Participants on this early morning walk were treated to diverse wildflower displays under a shaded canopy of sugar maple and basswood while Vireos, Wood Thrushes, Northern Waterthrushes and many other songbirds provided their cheerful chorus and occasional glimpses. We even saw a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird flitting in and out of her tiny rounded nest. The walk took place at the Moose Brook Preserve on Brook Road in Hardwick. More information about the Preserve is under the Our Properties tab, including a trail map.
After going birding and wildflower hunting at Moose Brook, the group transitioned into learning about biodiversity monitoring, specifically focused on the grassland birds at Mandell Hill. It was a perfect day to observe Bobolinks and other grassland birds at our Mandell Hill Preserve atop the new Chris Ellison Memorial Birding Platform. Chris Buelow of the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program gave a great overview of the plight of grassland nesting birds, their biology, monitoring and management needs. Several sites will be monitored this year thanks to the dedicated work of EQLT stewardship volunteers.