Capt. David Cushman, Jr. Preserve - Duxbury, MA
Lura Oakes Cushman, 1985
Nestled along the banks of the tidal Blue Fish River, the Cushman Preserve offers both historical and natural interest. Captain Cushman purchased the land from relatives of his wife, Mary W. Alden (a direct descendant of John Alden), whose family has held the property since the 1620s. The Captain’s home, “The Anchorage”, was built in 1846 and housed many treasures from his voyages to China and the South Seas between 1840 and 1860. The house and property were donated to Wildlands Trust by Lura Cushman, the Captain’s granddaughter. The house remains a private residence.
A trail leads from the parking area into a field, skirting the edge of a woodland. English oak, a non-native species, is found in the tree line behind the old barn. At the eastern margin of the field, large Norway spruces can be distinguished from native conifers by their long, five-to-six-inch cones.
Tree and barn swallows sweep the air for insects above a variety of grasses and wildflowers, including black-eyed Susan, Queen Anne’s lace, sweet goldenrod, and small white aster. Birders should keep an eye out for meadow-loving species such as eastern meadowlark, eastern bluebird, field sparrows, Savannah sparrows, and hawks. To maintain diversity of habitat, Wildlands mows the Cushman field after the nesting season, thus preventing its return to forest.
From Anchorage Lane and the spur trail, visitors are afforded lovely views of the Blue Fish River and saltmarsh. The vegetation here is a mixture of cordgrass, salt marsh hay, and salt-loving wildflowers, such as sea lavender and seaside goldenrod. Watch the marsh and river for great blue or green-backed herons, great or snowy egrets, least terns, and a variety of ducks. At low tide, you may glimpse feeding shorebirds, such as greater yellowlegs, black-bellied plovers, and killdeer.