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See & Share Sightings

Please share your reports of interesting happenings at Hall’s Pond Sanctuary and enjoy reading others’ posts. Click on any photo to enlarge it.

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86 Sightings

  • Fred Bouchard

    Hall’s Pond & Amory Woods, Norfolk, Massachusetts, US
    May 7, 2017 7:55 AM – 11:55 AM
    Protocol: Traveling 2.8 (?) miles
    Comments: Cleanup Day Walks. Several loops with diverse personnel, incl. Bob Martell, Sean Jones, Maggie, Pam, Fran, Jasper. Brusque East wind militates firmly against tree warblers. 55-65F, chilly, p/c.
    27 species

    Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 2 on field, briefly
    Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 1 on pond
    Great Blue Heron (Blue form) (Ardea herodias [herodias Group]) 1
    Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) 1 flyover, 10am
    Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 1
    Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 3
    Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica) 1 flyover, 9:00
    Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) 1 called early
    Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius) 1
    Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus) 2
    Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) 1 quietly teed up in dead tree — strange!
    Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) 4
    Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) 2
    White-breasted Nuthatch (Eastern) (Sitta carolinensis carolinensis) 1
    American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 22 mostly on field at 7:30
    Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) 4
    European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 14 ditto robins
    Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) 1 quietly working upland blowdowns and swale
    Northern Waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis) 1
    Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia) 1
    Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) 1
    White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) 0
    Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) 2 garden, phragmites, brief singing, no show
    Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 2
    Red-winged Blackbird (Red-winged) (Agelaius phoeniceus [phoeniceus Group]) 2
    Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) 15
    American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) 2
    House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 20

    View this checklist online at

    • Date(s): 5/7/17
  • Neil Gore

    This week we are having many good sightings of new migrant birds, some of which will be staying to nest in Eastern Massachusetts, and some of which will be going further north. Today 3 new warblers: Black-and-white Warbler, Yellowthroat, and Ovenbird. Each has both a distinctive appearance and a distinctive song, so they can be identified either way. Other warbler sightings this week by birders.. were Northern Waterthrush, Redstart, and Parula Warbler. A non-warbler which is recently arriving in good numbers is Baltimore Oriole, which is fairly common and does nest often at Hall’s Pond.
    I saw a pair of Wood Ducks here this morning, first on the pond, and then in the trees above the pond. They flew off, and it is unknown whether they checked out the nesting box yet.

    • Date(s): 5/5/17
  • Deborah Stone

    White Trilliums are blooming now. They’re low growing, about 6-8 inches tall, so you’ve got to be looking at the understory to see them.

    • Date(s): April 30, 2017
  • Deborah Stone

    The Mayapples are up. They look like an army of umbrellas marching en masse. (Photo on April 30, 2017, late afternoon.)

    • Date(s): April 30, 2017
    • Tracy Patruno

      I enjoyed watching a bunny hide under those same plants on June 7.

    • Patricia Schram

      The flowers are beautiful!!

      • Date(s): 4/28/17
    • Neil Gore

      FOHP birding walk today consisted of one participant—me. Pleasant mild temperature though threat of rain. Absolutely no notable new migrating birds today; quiet overall. Several Robins and Grackles. 2 Canada Geese chasing off 3 others flying over. Small numbers of Blue Jays, Cardinals, and Mallards. Single Red-bellied Woodpecker, White-breasted Nuthatch; 3 White-throated Sparrows. Heard one Downy Woodpecker. No Chickadees! No Titmouse! Only one House Sparrow! Maybe better luck Thursday.
      Spring ephemeral flowers here are beautiful. Look for clusters of Virginia Bluebells, and several different varieties of Epimediums in the garden area. Elsewhere, May Apples, Bloodroot (a very small cluster), Trout Lilies, and Trillium are in bloom.

      • Date(s): 4/25/17
    • Deborah Stone

      The tiny new growth on this giant rotting old Willow tree caught my eye as I walked around the western edge of the pond. I thought to myself, this is what “life force” means.

      • Date(s): April 23, 2017
    • Neil Gore

      Further notes on Tuesday 4/18/17 bird walk. This was First of Year (FOY) bird walk for Friends of Hall’s Pond (FOHP). We will have more walks on Tuesday April 25 and Thursday April 27, from 7 AM to approx. 8:30 AM. Then in May, Fred Bouchard will take charge of at least one bird walk but probably more…once he returns from birding in Surinam! (dates TBA, times about the same). By the way, you can arrive here earlier than 7 AM if you are able, and get the jump on the rest of us: Often, the shyest, rarest birds are seen the earliest.
      Migration is heating up in many other areas of Greater Boston/Eastern Massachusetts—although slowly—because of our unusual winter (what else is new?!)–arrival dates of migrants seem to be delayed 10-14 days this year. The typical early springs warblers—Yellow-rumped Warbler, Palm Warbler, Pine Warbler–are gradually appearing at many locations. Soon we will be seeing and hearing my personal Hall’s Pond favorite, the Northern Waterthrush. One of these days, within the next 3 weeks, we will experience a virtual explosion of sound, color, and activity as the migrants arrive en masse!
      Look for weather predictions of SW winds as a predictor of lots of bird arrivals.

      • Date(s): 4/20/17
    • Fred Bouchard

      The strong North wind prevailing on Neil Gore’s Tuesday walk deterred most migrants — warblers were conspicuously absent — but not a handful of hardy, twittery Ruby- Crowned Kinglets. ‘True’ sparrows were in short supply, as well: one each of Song, White-throated, and Swamp (reported by Oliver Burton). I hung around after the walk with a Linda’s donut (coconut) and the Globe Sports section, and then walked back and found a Hermit Thrush by the boardwalk fence and a mid-sized Snapping Turtle sunning on a log near the forebay.

