2017 Trip Reports

Reports from Boxborough Birders Trips in 2017

Plum Island/Parker River NWR
December 16, 2017
Highlights: snowy owl, snow buntings, gannets, grebes, loons, and scoters (full list)

Sargent Memorial Library & Hager Land
November 15, 2017
Very clear sightings of many Wood Ducks gathered with the Canada Geese on west bank of pond behind the school. Icy patches on the water, but, Wood Ducks present much to our surprise. Excellent, close-up sightings of Rusty Blackbirds, both sexes on the west pond in the grasses, small snags and on the trees on the banks of the west pond behind the school. (full list)

Long Lake Park
November 4, 2017
Cold, breezy morning and there were no ducks on the lake, but it warmed up nicely in the sunny fields, where we had nice views of bluebirds. We also saw golden-crowned kinglets, kingfishers, a great blue heron, and a monarch butterfly. (full list)

Great Meadows NWR
October 28, 2017
Highlights include pied-billed grebe, northern harrier, peregrine falcon, palm warbler, yellow-rumped warbler (full list)

Delaney WMA
October 7, 2017
Highlights included Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Pine Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Chipping Sparrows, Field Sparrow, White-throated Sparrows, and Savannah Sparrow (full list)

Captain Sargent Conservation Land
October 1, 2017
Sunny, 50F, no wind. Forest vibrant with bird calls, chipmunks. With more eyes and time, would have probably found more warblers. This is a great birding destination, especially on such a gorgeous morning. (full list)

Fruitlands Museum
September 23, 2017
Sunny as we started, cool, 60 degrees. Quiet day. Heard a common yellowthroat and some other birds that couldn’t be positively identified. (full list)

Sargent Library, Blanchard School, ABFN
September 17, 2017
A one-hour afternoon walk for parents and very young children with the Acton-Boxborough Family Network. Thankfully some wood ducks and a great blue heron showed up to assist! Another highlight was a baby snapping turtle found in the Library parking lot (photo).

Jenks Land – Beginning Birding Walk
September 16, 2017
We had a good group of folks show up, people of varying familiarity with bird watching. Highlights definitely would have to include the Prairie Warblers, Yellow Warblers, and the Red-Tailed Hawks and the Northern Harrier. Flycatchers were about, including one that was a bit unusual, the Olive-sided Flycatcher. (full list)

Grassy Pond
September 9, 2017
Chilly start (upper 40s) but bird activity picked up as the sun warmed things up. We had very good looks at an ovenbird, a redstart (female or young), and scarlet tanager (likewise female or young). We watched a great blue heron across the pond as it stalked and caught a fish or frog. Also saw 2 otters swimming in the pond, and a deer in the woods. (full list)

Hager Land
September 4, 2017
Beautiful walk Labor Day morning at the Hager Land. The highlight was the altercation between the Cooper’s Hawk and the Belted Kingfisher! (full list)

Great Meadows
September 2, 2017
Great Meadows yielded a good variety of birds on a sunny day. Highlights were a Merlin, a Cooper’s Hawk, and 4 Cedar Waxwings hawking for insects over the Concord River. (full list)

Fruitlands Museum
July 8, 2017
The meadows and edges were most productive. We worked hard to see the Chestnut-sided Warbler (we’ve been hearing it sing but hadn’t seen it) and our efforts were finally rewarded. Excellent views of Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, and Red-eyed Vireo as well. (full list)

Sargent Memorial Library & Hager Land
June 25, 2017
Great viewing of the adult Great Horned Owl yesterday. 3 juvenile Great Blue Herons in the far nest; 1 in the near nest. The Black-crowned Night Heron was a fly-over at the end. (full list)

