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August 2021

Vol. 49, No. 4

Eleven Years of Birding at Halibut Point State Park, Rockport, Massachusetts

Peter H. Van Demark


Frozen quarry, April 2015. All photographs by the author.

I started leading bird walks at Rockport’s Halibut Point State Park in 2003 with Greg Pronevitz, as a summer complement to the walks led in the winter months by John Nove, the park’s visitor services supervisor. The park is centered on a large quarry that was used until the collapse of the Cape Ann granite industry in 1929. The Trustees of Reservations acquired 12 acres in 1929 and created Halibut Point Reservation in 1934. What is now the visitor center was built as a fire control tower for coastal defense against German U-boats during World War II. The state purchased 56 acres in 1981 to create the park. It is a popular park, with recent renovations designed to increase parking, ease visitor access, and provide a modernized visitor center.

A brochure of “Summer 2004 Programs” listed my walks on June 20, July 18, and August 15 from 8:00 am to 10:00 am, starting what eventually became the pattern of park-sponsored walks on the third Sunday of the month. Thanks to Ramona Latham, then with The Trustees, the walks became year-round in 2009, only skipping December because the Christmas Bird Count for Cape Ann is also on the third Sunday. The Brookline Bird Club began listing these walks as Beginner Bird Walks after The Trustees stopped having scheduled events at their properties on Cape Ann.

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