Bird Observer: The Birding Journal for New England

Bird Observer

The Birding Journal for New England

December 2015

Vol. 43, No. 6

Birding the Charles River Peninsula, Needham, Massachusetts

Peter W. Oehlkers

Charles River Peninsula is a Trustees of Reservations property in Needham. Surrounded on three sides by the Charles River, it features 20 acres of managed upland grassland ringed by wooded riparian habitat and shrubby marshes. Access to trails and parking is easy except after heavy snowfall.

Charles River Peninsula isn’t the kind of place that attracts many exciting rarities; those are more likely to be found in the parks downstream—Nahanton, Cutler, and Millennium. Its size, configuration, and habitats are ideal for novice birders looking for a dependable spot to find the region’s more charismatic common birds, including Baltimore and Orchard orioles, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Bobolinks, Eastern Bluebirds, and Wood Ducks. There is, nevertheless, plenty to interest the veteran birder, including occasional appearances by Barrow’s Golden-eyes, Rusty Blackbirds, and Mourning Warblers; the presence of breeding Yellow-throated Vireos and possible breeding White-eyed Vireos; and regularly occurring autumn flocks of staging Northern Rough-winged Swallows.

Charles River Peninsula is about seven minutes by car from Interstate 95 (Route 128). Take exit 17 to Route 135 and go west. At the first set of lights in Needham, take a left onto South Street and follow it, keeping a careful eye out for bicyclists, for about two and a half miles until you come to Fisher Street. Take a right on Fisher Street. Shortly, the driveway to the property, marked with a sign for Red Wing Bay, will be on the left.

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