2018 Trip Reports

Reports from 2018 Boxborough Birders Trips

Plum Island
November 12, 2018
We had a great morning. The highlight was the American Bittern that we had exceptional views of! We also had some excellent looks at two Peregrine Falcons, four Northern Harriers, and one Rough-legged Hawk, among many other birds. Plum Island was a bit breezy but it was a gorgeous late fall day. (full list)

Delaney WMA

October 28, 2018
A very enjoyable Sunday afternoon at Delaney. Pectoral Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Rusty Blackbird, Palm and Yellow-rumped Warbler (full list

Barrett’s Mill
October 6, 2018
We had a few challenges (noisy tractor plowing the field!) but we did very well with some great birds, due to some very sharp eyes: northern parula, palm warbler, American redstart, yellow-rumped warbler, savannah sparrow, blue-headed and red-eyed vireos. (full list)

Yapp Conservation Land
September 29, 2018
Chilly start but warmed up with the sun. Had a good view of a palm warbler, and heard a pine warbler and a kingfisher. (full list)

Fruitlands Museum
September 22, 2018
A “micro drop” of warblers at the edge of the woods and Old Meadow. Overall, a very enjoyable morning despite the challenges of fall birding in heavy foliage and breezy conditions. Did not see many of the usual species this morning. (full list)

Cisco, Boxborough
September 2, 2018
A remarkably quiet, beautiful morning with minimal activity. Nice sighting of a Green Heron flyover. (full list)

Fruitlands Museum
July 14, 2018
Excellent sightings of the Indigo Buntings. Blue-winged Warbler seen on lower campus near the Fruitland’s Farmhouse (full list)

Fruitlands Museum
June 23, 2018
Luckily, the rain held off and we had some great views of Veeries, Indigo Buntings, Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks, and Pine Warblers, among other birds. Some surprising birds we didn’t hear or see—scarlet tanager, great crested flycatcher, bluebirds. (full list)

Knox Trail
June 16, 2018
Osprey are nesting again on the tower, but brought no food to the nest, so the eggs probably have not hatched yet. We also had a good view of a red-winged blackbird nest with one young in the process of fledging. An accipiter flew over the pond carrying something it had caught. (full list)

Great Meadows
June 3, 2018
Chilly, late afternoon. One of the highlights was watching 5 different Osprey fishing. First one and later on 2 pairs fishing together, or at least in tandem. Also, lots of Herons. Some were very handsome and posed beautifully on nesting boxes. Also, the Oriole’s nest was visible, pretty close to the parking lot on the Dike Trail. And we saw a female Wood Duck swimming w. 4 ducklings. (full list & photos)

Bolton Flats
June 2, 2018
70 degrees to start, muggy and with much sun. The paths are overgrown and the grass and weeds quite high. Much breeding activity in evidence, carrying of food and nesting material. The bird of the day was definitely the Willow Flycatcher: we heard and saw many that morning, everywhere we went. (full list)

Steele Farm
May 26, 2018
There were at least two pairs of bobolinks in the field, though at times it seemed as if there might be more. A purple finch sang from the top of one of the spruces. Nice views of a male oriole and a male yellowthroat as well. (full list)

Mt. Auburn Cemetery
May 20, 2018
Loop including Indian Ridge, Halcyon Lake (south side), Auburn Lake (east side), the Dell, Mountain Ave and the Tower, Laurel Ave and Willow Pond. 16 species of warbler sighted. (full list)

Fruitlands Museum
May 19, 2018
Despite some good sightings (including veery, nesting brown creepers, and 10 species of warblers), overall quiet and did not see or hear any woodpeckers other than the one very vocal RBWP by the Fruitlands Farm House nor did we hear/see any Black-throated Green or Black-throated Blue Warblers. (full list)

Newtown Hill
April 28, 2018
We had a foggy start to the walk yesterday at Newtown Hill in Littleton, but the clouds were starting to lift by the time we got to the top of the hill so there was a bit of a view. There were two great blue herons at the pond, some watchful Canada geese, and lots of red-winged blackbirds and grackles. We also had a brief but close encounter with a Cooper’s Hawk that flew across the field and flew right over us. (full list)

Fruitlands Museum
April 21, 2018
From the parking lot, did the upper part of loop trail past the Pergolas and Garden House sites to the meadow then returned to do the orange loop through the woods (past Willard Farm Site) and returned to the parking area on the lower loop. Unusually large gathering of flickers. Especially good views of kestrel, hermit thrush and pine warbler. (full list)

Hager Land
April 15, 2018
Walked some of the Hager Land, but specifically focused on the west pond and were treated to morning avian drama. Of the two heron nests remaining from last year’s heronry (3 successful nests), one’s been claimed by a pair of Osprey and one by a pair of Great Blue Herons. The Osprey and Great Blue Herons are not pleased, and, were harassing each other with the Osprey seeming to be the aggressors. (full list)

Barrett’s Mill Farmland
April 14, 2018
Walked the perimeter of the Barrett’s Mill Farmland conservation area in Concord. It was a beautiful, sunny morning. We really got the best part of the day as it turned out as it became cloudy and significantly colder as the day went along. It was fairly quiet there but we had some good views of several species, including field sparrow, pine warbler, bluebird and mocking bird. (full list)

Jenks Land
April 13, 2018
Warm evening. Spring peepers were singing loudly. Not as many woodcock as usual. Heard at least one, probably two males performing courtship display. First “peenting” about 7:35; first flight about 7:55pm. Also saw a muskrat and heard a beaver slap its tail. (full list)

Sargent Memorial Library & Hager Land
April 8, 2018
Walked the periphery past the east wetland, around the north end of the drumlin and along the shore of the west pond to the back of the elementary school for better viewing of the pond and ended at the library parking lot. Cold! Two nests remaining from last year’s heronry of 4 nests (3 active in 2017) with no evidence of nesting. (full list)


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, https://boxboroughbirders.org/, 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 https://groups.google.com/d/forum/boxboroughbirders 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 http://www.boxboroughbirders.org/blog/.

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.