Goosewing Beach Preserve, Newport, Rhode Island
June 10, 2017
Walked Goosewing beach, fording a stream, and proceeded to climb the dunes over to the Quicksand mudflats, returning through the stream and along the beach. The Least Terns have not yet been nesting. As soon as they do, the staff at Goosewing Beach fears that their eggs and the Least Terns may suffer the same fate as the Piping Plovers–being attacked at night by foxes and coyotes. We saw only 3 Piping Plovers, as so many had been killed by predators. (full list)

Fruitlands Museum
May 28, 2017
Mostly cloudy, 56 – 60F. Walked through the Old Meadows to the New Meadow, then returned to the woods taking the orange to yellow trail to the campus. Mystery birds: probably woodpecker with yellow on crown; buteo soaring with missing tail feathers and deeply notched wing tips; scarlet tanager with patches of yellow plumage. (full list)

Jenks Land
May 27, 2017
Sunny morning, 58 degrees F, 0-5 mph winds. Willow flycatcher, blue-winged warbler, indigo bunting, black-billed cuckoo (heard), common merganser (flyover). (full list)

Mt. Auburn Cemetery
May 20, 2017
Clouds gave way to sun and warmed to low 50sF. Observations area included Indian Ridge Path, brief visit to Halcyon Lake returning to Indian Ridge Path and down to Auburn Lake, to the Dell, Washington Tower and Laurel Ave (Circle), Willow Pond and back to the main entrance. Highlights included 14 species of warbler, great horned owl (one dead, one alive), orchard oriole, veery, ravens. (full list)

Bolton Flats
May 11, 2017
Yesterday evening, seven of us walked Bolton Flats (off Route 117) and saw many yellow legs, greater and lesser. American Bitterns calling was a highlight, as were the Swamp
Sparrows and warblers. A magnificent sunset breaking below the cloud cover ended a short, but, very enjoyable walk. (full list)

Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
April 29, 2017
Cloudy at first, gradually brightening. Very warm. We started by climbing the observation tower, where we sighted 2 Wood Ducks, a Beaver, and several Canada Geese. Then we took the Dike Trail to the Concord River, and turned left, walking .75 mi., returning by the same route. (full list)

Sargent Memorial Library & Hager Land
April 19, 2017
A cool (~ 40F), beautiful but relatively quiet morning with an exceptional number of Tree Swallows! We  did not see several anticipated species: no mourning doves; no Red-tailed Hawk; no Brown Creepers; only 1 White-breasted Nuthatch. (full list)

Long Lake Park
April 15, 2017
Sunny morning at ~ 39F at the start ~51F at the end. Nine of us started at the Queen Road entrance of Long Lake Park walking south on the trail uphill to the meadow just west of the cell tower, then west on the AT&T easement trail to the flooded section and returned to the Queen Road entrance following the trail bordering the Lake’s south shore. Northern harrier, fish crows, 3 species of warblers. (full list)

Rolling Meadows
March 29, 2017
We could hear the flights of several woodcocks. Ground calls were sparse and there were only a few visual flights. (full list)

Rolling Meadows
March 28, 2017
We braved the cold, wet rain in wait for Woodcocks and we were not disappointed. Despite a steady rain, and, 40F temps we had nice, if wet, views from the roadside at the entrance to Rolling Meadows. (full list)

Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge
March 25, 2017
Walked from the Visitor Center along Puffer Pond to the end of Winterberry Way and back to the Visitor Center. 7:30 to 9:30 overcast, 9:30 to 10:30 drizzling. 40 degrees. Great views of common mergansers, hooded mergansers and an early Eastern phoebe. (full list)

Sargent Memorial Library & Hager Land
March 18, 2017
Walked the west side of the Hager land and the back of the Blanchard Mem. Elem. school to better view the beaver pond. It was sunny and cold (~ 20F). Nice views of the Cooper’s Hawk and female Pileated Woodpecker. Pond behind school frozen; about 8-10 inches of crusted snow cover. (full list)

