[HBC Home Page][Meetings] [Birding Links] [Membership] [Officers/Info] [Bird list] 





 Hoffmann Bird Club 2015-2016 Schedule

Our Birding Season of Field Trips and Meetings runs from September to August.  Our new schedule will be posted in August!

The Hoffmann Bird Club is Berkshire County’s premier ornithological organization. It was established in 1940 with a mission of promoting the study of birds in the county. The club was founded under the auspices of the Berkshire Museum and is named in honor of Ralph Hoffmann, a naturalist born in Berkshire County.

Monthly Meetings are held at Berkshire Life Insurance, 700 South St., Pittsfield, MA or Pleasant Valley Sanctuary, 427 W. Mountain Rd., Lenox, MA. See the schedule for specific dates and locations. Most meetings begin at 7:00PM. They are free and open to everyone interested in birds. Come enjoy the scheduled program and light refreshments. Bring a friend.

Field Trips: Times listed are departure times; please arrive a few minutes early to meet the leader(s) and carpool when possible. When carpooling, participants are expected to contribute to gas expenses. Local trips generally last until lunch, unless otherwise noted. Participants under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Dress for the weather, wear proper footwear, and bring binoculars (if you have them). Please contact the Trip Leader to let her/him know you are coming.

Our Birding Beyond Your Backyard trips will continue this year. Contact Doug Bruce (499-0596, dbruce@bnrc.net) to learn how they can expand your birding enjoyment. Check our website or The Berkshire Eagle for details.

Unless otherwise noted, all telephone numbers are in area code 413.

Important Trip Tips

1. It is recommended that you contact trip leaders in advance to let them know you are coming so they are aware of how many people to expect. Due to unforeseen circumstances, there are occasional changes in the trip schedule. Check eNews, website or contact leader(s) for updates.

2. If you are taking a trip where some details are TBA, contact the leader by phone or email or check eNews for more details as the date nears.

3.The trips listed in this guide are those confirmed at press time in July. During the year, other walks may be offered. Check for additional trips and events in HBC eNews or on our website at www.hoffmannbirdclub.org.

September 2015

Fri 9/4 Potluck and Monthly Meeting 5:00PM
“The Warblers of Magee Marsh” Photography Program by Craig Braack Bring a dish to share, and please bring your own place settings and utensils so we can lighten the impact on the Sanctuary. Pleasant Valley Sanctuary 427 W. Mountain Rd., Lenox 01240

More information about our speaker and program:
In northwest Ohio on the south shore of Lake Erie is Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.  The 30 or so mile shoreline surrounding the refuge is prime viewing territory for up to 50 different species of migrating warblers, vireos, tanagers and other passerines.  (In the early 1800s this area was called The Great Black Swamp which caused the wagon-trains of west coast bound settlers to divert many miles south.)  As part of the Ohio River major migration flyway, one particular part of the refuge serves as a "funnel" for the birds, a 3/4 mile long boardwalk called Magee Marsh. The marsh was well known to serious birders and bird photographers for many years and, of course, the photographers tried to keep a secret.  This all drastically changed just over 6 years ago when members of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory started a birding festival called, and aptly so, "The Biggest Week in American Birding." In 2014, staff of Ottawa NWR conducted a traffic count and stated over 65,000 people visited Magee Marsh in May.  

The program will cover many "do's and don't’s" of the whole experience such as where to stay, eat, what best to wear, when to visit in late April and May, what's in my camera bag,  (I'm a Canon shooter but Nikon users are welcome to attend!) etc., etc...

Craig Braack is active in two camera clubs, and also has been active in the Allegany County Bird Club for many years and President for 10 years, He’s travelled to all 50 states, 6 provinces, 35 National Parks, Iceland and two trips to Costa Rica.  His North American bird life list stands at 451.

Sat 9/5 Explore Lanesborough 7:30AM
We’ll check pond, trails, caves, and springs for migrant songbirds and raptors. Meet at the old Brodie Ski Touring Center, 770 Rte. 7, Lanesborough. Leader: Matt Kelly (458-3664, veganpeace2@gmail.com).

Wed 9/9 Springside Park 7:30AM
Meet at the playground parking lot off of North St. (Rte. 7), Pittsfield to look for migrating songbirds and sparrows. Leader: Noreen Mole (442-6327, smole@berkshire.rr.com).

Sun 9/13 Hawkwatch-Pittsfield State Forest 9:30AM
Let’s bring back an old tradition. Join us for any part (or all) of the day at the hawkwatch site on the top of Pittsfield State Forest. Let’s hope for good weather and a nice flight of Broadwings! Bring a chair, snacks, and water. Ends mid-afternoon. Rain date: 9/14. Leader: Gael Hurley (281-1017, gael19@nycap.rr.com).

Sat 9/19 Blueberry Hill Hawkwatch 9:00AM
& Potluck Picnic

(Combined event with the Allen Bird Club.)
Look for raptors and migrants at the Blueberry Hill Hawkwatch in West Granville. Blueberry Hill has hawkwatch manned from Sept through Nov with a 360 degree unobstructed view. You are invited to attend whenever you want to learn more about hawks or help in the count. For our day, bring a dish to share, your favorite beverage, scope and chair.

