Guided Walks of Potential Conservation Land (updated again!)
Join us for a guided walk of the Adams’ family woodlot, a potential conservation land acquisition to be voted on at the March 24th Westford Annual Town Meeting. This 50-acre woodlot rises-up between the Cider Mill Conservation Land and Laughton Farm open space.
Three walks are offered:
Saturday, March 10 at 10:30 AM
Saturday Mar17 walk is CANCELLED as area is to difficult to access!
Tuesday, March 20 at 8:30 AM (rescheduled from Mar 13th due to storm)
Walks are approximately 1-1.5 hours and will follow a historic old town road and single track trail. Meet and park at 46 Lowell Road, Westford. Contact the Westford Conservation Office with any questions.
The Community Preservation Committee (CPC) funded stone wall restoration project at Pageant Field on Hildreth Street is underway. Dave Tibbetts, of New England Landscape Design, is a stone mason who is doing the work. Dave is on the left in the picture. For this WCT project, several hundred feet of the wall is scheduled to be repaired and rebuilt to look as it did historically at the time of the Westford 200th Anniversary Pageant there in 1929. The trust mission to preserve and protect open space and natural resources also includes historic sites.
The photos are an example of what has been accomplished so far this year. A double treatment for poison ivy control and brush trimming was necessary last fall before the actual wall restoration effort could start.
Thanks to trust board member Dave Ebitson, six bird boxes have been installed at Pageant Field on the Westford Conservation Trust property at Prospect Hill (off of Hildreth St). The boxes built by Dave are designed to attract Bluebirds and Tree Swallows.
Of all the winter birds, seeing a snowy owl is the most exciting to me. We don’t see them in Westford; the habitat just isn’t right for them here, they are tundra dwellers. But, I have been lucky enough to see them on Plum Island and at Salisbury Beach most winters. Some years are better for seeing snowy owls than others. This winter is shaping up to be good snowy owl viewing, and I encourage you to make the short trek to the coast to see them. Seven snowy owls have been reported at Plum Island this January and February.
Snowy owls are one of our largest owls and are fierce predators with large strong talons. They weigh about 3.5 pounds, and have a wingspan of 4.5-5.5 feet. As in most raptors, females are larger than males. They eat mostly rodents, but have been known to successfully take down prey as large as geese and great blue herons read more….
On those frigid days of winter when the wind is high and the temperatures plunge below zero on some nights, I’m sure you feel as sorry for the birds as I do. How do they stay warm in winter? It seems something of a miracle when we see them at our feeders in the morning. The simple answer is that its not at all easy for them, and not every bird will survive sub-zero nighttime temperatures. But, birds do have a range of adaptations and strategies to help them.
Most important to warmth is feathers, which are specially adapted to trap warm air. On cold days, we see birds that look as fluffy and round as a little kid dressed up in a down jacket. When fluffed up, those feathers trap a lot of warm air between them. And by regularly preening and applying oil from the oil gland at the top of their tail, they can keep those feathers completely waterproof.
Another physiological adaptation is that birds can keep their core temperatures up by circulating warm blood around internal organs, while diverting it from less important peripheral areas. Legs have insulating scales covering them, and if the legs get too cold, birds can tuck one leg up at a time into their feathers and stand on only one leg. Waterfowl have a special type of circulation in their legs in feet. Veins and arteries are located very close to each other in the leg, so warm blood heats up colder blood.
Many birds will shiver throughout a cold night read more…