2016 Trip Reports

Reports from Boxborough Birders Trips in 2016

Assabet River NWR
October 29, 2016
Full list

Hager Land
October 22, 2016
Five braved the weather at the Hager Land yesterday morning. Nothing unusual
except the Rusty Blackbirds, but, very enjoyable viewing the Wood Ducks. Not
one warbler heard or seen. (full list)

Grassy Pond
October 15, 2016
Frosty start to the morning, but warm sunshine. Birds congregated in the sunny corner of the field, where we had great views of yellow-rumped warblers, ruby-crowned kinglets, blue-headed vireo, etc. When we returned to the field, a red-tailed hawk and two raven disputed hunting rights over the field. Five species of woodpecker. (full list)

Delaney WMA
October 8, 2016
Highlights included savannah sparrows, palm warblers, and a family of mute swans (full list)

Bolton Flats
September 24, 2016
We enjoyed birding Bolton Flats and Pine Hill Rd (Lancaster) on Saturday, though it was a bit cool to start, it was a beautiful morning. At first the birds were slow to reveal themselves but as things warmed up we had some good looks at quite a few of them – the highlight was a dramatic (low) sweep through of a gorgeous Northern Harrier. Hawks are definitely on the move. We had a couple of warblers too. (full list)

Morrison Land & Ice House Pond
September 17, 2016
Eight of us met for a walk in Acton on Saturday on a cool but pleasant morning. We began at Ice House Pond, where we saw great blue heron, cormorant, and mallards. We then walked up the road to Morrison Farm, where the community gardens were very active with people and birds. House wren, flicker and towhee were among the sightings. We also took a loop through the woods, where we looked in vain for the brown creeper that some heard, and out to the Woodlawn Cemetery, where we saw bluebirds. (full list)

Yapp Conservation Land
September 11, 2016
A quiet day, however, this is gorgeous land, and, beautiful wooded walk. Cobb Pond
water level very, very low; however did not see shorebirds in the muddy
boundaries. (full list)

Jenks Land
September 3, 2016
Six of us walked the Jenks land in Acton on Saturday, crossing over the train tracks to check out the wooded piece as well, then returning to cover the meadow. We had some excellent sightings. We saw an American Redstart as we set out on the path. We had great looks at several Bobolinks on the wing and in the field. Bluebirds were about as well as were raptors: we had good looks at a Sharp-shinned Hawk and a Cooper’s Hawk; and phoebes were plentiful. (full list)

Oxbow NWR
September 1, 2016
We ventured to Oxbow after the front moved through last Thursday. We only saw 2 common nighthawks; however, it was a beautiful evening and nice sighting of a Pileated Woodpecker who conveniently landed in front of us mid-journey. (Lists: Still River Depot Road, Bridge over Nashua River)

Sargent Memorial Library & Hager Land
August 27, 2016
Saw a Green Heron on a log in the water between the trees with the Great Blue Heron nests and the shoreline abutting the Hager Land, closer to the shoreline. An Osprey flew along the far shore heading north. Saw a Cooper’s Hawk on east side of library parking lot and flew into Pine canopy…same tree on which a Red-tailed Hawk was perched. (full list)

Still River Depot Road and Nashua River (Oxbow NWR)
August 25, 2016
Common Nighthawk (CONI) migration: 4 of us met on Still River Depot Road in Harvard and spent some time viewing from the hill, and, about 30 minutes viewing from the bridge over the Nashua River (Oxbow NWR). A beautiful calm evening, but, we only saw (barely) 4 CONI soaring high above the riverbed looking due north from the bridge. It was a very quiet evening; however, at about 6:30PM as we were leaving the Still River Depot Road position between the meadows, a flock of about 12 birds that at first seemed to be cedar waxwings until they stopped flying and all dropped abruptly out of sight into the grass. They were probably migrating Bobolinks, based on the flock’s size, individual bird size and behavior. (full list)

Knox Trail, Acton
June 25, 2016
Great views of little blue heron and green heron catching frogs, and of an osprey circling overhead. (full list)

