Rocky Shores / Rocky Intertidal Zone and Tidepools on the North Shore of Massachusetts

Caution: The rocks of the intertidal are often covered with very slippery algae. Use caution and supervise small children. Hermit Crab at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester Northern Rock Barnacles at Preston Beach in Marblehead. Dogwhelk at Halibut Point State Park. Limpet at Halibut Point State Park. Orange-Striped Green Anemone and anurida maritima at Halibut […]



Salt Marshes on the North Shore of Massachusetts

Overview The North Shore is home to the largest continuous salt marsh in New England. The Great Marsh runs from Cape Ann into New Hampshire and covers over 20,000 acres. Further South, the 600 acre Rumney Marsh Reservation fringes the mouth of the Saugus River on the border of Revere and Saugus. Salt Marshes form […]



Bedrock Geology of the North Shore / Northeastern Massachusetts

Exotic New England The bedrock under the North Shore is exotic. More precisely it is part of an exotic terrane, meaning that our bedrock has not always been part of North America. It’s origins lie off what is now the Northern coasts of Africa and South America from a time when the two continents were […]



Snakes of the North Shore / Northeastern Massachusetts

Northern Black Racer (Coluber c. constrictor) Northern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor) (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain) Northern Black Racer (Coluber c. constrictor) Range Map Description:  Solid dark coloring, ranging from black to greyish-blue. Juveniles may have red or brown banding which disappears with age. Chin and throat are lighter ranging from white to creamy brown. […]



Turtles of the North Shore / Northeastern Massachusetts

Mud and Musk Turtles (Kinosternidae) Eastern musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus) Eastern musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus) (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain) Eastern musk turtle Range Map Pond Turtles (Emydidae) Wood Turtle (Gleptemys insculpta) Wood Turtle (Gleptemys insculpta) (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain) Wood Turtle Range Map Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) […]



Salamanders and Newts of the North Shore / Northeastern Massachusetts

Lungless salamanders (Plethodontidae) Eastern Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus) Eastern Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus) (Photo Credit: National Park Service Public Domain) Eastern Red-backed Salamander Leadback Phase (Plethodon cinereus) at Harold Parker SF (Photo Credit: Northshorenature.com All Rights Reserved) Eastern Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus) Range Map Description:  2.5 to 5 inches long head to tail. Three variations or […]



Frogs and Toads of the North Shore / Northeastern Massachusetts

True Frogs (Ranidae) American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) (Photo Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service Public Domain) American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) Range Map Description:  3.5 to 6 in long, occasionally up to 8 in. Bullfrogs have olive-green backs, either plain or mottled grayish-brown. The underside is off-white blotched with yellow or gray. Limbs […]



Bats of the North Shore / Northeastern Massachusetts

Vesper Bats (Vespertilionidae) Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus) (Photo Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service Public Domain) Big Brown Bat Range Map Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus) Description:  4 to 5 inches long with a 13 inch wingspan. Average weight 0.6 to 0.8 ounces. Females are larger than males. Color variable from light to dark brown […]



Large Mammals of the North Shore / Northeastern Massachusetts

  Bobcat (Lynx rufus) Bobcat (Lynx rufus) (Photo Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service Public Domain) Bobcat Range Map Description:  2 1/2 to 3 feet long. 15 to 35 lbs. Short (~5 inch) tail black only at the tip. Slightly tufted ear tips. Color varies greatly. Grayish buff or reddish, spotted/streaked with black back becoming lighter […]



Small Mammals of the North Shore / Northeastern Massachusetts

Beaver (Castoridae) American Beaver (Castor canadensis) American Beaver (Castor canadensis) (Photo Credit: Laszlo Ilyes (laszlo-photo) from Cleveland, Ohio, USA Creative-Commons-Attribution-2.0-Generic) American Beaver Range Map Raccoons (Procyonidae) Raccoon (Procyon lotor) Raccoon (Procyon lotor) (Photo Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service Public Domain) Raccoon Range Map Skunks (Mephitidae) Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis) Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis) (Photo […]



Glacial History of the North Shore / Northeastern Massachusetts

Around two-and-a-half million years ago, just East of Hudson Bay in Canada, it began to snow. While snow in Canada is not particularly unusual, this snow didn’t melt in the Summer. At least, it didn’t melt as quickly as it fell during the Winter. As the snow built up over hundreds of years, it began […]