Explore events, news, & more!

Late Spring Migrants

Cedar Waxwing Istock

Sometimes, it’s the late bird that gets the worm, or the bug, or other tasty morsel that provides fuel for nest-building, courting…and whatever happens next. Migrant bird species reaching Massachusetts later in the spring are not tardy – they often time their return from the south to the emergence of certain insects that supply sustenance and to the greening of trees, shrubs, and grasslands for habitat and camouflage.

Check out these Trustees properties to see for yourselves (binoculars help) or re-visit your own favorite bird-friendly reservations:

Cape Poge, Martha’s Vineyard
Piping plovers and Least terns are both on the endangered list, so observe them quietly, and from afar. They lay their eggs and raise their young on barrier-beach habitat such as found on the east side of the Vineyard.

Mashpee River Reservation, Mashpee
One of the few places in Massachusetts where you might spot the Northern Parulla, a state-listed species. This meandering tidal stream on the south coast of Cape Cod is a birder’s delight – especially if you spot the small, bluish warbler with its flashy yellow throat.

Turkey Hill at Whitney & Thayer Woods, Hingham and Cohasset
Look for bobolinks to be settling into the fields after their long journey north from Argentina. As the scenic hilltop overlooking Boston Harbor is managed more deliberately for grasslands, we hope to attract greater numbers and diversity of grassland-nesting species. Cedar waxwings can also be spotted.

Appleton Farms, Hamilton and Ipswich
You’ll see bobolinks, for sure, but perhaps also meadowlarks, which require greater expanses of grasslands. Watch for swooping swallows in and around the farmstead.

Dexter Drumlin, Lancaster
Like Turkey Hill on the coast, this popular family destination in Central Massachusetts attracts bobolinks to its broad, grassy fields. Watch for the males, with their black bodies and distinctive, white-yellow heads.

Bear Swamp, Ashfield
Red-eyed vireos have settled into the stands of trees overlooking the beaver pond. That flash of red shooting through the understory might be a Scarlet tanager, also nesting at this time of the season. An array of woods warblers will also be setting up house – and singing for all they’re worth.

Bartholomew’s Cobble / Ashley House, Sheffield
Look for a wide variety of warblers, from common yellow throats to yellow, black-and-white, black-throated green, magnolia, blue-winged, and chestnut-sided. Ovenbirds and American redstarts are also on site. Deep-green Weatogue Field is shared by the properties, and it’s here you might well see bobolink. Also, the nesting eagles have produced an eaglet. Look for Baltimore orioles within the Ashley wetland.