Acton Arboretum
June 11, 2016
Saw ovenbird, rose-breasted grosbeak, common yellowthroat, brown creeper, and indigo bunting. (full list)

Delaney WMA
June 5, 2016
Heard a black-billed cuckoo and saw 2 spotted sandpipers. (full list)

Fruitlands Museum
June 4, 2016
Saw a red-shouldered hawk in gliding flight, most notable reference point – translucent pale crescent across wingtips.(full list)

Great Meadows NWR
May 29, 2016
We saw and heard some fantastic birds: the highlight was the great surprise of the prothonotary warbler — we could hear it singing away near the end of the Dike Trail at the opening to the Concord River and then along the left side trail. Some of us got a fleeting view of it. We saw and heard many other birds — flocks of cedar waxwings, and lots of Eastern kingbirds and warbling vireos. Also a singing Northern waterthrush. (full list, including blurry pictures of the prothonotary warbler)

Steele Farm
May 28, 2016
Four of us Boxborough birders had some wonderful looks at a pair of bobolinks at the start of our walk and at the end of the walk, beautiful Baltimore orioles. It was so mosquito-y in the woods we had to keep moving and did most of our birding by ear! (full list)

Oxbow NWR
May 21, 2016
49 species (Full list)

Cisco, Boxborough
May 15, 2016
6 species of warblers (full list)

Grassy Pond, Acton
May 14, 2016
Fleeting glimpses of several different warblers and a yellow-throated vireo. Nice views of ovenbirds, swamp sparrow, common yellowthroat, and great crested flycatchers.  Four red-tailed hawks circled over the pond at the same time. (full list)

Jenks Land, Acton
April 30, 2016
Full list 

George & Lucy Yapp Conservation Land
April 24, 2016
Low 40s; sunny; breezy; we got great look at the Sharpie and the Hermit Thrush. (full list)

Fruitlands Museum
April 23, 2016
Six Boxborough Birders joined up with a Brookline Bird Club walk of the Fruitlands Museum trails in Harvard (MA). The day started out looking very iffy; it was gray and drizzling but the air was warming, already in the mid-50s. The trails were muddy from the recent rain and the drizzle was with us for about the first 45 minutes of our walk. The first birds we counted were two turkey vultures lazily drifting overhead. The last bird we counted was a male northern harrier – ‘Gray Ghost’ as it is often called. (Full list)

Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge
April 16, 2016
Palm, pine and yellow-rumped warblers, as well as a blue-headed vireo (full list)

Rolling Meadows
March 27, 2016
At least 3 woodcock; 2 seen soaring then diving; 3 heard peenting; peenting began at 7:26P; flight shortly thereafter; still peenting when we left at 7:40P (full list).

Sargent Memorial Library & Hager Land
March 26, 2016
Excellent sightings of Brown Creeper pairs along the water’s edge (at least one nest in progress). Also six great blue herons, one winter wren, and a pileated woodpecker nest (full list).

Bolton Flats
March 14, 2016
Highlights were the Wilson Snipe and the early Tree Swallows (full list).

Boxborough Station WMA
March 5, 2016
A cold, but enjoyable first walk of the season with ring-necked ducks and hooded mergansers among the highlights (full list).

2015 Trip Reports

Boxborough Birder trips in 2015

Plum Island
December 13, 2015
Razorbills, Snow Buntings, Shovelers, Peregrine Falcon and more (full list)

Sarah Doublet Forest
November 14, 2015
Limited species, but, great Brown Creeper and Golden-crowned kinglet sightings. Hiked Sarah Doublet Dr. Ed Bell trail to AT&T easement to Charter to Fort Pond and back doing Wunnuhhew Loop. (full list)

Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge
November 7, 2015
A beautiful walk, with some birds. It was pretty breezy with significant wind
gusts (20+mph), sunny, 57F. Despite intense search, no Wood Ducks or Hooded
Mergansers seen! (full list)

