stand up, and to our amazement, there were more babies! DSC_0883They were all hiding underneath her. We counted eleven baby turkeys in total. I couldn’t believe she was able to hide that many babies.  IMG_1511They all followed behind their mother as she walked along. I was thrilled at this photo opportunity. We both sat there on the grass and watched them as they walked off into the woods.

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After this experience, I was already satisfied with the trail and the pictures I had gotten and was ready to go home, but Paul insisted we finish the trail so we did. I’m glad we continued because I was able to take some great nature pictures along the way. I mentally made a note to myself to come back here another time to do a photo shoot as there were many places on this trail that would make for a great backdrop!

Overall, this trail was a lovely experience for both of us.  The trails are also relatively short and easy for the beginning hiker. It is a great place to take pictures of wildlife. Even if you aren’t lucky enough to see baby turkeys like we were, you will likely find some interesting birds to photograph. We saw many bird feeders and some pretty birds that were feeding on them.

We look forward to having more hiking adventures on other wildlife refuges owned by the Audobon Society of Rhode Island. Click here for a complete list of all their wildlife refuges.

One last note to those visiting this trail or any hiking trail, wear bug spray! We made the mistake of not doing that and came home to find lots of bug bites on our bodies.

-Tamra

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