Boxborough Birders First Meeting of Members

Becky Harris

Becky Harris speaking to the Boxborough Birders Meeting of Members

The first meeting of the members of the Boxborough Birders was held on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at Sargent Memorial Library in Boxborough. The featured speaker was ornithologist Becky Harris, PhD., whose fascinating talk “Plovers and Terns and Oystercatchers, Oh My!” recounted her work as director of Mass Audubon’s Coastal Waterbird Program. She illustrated her talk with photos of piping plovers, least terns, American oystercatchers, and other birds that nest on the beaches of Massachusetts as she detailed the conservation successes of the program and the continuing challenges facing these birds.

The meeting was attended by 70-80 people, who were also treated to a display of stunning photographs of local birds by several members of the Boxborough Birders, and browsed helpful information about guide books, phone apps, and setting up bird houses. For more information about the Boxborough Birders, visit the home page.

May 1: Plovers and Terns and Oystercatchers, Oh My!

Contact Information: Boxborough Birders,, Rita Grossman, 978-264-4077.

Plovers and Terns and Oystercatchers, Oh My!
Beach Nesting Birds of Massachusetts


Boxborough, Mass. – Boxborough Birders is proud to present local ornithologist Becky Harris, PhD, with her talk: “Plovers and Terns and Oystercatchers, Oh My! Beach Nesting Birds of Massachusetts,” at Sargent Memorial Library, 427 Massachusetts Avenue, Boxborough, Massachusetts, on Tuesday, May 1, 2018, at 7 pm.

Becky Harris

Becky Harris

Dr. Harris teaches conservation biology at Tufts University for the Masters in Conservation Medicine Program. She has served as director of Mass Audubon’s Coastal Waterbird Program where she oversaw monitoring, management, and protection of threatened beach nesting birds and their habitats at over 100 sites throughout southeastern MA.

Before arriving at Mass Audubon in June of 2006, Dr. Harris held a research faculty appointment at Tufts Center for Conservation Medicine, directing the Seabird Ecological Assessment Network (SEANET), which she founded in 2002. SEANET is a long-term collaborative effort using seabirds as indicators of marine and coastal ecosystem health.

“I was lucky enough to find my dream job, but it reinforced for me how challenging on-the-ground conservation work is, and how critical the Endangered Species Act is―a conservation success story, but only if we keep working tirelessly.”

Concurrent with the presentation, there will be a bird photography exhibit (which begins April 16); table exhibits on bird houses, photographing birds, and resources on getting started in birding; as well as recommended guide books and phone apps. A brief welcome to all members will precede the presentation and Q&A with our speaker will follow the program. Light refreshments provided.

This program is open to all ages. Please join us on Tuesday, May 1 at 7 pm, and bring a friend!

Boxborough Birders is an enthusiastic group of bird watchers from Boxborough, Massachusetts and nearby towns, including Acton, Harvard, Stow, and Littleton. The group focuses primarily on local “patches” (habitats) in studying and learning about resident and migratory bird species.

The group organizes walks throughout the year, especially during spring and fall migration, and members post their observations (and often photos) from each scheduled walk to eBird (eBird is the world’s largest citizen science biodiversity program; it is managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which receives over 100 million bird sightings each year to its database from bird observers). Boxborough Birders also shares lists with group members via the Boxborough Birders Google group. In the winter, the group participates in the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count as part of the Concord circle. New members are always welcome. Visit to join! This is the first meeting of the members for the Boxborough Birders.


New Boxborough Birders Web Site

Goals for the new design:

  • reduced web hosting costs
  • responsive design for viewing on mobile devices
  • theme (design template) that uses image dimensions that work well with photos of birds (square or portrait, rather than wide landscape)
  • showcase member photographers, with photos in the design and in photo galleries

Choices for Themes

  • Adaption (good)
  • Bushwick (good)
  • Imbalance 2 (header image dimensions good)
  • Publish (good header image dimensions)
  • Fiore (good header image, color choices limited, menu problematic)
  • Twenty Twelve (wide header image)
  • Writr (no menu for static pages?)
  • Zoren (wide header image)
  • Responsive (difficult to arrange desktop design)
  • Skylark (wide header image)
  • Expound (wide header image)
  • Sight (wide header image)
  • Skeptical (wide header image)
  • Origin (wide header image)
  • San Kloud (header image wide)
  • Hatch (wide header image)
  • Next Saturday (wide header image)
  • Widely (header image somewhat wide)
  • Ascetica (header image wide)
  • Esquire (no header image)
  • Coraline (current theme on old site, wide header image)

Notes about header image size: “While you can crop images to your liking after clicking Add new image, your theme recommends a header size of 345 × 240 pixels.”

This is a sample blog post. For the current Boxborough Birders blog, visit

How to merge a personal location with a hot spot in eBird

In eBird, you may find that a public hot spot has been created for a location where you already have recorded sightings in a personal location.  The easiest way to reassign your reports from your personal location to the hot spot, is to merge your location into the hot spot.

  1. In eBird, go to the My eBird tab.
  2. Click on the Manage My Locations link on the right.
  3. Find the location you want to merge, and click on the Edit link in that row on the right.
  4. Your location will be shown with a green marker.
  5. Choose the Merge radio button. Any nearby hot spots will be shown with red flame markers.
  6. Click on the hot spot you want to merge your location with. The screen will show how many checklists will be merged (e.g. “Merge 2 checklists with Acton Arboretum”).
  7. Click on the Merge button, and confirm.


Steele Farm Oct 27, 2013

It was a cold but beautiful autumn morning for a visit to Steele Farm in Boxborough. When we arrived, a red-tailed hawk was sitting at the top of one of the dead trees with the morning sun directly on it, and it hung around long enough for Ginny to capture the photos below.

A Cooper’s hawk made a very brief appearance at the edge of the woods. Yellow-rumped warblers were everywhere, and we watched a large flock of them flitting through the woods eating poison ivy berries. A large bird with pointed wings and shallow wing beats flew over, possibly a peregrine falcon.

Click on the images below for larger views.

eBird Hotspot Explorer

eBird has introduced a new feature called the Hotspot Explorer.  It lets you zoom in on a map to see where all the hotspots are in a given area and compare the number of species recorded at each hotspot.

eBird Hotspots in and near Boxborough, Mass. (click for larger view)

eBird Hotspots in and near Boxborough, Mass. (click for larger view)

Species counts at various hotspots near Boxborough as of September 12, 2013:

Great Meadows – Concord 241
Bolton Flats WMA 202
Oxbow NWR 162
Assabet River NWR 156
Drumlin Farm 150
Kaveski Farm 141
Nine Acre Corner 130
Estabrook Woods 129
Nagog Pond 118
Hanscom Field 102
Jenks Land 97
Delaney WMA 94
Minuteman Trail 91
Littleton Heron Rookery 81
School St Fields 77
Rolling Meadows 72
Concord Rotary Prison Fields 61
Long Lake Park 54
Nara Park 16
Acton Arboretum 13

Read more about the Hotspot Explorer.