Marian’s Wildlife Blog for July 2018

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird by Doug Pederson

Do you enjoy feeding and watching our most beautiful birds the ruby-throated hummingbird? I have been reading a book with my book club titled The Fastest Things on Wings by Terry Masear. She is a Hollywood-based wildlife rehabilitator who works only with hummingbirds. In her fifteen-year career as a hummingbird rehabber, rescuing thousands of hummingbirds, she has learned much about these fascinating birds, but admits that she will probably never learn all they have to teach her. Maseur weaves the book around the remarkable story of Gabriel, a male Anna’s hummingbird. She explains, “Gabriel’s rehabilitation during the long summer of 2008 offered a powerful lesson on the trials and triumphs of rescuing hummingbirds in a bustling urban environment”    read more……

Annual Town Meeting on MARCH 24th – Conservation Funding Requests

President’s Message

Important Land Conservation CPC funding requests at Annual Town Meeting
Abbot Elementary School Gym
Saturday, March 24th, 2018 starting at 10 am

A request to fund the conservation of two historic, beautifully diverse and undeveloped properties are on the warrant at this Saturday’s Town Meeting.

CPA Funds are being requested to:

  • Secure a permanent Conservation Restriction for 45 acres of the existing Salt Box Farm property at 1 Wright Lane along Hildreth Street.
  • Purchase of the Adams property, approximately 50 acres of open space property between the Cider Mill Conservation Land and Laughton Farm open space off Lowell Rd which would connect with approximately 56 acres of already conserved property. This is an important addition to the protection of part of the Stony Brook watershed which can impact our groundwater aquifers (used for our drinking water wells)

The trust urges you to support the preservation of these very important properties, which will contribute to maintaining open space critical to the natural character of Westford. Please attend Town Meeting and vote to support the protection of these two properties as part of the CPA funding request on Article 13.

The Board of Directors for the Trust has voted unanimously to support both these CPA funding requests.

Thank you,
Ron Gemma
President
Westford Conservation Trust

Adams Property
Salt Box Farm property

CPC funded Stone Wall Restoration at Pageant Field

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.​

 

Bluebird Houses at Prospect Hill Conservation Land – Pageant Field

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.

This field is also noted as a pollinator habitat per Xerces Society Bring Back the Pollinators  campaign.

Dave Ebitson installing his bluebird boxes at Pageant field

Wildlife Watch by Marian Harman – Feb 2018

Snowy Owl at Salisbury Beach by George & MJ

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….