Yapp Land
October 24, 2015
14 Hooded mergansers, 15 yellow-rumped warblers and a hermit thrush (full list)

Delaney WMA
October 17, 2015
Bald eagle, American pipits and stunning views of eastern bluebirds. (full list)

Jenks Land
October 12, 2015
Two Cooper’s hawks put on a show chasing each other and a crow. Three rusty blackbirds gave us a very good look. There were many warblers, especially palm warblers, and a quick glimpse of a black-throated green. Other sightings included blue-headed vireo, white-throated sparrow, and eastern towhee. (full list)

Rusty Blackbirds

Rusty Blackbirds at Jenks Land, October 12, 2015. Photo © by Susan Page.

Sargent Memorial Library
October 10, 2015
13 White-throated Sparrows and 15 Yellow-rumped Warblers (full list)

October 4, 2015
Full list

Great Meadows NWR
October 3, 2015
Osprey and spotted sandpiper (full list)

Yapp Land
September 26, 2015
After sighting 2 Redtail Hawks across the street, we had a lackluster walk through the Yapp Land woods and decided to walk back to the parking lot via the road. We stopped at the large meadow next to the lot and spent about an hour there.​ The highlight was a bald eagle. We saw several Bluebirds and House Finches and a Song Sparrow. Also Downy, Hairy, and Red-Bellied Woodpeckers. (full list)

Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge
September 20, 2015
Three from Boxborough Birders, and, joined by 3 Brookline Bird Club members for part of the walk. It was remarkably quiet, and, no warblers! While deficient on warblers, we had great looks at a few birds, especially the Solitary Sandpiper. (full list)

Delaney WMA
September 12, 2015
Watched an accipiter chasing birds when we met at Blanchard School to car pool (list). Delaney was very foggy, but eventually found pine warbler and black-and-white warbler in the woods (list).

Long Lake Park
September 7, 2015
Killdeer, least sandpiper and spotted sandpiper were on the mud flats at the end of the cove. Two osprey were flying over the lake. Other birds seen or heard included barred owl, brown creeper, flicker, house finch, rose-breasted grosbeak. (full list)

Blanchard School, Sargent Memorial Library and Hager Hill
August 29, 2015
Walked from library to pond view from behind Blanchard School, then followed trail abutting pond to end then returned on pump/well service road. Excellent views of Green Heron, but, did not see Pileated. Exchange with crows and 2 accipiters occurred at library in canopy in front of, and, behind library building. (full lists: Blanchard SchoolLibrary and Hager Hill)

August 27, 2015
One hour at Liberty Fields which proved a great location for seeing Common Nighthawks and 45 minutes at Steele Farm where there were no nighthawks but a stunning sunset and moon rise. (full lists: Liberty Fields, Steele Farm)

Steele Farm
June 13, 2015
Highlights: Yellow Warblers, Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Waterthrush, and a pair of Bobolinks (full list)

Knox Trail
June 6, 2015
The osprey came and went for more than an hour, bringing a couple of fish but mostly sticks for adding to the nest. We saw two adults and there did not appear to be young ones yet. There were many swallows criss-crossing the pond, as well as chimney swifts. (full list)

Grassy Pond
May 23, 2015
Saturday’s walk at Grassy Pond was cold, but, superb
looks at the Indigo Bunting and Scarlet Tanger, and, a symphonic duet with
the Wood Thrush in the woods. (full list)

Great Meadows
May 17, 2015
Boxborough Birders with Peter Alden.  Evening walk. 76F, clear skies. Excellent view of yellow warbler; brief view of marsh wren (full list)

Mt. Hope Cemetery and Heath Hen Meadow
May 16, 2015
Nice view of a bluebird in the cemetery. Watched mallards, red-wings, and grackles from the bridge across the brook. Heard great crested flycatcher, rose-breasted grosbeak, yellowthroat, and ovenbird. (full lists: Mt. Hope Cemetery, Heath Hen Meadow)

