April is Earth Month in Westford! Westford Climate Action, and Co-sponsors, Westford Conservation Trust, J.V. Fletcher Library, Westford Historical Society, Healthy Westford Committee and others are pulling out all the stops to offer a great program of “Green” activities to honor our beautiful earth. The centerpiece of it all will be a large gathering on the Town Common for Earth Day on Friday, April 22, 3-5:30 p.m. There will be an animal farm, Animal Craze, music by Westford bands “Oh Contraire” and Momentum Rocks. Organizations will have tables set up for activities, poster-making, and games. The Westford Conservation Trust will be giving away free tree seedlings. Experts will be on hand to show an electric car, to speak on solar energy, recycling, alternative energy, Mass Save rebates and more. Town and State representatives will bring us up to date on climate goals for Westford. For more up to date information, visit westfordclimateaction.org. We hope you can join us!
During April, hikes and nature walks, led by Westford Conservation Trust members, will be offered on Saturdays:
Saturday, April 2 (rain date April 3), 9-11 a.m. O’Brien Farm, Vose Rd.
Hear a talk about the history of the O’Brien Farm by owner Charlie McCullough and enjoy a tour of the antique barn and farm implements. Westford Conservation Trust President Dave Ebitson and Charlie McCullough will then lead a walk on the conservation land. Terrain is varied and hilly. Meet Dave at the parking area on Vose Rd., near the intersection with Steeplechase Rd. You may call Dave with any questions at 978-387-9378.
Saturday, April 9 (rain date April 10) 9-10:30 a.m. Stone Arch Bridge and Trail
Take a 1/2 mile walk to the historic Stone Arch Bridge, led by Conservation Trust member Bill Harman. Enjoy beautiful views of Stony Brook and its wildlife. You may turn around at this point, or continue with Bill on the 1/2 mile trail along the north side of Stony Brook, enjoying views of the brook. Both parts of the walk are fairly flat. Meet at the parking area for Stone Arch Bridge on Cold Spring Rd. For more information, call Bill at 603-533-0325.
Saturday, April 16 (rain date April 17), 9-10:30 a.m. Blake’s Hill/ Burns Hill.
Rich Strazdas, Trust Director, will lead a hike on the Trust’s newest long trail, constructed by Boy Scout Sean Cheng. Part of the trail overlooks a large marsh with an impressive heron rookery. Terrain is hilly. Meet at the trail head near the cul-de-sac at the end of Rome Drive. You may call Rich with questions at 978-692-2057.
Saturday, April 23 (rain date April 24), 9-10:30 a.m. Frances Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, Lowell Rd.
Trust member Marian Harman will lead a nature walk on the Frances Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. We will move very slowly, identifying wild plants and birds. The walk will be easy, but not entirely flat. Some areas may be wet. Bring binoculars if available. *No dogs please. We will meet at the Frances Hill Wildlife Sanctuary sign across from 120 Lowell Rd. For more information, call Marian at 603-533-4095.
Many thanks to all flora and fauna reporters for the month of March. This will be my last wildlife report to the Westford Eagle Independent; as of May, the paper will be published exclusively online. Westford Wildlife Watch will continue to be published on the Westford Conservation Trust website. Please send reports by April 30, to appear in the May article. You can send reports to me at 7A Old Colony Drive, call me at 978-692-3907, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Late February Reports
Rosemarie Koester, Providence Rd. Many goldfinches, house finches, seven cardinals, four blue jays, many cute little juncos, mourning doves, red-bellied woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers. Feb. 16, red-winged blackbirds arrived and grackles arrived. Feb. 25, starling arrived, crows heard, hawk flying overhead. Two pairs of gray squirrels chasing each other, coyotes heard at night. Coyote spotted in back yard one afternoon. “Turkeys at the feeder froze and did not move. The coyote did not appear to see them as he dashed through the woods.” Seen on outdoor camera: bobcat, foxes.
Rick and Sue Ferry, Tenney Rd. Feb. 22, eight bluebirds on our meal worm feeder. We put up bluebird nesting boxes last year. They had two or three broods.
Marian/Bill Harman, Old Colony Drive. March 2, first grackle of the season arrived at the feeder. March 7, 50 degrees, cloudy. Lovely bird song all around. On walk to beaver dam, Carolina wrens, chickadees, titmice, white-breasted nuthatches, downy woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, mourning doves, grackles and red-winged blackbirds singing in the swamp, cardinal. A pileated woodpecker is drumming on his favorite dead tree–such resonance! March 8, 30-40 grackles at neighbor’s feeders. March 13, 32 degrees, sunny. Two mourning doves, pair of cardinals, five grackles, one red-winged blackbird, four chickadees, two American tree sparrows, three juncos, three titmice, one red-bellied woodpecker, turkey vulture overhead, juvenile raccoon climbing up a tree in the yard at dusk. March 16, a walk to Snake Meadow Brook. A pair of beautiful common goldeneye ducks on the brook, just passing through. One male mallard, a pair of lovely wood ducks. cardinal, pileated woodpecker, titmice, crows, grackles, red-winged blackbirds, Carolina wren. March 24, 40’s, American tree sparrow, pair of mallards on Keyes Pond, and for the first time a mute swan. Two pairs of hooded mergansers resting on Snake Meadow Brook–I tried to walk by very quietly, but they spotted me and took off. A mallard was with them on the water, but didn’t take off with them. He seemed to be patrolling a nesting area. March 25, 40 degrees, at feeder: junco, goldfinch, 30-40 grackles and red-winged blackbirds, two titmice, two chickadees, male red-bellied woodpecker.
Rose O’Donnell, Sassafras Rd. March 3, four bluebirds in yard yesterday, flitting around the nesting boxes. “Just a joy!”
Tom Ennis, Almeria Circle. March 11, first time this year, heard the twittering sound of the woodcock in courting flight. March 18, wood frogs are “quacking” in the vernal pool for first time [Tom sent an audio/video of this wonderful spring sound–MH].
Marian Harman is a member of the Westford Conservation Trust, a non-profit conservation organization whose purpose is the preservation of Westford’s open spaces and trails. The Trust welcomes new members and volunteers. Check us out at westfordconservationtrust.org and visit us on Facebook.