Bird Observer - The New England Birding Journal

Bird Observer

The Birding Journal for New England

February 2016

Vol. 44, No. 1

Birding Prospect Hill, Waltham, and the Cambridge Reservoir

Jason Forbes

Prospect Hill Park

Prospect Hill in Waltham, rising to 485 feet, provides interesting birding for much of the year. Although close to downtown Boston, the change in elevation is enough to give a feel of areas farther to the west. The park covers 252 acres and includes several different habitats. For further details, check the eBird hotspot and the Waltham Land Trust’s guide.

The main entrance is on the north border of the park at 314 Totten Pond Road, about a half-mile east of Exit 27—Totten Pond Road Winter Street on Interstate 95 (Route 128). This entrance is also accessible by bus on MBTA line 70. As you enter, you will see a parking area, then a small playground, and then another parking area next to the road leading up the hill. Unfortunately, the road is open to cars only from April through October, which means you will have to walk up the hill during the colder months. An alternative is to walk in from the southern, back entrance as described later in this article.

In spring and fall, migrant flocks of warblers can be everywhere. Just about every eastern warbler has been found, including several records of Hooded and Connecticut and a fall record of Cerulean. Other regular migrants include cuckoos, most vireos, and several flycatchers. Summer has a good mix of breeders including Great Crested Flycatchers, many Eastern Wood-Pewees, Wood Thrushes, Scarlet Tanagers, Chipping Sparrows, and abundant Pine Warblers, along with a few specialties described below. Winter can be a bit dull, but there is always a chance of winter finches, and it is worth searching for owls.

Prospect Hill

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