East Swamp Wildlife Management Area

Ballfield Road, Bethel, Fairfield County, Connecticut

85 acres

southwest (on ridge) and south (swamp) of Meckauer Park and south of P. T. Barnum's Ivy Island


entrance by Little League Ball Field area located at the end of Ballfield Road off of Maple Avenue


P. T. Barnum grew up in Bethel.  (See the history of Bethel on this website.)

If I remember correctly, as a young boy, P. T. Barnum was the butt of an elaborate town practical joke (with his father in on the whole thing).  His father and townspeople would refer to him as the King or the Emperor of Ivy Island.  P. T. though himself someone special who would come into something important when he was older.  While he swelled with pride, the towns people and his own father were laughing at him (not with him).  When he finally found out that his kingdom was a small island surrounded by marshlands, it is said that his personality changed.  He felt he had been played the fool and resented it deeply. 

In one sense, the career of P. T. Barnum was one of trying to take advantage of suckers that can be taken advantage of by someone slicker.  Payback perhaps.


Hunting, Trails

2003 one of the top four places for the harvest of wild turkey.


upland and wetland habitats


7/14/2005.  On an overcast day, dog Sonar and I parked on the left side of the road across from the Russell J. Crowe baseball field.  The trail begins at the green gate.  We started walking north on the trail.  To my right was the marsh and on my left was a large hill.  The trail kept going north all the way to P. T. Barnum's Ivy Island. 

There is a fork in the trail on the left a little distance before reaching Ivy Island.  On the way back we took the trail which climbs up the hill and then starts following the power cut for the overhead electric lines.  

I have seen hawks being mobbed by small birds, but today I saw a blue heron being chased by red winged blackbirds.  The noisy objection of the blue heron caused me to take note of the goings on.

At the Island, there is a small wooden bridge over a small body of water connecting two sides of marsh.  Crossed the bridge and went through an alleyway of Phragmites.  Soon came out of that area onto a wooded island.  The island has a fairy high ridge on the left side.  I started to climb up the ridge when I realized that a beaver(s) had dammed part of the marsh.  I heard and saw a beaver quickly swimming away from the dog and me.  Stopped for a water break.  I noticed that quite a few small trees had been downed by the beaver(s).    After our break, we climbed up onto the ridge and walked along a  rough trail.  There were lots of beech and oaks, including chestnut oak, which loves high places. 

Walked to the end of the small island and reached more marsh.  Turned around and walked back to the car (with one side trip up the hill on the mainland).  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney. 

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

*  =  plant blooming on date of field trips, 7/14/2005

Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Alnus glutinosa (black alder)
Amelanchier arborea (shadbush)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Carya glabra (pignut hickory)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Pyrus sp. (crab apple)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)
Ulmus rubra (slippery elm)

Shrubs and Subshrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)  
Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea)    *
Cephalanthus occidentalis (buttonbush)     *
Corylus sp. (hazel)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)    
Cornus racemosa (gray dogwood)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Eubotrys racemosa (fetterbush)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)  
Rosa palustris (swamp rose)     *
Rubus flagellaris (northern dewberry)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Salix sp. (willow)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Viburnum dentatum (smooth arrowwood viburnum)
Viburnum lentago (nannyberry viburnum)

Apios americana (groundnut)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Cuscuta sp. (dodder)
Dioscorea villosa (wild yamroot)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis aestivalis (summer grape)

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)     *
Agrimonia sp. (agrimony)
Alisma subcordatum (southern water plantain)     *
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)     *
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Anemone virginiana (thimbleweed)
Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp)
Arctium sp. (burdock)
Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the pulpit)
Asarum canadense (wild ginger)
Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed)     *
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)      *
Boehmeria cylindrica (false nettle)     *
Cardamine impatiens (narrow-leaved bittercress)
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (ox-eye daisy)     *
Cichorium intybus (chicory)     *
Circaea lutetiana (enchanter's nightshade)     *
Conyza canadensis (horseweed)
Coronilla varia (crown vetch)     *
Cryptotaenia canadensis (honewort)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)     *
Desmodium glutinosum (pointed-leaved tick trefoil)     *
Desmodium sp. (tick trefoil)
Dianthus armeria (Deptford pink)     *
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane)     *
Euphorbia cyparissias (cypress spurge)
Euthamia graminifolia (grass-leaved goldenrod)
Fragaria virginiana (wild strawberry)    
Galium asprellum (rough bedstraw)     *
Galium spp. (bedstraw)
Geranium maculatum (wild geranium)
Geum canadense (white avens)     *
Hesperis matronalis (dame's rocket)    
Hypericum mutilum (dwarf St. Johnswort)     *
Hypericum punctatum (spotted St. Johnswort)     *
Impatiens sp. (touch-me-not)   
Lemna sp. (duckweed)
Lepidium virginicum (poor man's pepper)
Lilium canadense (Canada lily)     *
Lobelia sp. (lobelia)     *
Ludwigia palustris (water purslane)     *
Lysimachia ciliata (fringed loosestrife)     *
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)     *
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
Medicago lupulina (black medick)     *
Melilotus alba (white sweet clover)     *
Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)     *
Myosotis laxa (lesser forget-me-not)     *
Osmorhiza claytonii (sweet cicely)    
Oxalis sp. (yellow wood sorrel)     *
Pedicularis canadensis (wood betony)
Pilea pumila (clearweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)     *
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonum arifolium (halberd-leaved tearthumb)
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal)    *
Pyrola elliptica (shinleaf)     *
Ranunculus acris (tall buttercup)     *
Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (black-eyed Susan)     *
Sagittaria latifolia (broad-leaved arrowhead)
Saponaria officinalis (bouncing bet)     *
Satureja vulgaris (wild basil)     *
Silene latifolia (white campion)     *
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal)   
Solanum carolinense (horse nettle)     *
Solidago caesia (bluestem goldenrod)
Solidago canadensis var. scabra (tall goldenrod)
Solidago gigantea (late goldenrod)
Sparganium americanum (burreed)     *
Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)
Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadowrue)     *
Trifolium pratense (red clover)     *
Trifolium repens (white clover)     *
Typha latifolia (broad-leaved cattail)
Urtica dioica var. dioica (stinging nettle)     *
Urtica dioica var. procera (tall nettle)     *
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell)
Vicia cracca (cow vetch)     *
Zizia aurea (golden alexanders) 

Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered type sedge)
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)
Carex stricta (tussock sedge)
Scirpus atrovirens (dark-green bulrush)

Anthoxanthum odoratum (sweet vernal grass)
Bromus inermis (smooth brome grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Leersia virginica (white grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)
Phalaris arundinacea (reed canary grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)
Poa compressa (Canada bluegrass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)
Equisetum hyemale (scouring rush)
Athyrium filix-femina (lady fern)
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)
Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern)
Thelypteris noveboracensis (New York fern)


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