Bird Observer: The Birding Journal for New England

Bird Observer

The Birding Journal for New England

February 2017

Vol. 45, No. 1

Beaver Brook North Reservation

Jason Forbes

The Western Greenway is a planned loop through approximately six miles of open space through Belmont, Waltham, and Lexington. Rock Meadow and Habitat, both in Belmont, are the best known of the various pieces, but the best birding overall may be at the Beaver Brook North Reservation. The reservation features a variety of habitats, although it has minimal pond and shorebird habitat. Even with that limitation, the list of birds seen is well over 150 (see the eBird hotspot for most of the records).

Expected breeding birds include cuckoos, Blue-winged Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and the usual forest birds, such as Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Wood Thrush, Scarlet Tanager, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Expected wintering birds include good numbers of American Tree Sparrows, Rusty Blackbirds, Winter Wrens, and finches in flight years. During migration, expect just about anything.

The reservation is owned primarily by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) but includes several pieces of town-owned conservation land as well. It was the site of the former Metropolitan State Hospital, and many pieces of that history are still visible. Most of the buildings have either been knocked down or turned into part of the Avalon apartments, but the McLaughlin Building is still standing and the MetFern Cemetery still exists.

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