      • Date(s): 4/19
      • Deborah Stone

        On this bird walk (April 18th) Fred also found us a Red-Bellied Woodpecker–not such a rarity for him but certainly a special treat for me. It’s one of our more picturesque birds, with a distinctive trill-like song. And by the way, don’t look for a red belly, because its belly is beige; only the back of its head is red.

      • Deborah Stone

        Many clusters of Trout Lilies among the dead leaves in the Uplands. I’m told by Neil Gore that the Friends planted some of these a while back. They seem to be thriving and spreading. They are called Trout Lilies because their brown-speckled leaves resemble the patterns of Trout scale. They are also called “Dogtooth Violets” for reasons I can’t fathom.

        • Date(s): April 18, 2017
      • Deborah Stone

        I watched three cottontail rabbits dashing around, chasing each other as if playing tag. Two of them stood still long enough to get a shot.

        • Date(s): April 17, 6pm
      • Neil Gore

        My sighting highlights so far this spring (2017):

        4/3/17, 7 to 9 AM. Fox Sparrow (above the pond-edge yellow-twig Osier Dogwoods). Downy Woodpeckers (3). American Goldfinch (1). Probably over 100 Robins, on the field and throughout the wood. A lot of activity among the Common Grackles now migrating through (sometimes nesting at the Pond).

        4/12/17, 7 to 8:30 AM. 2 Great Blue Herons. Eastern Phoebe (this is my First-of-Year, or FOY, sighting of this common early spring migrant.

        Stay tuned: activity will be heating up soon, as we move into mid-spring migration, which will include the early spring warblers, as well as vireos, thrushes, kinglet, and the whole variety of land/song birds known collectively as Passerines.

        • Neil Gore

          Perhaps the best bird sighting of Fall 2016 through Winter 16-17 was a Barred Owl, which I saw in mid-late fall. After most of the trees were losing their leaves, the Owl perched in the largest maple to still retain its leaves. There were a few other reports during the winter of presumably the same Owl in various locations in the Sanctuary, and other nearby locations.
          Barrel Owl is large, about the size of a Great Horned Owl, but without the ear tufts. Its distinctive call is often rendered as, “Who cooks for you…Who cooks for you–all”. It actually is a little less concealed when perching than is the Great Horned Owl, meaning it perches lower down, in less thick cover, such that, from the right angle, it can be relatively easily seen.
          Although I have seen this owl occasionally in a number of Eastern Massachusetts’ forests, notable Ipswich River Audubon in Marshfield, Noanet Woodlands in Dover, and Brooks Estate in Medford, I had never seen it before at Hall’s Pond.

          • Date(s): Fall 2016 through Winter 16-17
        • Deborah Stone

          The daffodils are up in all their glory. Besides a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, I saw lots of usual suspects: a pair of Canada Geese, a pair of Mallards, lots of Robins, a pair of very noisy Blue-Jays, two Boat-Tailed Grackles and some Cowbirds, two Mourning Doves and heard lots of Red-Winged Blackbirds.

          • Date(s): Tuesday April 11, around 6:30-7pm
        • Deborah Stone

          Great Crested Cormorant perched on a branch on the NW side of pond. After a long while, it took off, and interestingly, circled the permitter of the pond three times before finally heading off over Beacon Street. Also perched on dead logs were 4 huge turtles, about 12″ diameter, and 2 smaller ones, about 7-8″ diameter.

          • Date(s): Sunday April 9 around 5 pm
        • Neil Gore

          Noteworthy sightings from Hall’s Pond 2017, from e-Bird: 3/6/17, by Lindsey Nichols, 2 Woodcocks, happily foraging in the afternoon (!) sun.

          4/2/17, by Oliver Burton, 3 Black-crowned Night Herons.

          Woodcocks, although plentiful in migration in Eastern Massachusetts in early Spring (late February thru early April), are rarely seen at Hall’s Pond because the habitat is not quite right. They need a larger area, with a scrubby weedy field or pasture ( not a manicured ball-field). Hall’s Pond does have the woodland where they shelter during the day. I have personally seen 1 Woodcock, once, at Hall’s Pond in 20 years of birding here—I saw it for 5 seconds as it stole away into thicker cover.

          Black-crowned Night Herons used to be seen regularly at the Pond. In recent years they are seen occasionally throughout spring and summer. They seem to prefer the Charles River.

          • Deborah Stone

            Mallard male at north overlook.

            • Date(s): March 20, 2017
          • Deborah Stone

            Hooded Mergansers at Hall’s Pond.
            I first saw some “Hoodies” on January 23rd. On that day, there was one male accompanied by 7 females. The male has such distinctive markings that you can’t mistake it. I never went to the pond in February. Then on March 20, I saw one male and one female swimming around together mostly in the cove where the Canada Geese nest. The geese were also there, so I guessed that they are defending their nesting ground and are unlikely to permit the Mergansers to nest. On that day, there was also a large, plump, apparently well-fed Great Blue Heron wading and stalking on the NW water’s edge. I’ve been back a few times since March 20, but haven’t seen any Hooded Mergansers.

            • Date(s): January 23, March 20
          • Tracy Patruno

            What a wonderful sight to enter near the tennis courts and see baby turkeys (with a few adults)! Was hard to count ’em since grass was taller than their bodies and they were exploring quickly, but at least 4 little ones… right before 6PM.

            • Date(s): 6/19/16
          • Joel A Feingold

            Great Blue Heron coming in for a landing.

            • Date(s): 2014