Nagog Hill, Acton
May 9, 2015
A great show of warblers, with especially good looks at Nashville, Canada, Parula, Black-and-white, and Ovenbird. (full list)

Guggins Brook
May 2, 2015
Full list

George & Lucy Yapp Conservation Land, Littleton
April 25, 2015
Weather was sunny, cold at 37F, breezy. Highlights were the Pileated sighting, and, the intimate and prolonged interaction with the Palm Warblers (and, the YRWs). (full lists: Yapp Land, Cobb Pond)

Rolling Meadows
April 23, 2015
Woodcocks are alive and seemingly well at Rolling Meadows. I went for 10 minutes this evening and there are at least 2 males peenting and displaying their aerial talents. (full list)

Bolton Flats
April 19, 2015
We discovered a new and interesting area of Bolton Flats accessible going west on 117, past the parking area. Definitely worth a visit as we saw a Vesper Sparrow, a Field Sparrow and Kestrel. Bolton Flats was saturated in Green-winged Teal, 1 Pipit and more although no Glossy Ibis. (list 1, list 2)

Sargent Memorial Library & Hager Land, Boxborough
Sat Apr 18, 2015
Sunny day; upper 40s – upper 50s by end of walk; did NOT see the Phoebes on the bottom of the service road, and, did not see/hear the Kildeer at the school, nor did we see any raptors, specifically did not see the RT Hawk. (full list)

Delaney Wildlife Management Area
April 11, 2015
Highlights: 6 species of ducks, 2 osprey, and several hawks, including a kestrel that perched on tall post then flew over the field, hovering in place and diving to ground. (full list)

Assabet Rail Trail and Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge
April 4, 2015
Highlights: Bald eagle, wood ducks, teal, merganser (full lists: Rail Trail, ARNWR)

Depot Station, Boxborough
March 28, 2015
With deep snow still on the ground and more snow coming down, six of us ventured briefly out to look at beaver pond where herons have nested in the past, but the pond was still almost entirely iced over. The brook flowing out of the pond was open though, and we saw wood ducks in the distance and heard red-winged blackbirds. (full list)

Intrepid Boxborough Birders in the snow. Photo by Rita Grossman.

Intrepid Boxborough Birders in the snow. Photo by Rita Grossman.

2013 Trip Reports


Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge
Sept 8, 2013

Sunday morning at 7 am at Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge, we joined up with a Brookline Bird Club walk. A first-time birder joined the group; she commented that us seasoned birders all had caps on, so she fished in her car to come up with one too. She also noticed we were all wearing pants so she changed from shorts to pants.

First, we heard a gray catbird calling in the parking lot. Next, we walked a short distance up Still River Depot Road where we saw and heard a few more catbirds, as well as many robins, starlings, a couple of common yellowthroats, a red-eyed vireo, and several cedar waxwings that were high in the treetops. Walking up Still River Depot Road is a good thing to keep in mind to do. Then we headed back past the parking area and began walking the Tank Trail where we saw several song sparrows, an American redstart, and heard a yellow-throated vireo singing its unmistakable song. We caught a glimpse of two green herons, counted at least four great blue herons, two belted kingfishers, a solitary sandpiper, among others.

One problem with Oxbow is the artillery noise from Devens, which starts in at around 8 am. The sound of rapid fire can be daunting. But we had an excellent two hours at Oxbow and were wishing we could stay longer. Thank you to our BBC leader for showing us the way.

Littleton Heron Rookery
Mar 30, 2013
At the heronry, there was a lone heron on a nest, an osprey (not on a nest), and quite a few ring-necked ducks.

Rolling Meadows
Mar 30, 2013
Highlights at Rolling Meadows included a brown creeper and a turkey vulture.

Hager Muni Land
Mar 24, 2013
Wood ducks, Red-bellied Woodpecker, winter wren