Benson’s Park

Posted by Jane N on

How many of you remember Benson’s Wild Animal Farm in Hudson New Hampshire? My siblings that grew up in Pelham surely remember, as a trip to Benson’s was a popular destination when we were young. Jeremy, you may have memories of the place, Grammy & Grampa B. took you there often.

It has long since been closed down, the elephants, gorilla, and monkeys all gone. The land languished in litigation for years. Luckily the building boom busted and the developers were no longer interested in the property. So it finally was taken over by the town and transformed into a park for all to enjoy. This past Sunday was a beautiful sunny Spring day and I wanted to get out and enjoy it. Beth had invited me to a bird walk in the park so I made the trip to Hudson to check it out.

I have heard a lot about the park and heard that it was very nice. They have a large steel beam from the attack on the Twin Towers. I remember the news stories of when the beam made its way to NH and the dedication of the memorial. They did a great job of making a memorial to those that lost their lives in the attack. I have been wanting to visit it for a while now and I'm glad I did it was very moving. I stood next to the burned and scared beam and touched it, I said a prayer for all those lives lost.

After paying my respects at the 911 Memorial it was time to hit the trails. There are a lot of choices, trails that wind thru the woods, along with small ponds and across fields. Great opportunities for birding. The park was crowded there were families with children, young and old, walkers or bike riders, everyone enjoying the nice weather.

It was kinda eerie walking the trails, there was the old Gorilla cage, filled now with young children laughing and climbing the metal bars. Little do they know of the sorry existence of that poor creature that had to live in that small cinder block and metal caged enclosure. Over there wasn't that where the Elephant circle was? I remember watching those huge beasts doing their tricks for our enjoyment chained to the floor. We passed the Monkey house all boarded up and quiet now.

The Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe, her replica house still stands. And over there, was where the petting zoo was. Jeremy, I remember chaperoning your kindergarten class there. The original owners cared for the animals well, they just didn't understand it was wrong compared to today’s standards. I'm glad they left some of the remains of the buildings, it is history. In its hay day it was a jewel of a park.

We saw a total of 15 bird species along our walk. We watched as iridescent blue Tree Swallows zoomed across the field like little fighter jets scooping up insects. We saw a small flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers hopping about the bushes along the water's edge. Our best sightings for the day were the Pine Warbler (oops or was it the Prairie Warbler? Beth was in charge of writing the list LOL) and the Yellow Warbler flitting about the tree branches overhead.

So it is official the Warblers have returned! Spring has finally sprung in New Hampshire! I have recharged my batteries with a walk in the woods, feel more positive and ready for whatever the week brings. The power of the fresh air is undeniable. If any of you get a chance I recommend you visit Benson's Park, it's well worth the trip.

Happy Birding, Jane

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