If planning to go contact: Chris Blagdon (684-1808, ceblagdon@nycap.rr.com) or Ann Connors (464-2238, cool48cats@gmail.com)

To carpool, meet at Price Chopper parking lot on the Pittsfield-Lenox Rd., Lenox at 7:30am.
There will be a stop for breakfast at the Farmington River Diner on Rt. 8 in Otis. For those not interested in carpooling or breakfast, here are the directions to Bluberry Hill. Rt. 20 south to Rt. 8 south to New Boston. In New Boston go east on Route 57 for approx 6 miles, turn left on North Lane (marked), go 1.4 miles, to a small unpaved parking lot on the right. It is gentle 5 -10 minute walk up the path to the top of the hill.

Tues 9/22 A Walk in the Woods 8:00 AM
A morning walk at a location of the leader’s choice. Beginners encouraged. Meet at the Lanesborough Post Office on Rte. 7. Leader Noreen Mole (442-6327, smole@berkshire.rr.com).

October 2015

Mon 10/5 Monthly Meeting 7:00PM
Berkshire Life Insurance, 700 South St. Pittsfield
“The Chicken Run” Going for Colorado’s Grand Slam!
Scott Surner
President of the Hampshire Bird Club

April is the month to look for the many species of “Chickens” that call Colorado home. This trip covered 2,100 miles in about 9 days, and we hit a variety of habitats in our quest for Colorado’s Chickens.

Wed 10/7 Springside Park 8:00 AM
Meet at the playground parking lot off North St. (Rte. 7), Pittsfield. We will look for migrant
songbirds and sparrows in a variety of habitats. Leader: Noreen Mole (442-6327, Smole@berkshire.rr.com).

Sun 10/11 Stafford Hill/Cheshire 7:00 AM
Half day trip to Stafford Hill and neighboring areas in search of sparrows and other migrants. Meet at Allendale Shopping Center on Cheshire Rd. Contact leader Ed Neumuth (884-4961,
eneumuth@gmail.com) for details.

HBC Members are welcome at the Hopkins Forest Saw-whet Owl Banding Program that runs mid-October to early November. Weather permitting, it is open evenings at the Owl Banding Station at Hopkins Forest in Williamstown. Call Drew Jones (413-597-4353) before you go for further details.
November 2015

Sun 11/1 69th Bartlett Hendricks  Memorial Waterfowl Census  7:00AM
Join the annual census of central Berkshire lakes and wetlands. Meet at Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield. Bring lunch and a scope. Trip ends around 3:00PM. Coordinator: Tom Tyning (236-4502, ttyning@berkshirecc.edu

Mon 11/2 Monthly Meeting 7:00PM
Berkshire Life Insurance, 700 South St. Pittsfield
“Birding Churchill & Southern Manitoba”
Strickland Wheelock & Henry Mauer
Manitoba is one of the North America's finest birding areas being an excellent place to find some of the "most-wanted " species. Drumlin Farms trip June 6th - June 14th focused on explored several of Manitoba's Ecozones that were the breeding sites of many of these sought after rarities. These Ecozones ranged from the Hudson Bay [Churchill] to the Boreal forest to the east of Winnipeg to the Prairies in the SW corner of Manitoba.

Our program will take you to each Ecozone as our trip unfolded. Between the excellent bird photographs [many in breeding plumages] and habitat shots by Henry Mauer at each site, our description of the bird species we encountered in these various habitats, I hope that you will experience the same excitement that we all did on this trip. Our trip ended with many birding highlights between the 220 species seen that included 26 species of shorebirds, Great Gray Owls, Common Crane, Sprague's Pipit, 3 species of Longspurs, Am. Three-toed Woodpecker, Ct Warbler, LeConte's & Harris's Sparrows, etc.

Strickland Wheelock fell in love with birds around when he was 5 years old, and has never lost the passion to observe and share with others his many years of experience. Strickland leads birding trips throughout NA including many local trips in NE, has a Master Banding Permit for passerines and raptors with Saw-whet Owls being the main focus in the fall.  When not birding, Strickland runs a woolen manufacturing company seven days per week, and actively plays competitive tennis.  Strickland is married, has 6 children, and has 12 grandchildren to love, and lives in Uxbridge MA.
Henry Mauer has traveled NA with his wife Deb birding and photographing birds. Henry and Deb this year are traveling NA with the goal of seeing over 600 species each which will
happen!!   When not traveling, they run the “Young Birder's Club” at Drumlin Farm which has grown under their leadership. These children compete in the Superbowl of Birding and Birdathon with great results.  Henry & Deb live in Salisbury MA when not traveling.

Sat 11/7 NW CT Waterfowl Census 8:00AM
Meet at Bartholomew’s Cobble. Bring lunch and a scope. Trip ends about 2:00PM. Co-leaders: Kate Ryan (528-4355, DivinDucky@aol.com) and Rene Wendell (229-6600,rwendell@ttor.org)

Berkshire Natural History Conference
Sun 11/8 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Berkshire School, Rte. 41, Egremont
Hoffmann Bird Club is pleased to be a co-sponsor of this first annual event. Join naturalists from
around the region in an exploration of many aspects of regional natural history. Features
include a presentation on the life of local naturalist S. Waldo Bailey by Rene Wendell.

Join fellow naturalists, conservationists, students of all ages, and citizens, for a day of celebration of the biological diversity of Berkshire County. In the summer of 2014 we lost one of our noted field naturalists. Dave St. James was a biologist for the Massachusetts DFW and an indefatigable recorder of the plants and animals of the Berkshires. An avid reader of historical text, an ardent chronicler of natural events, and a truly selfless sharer of knowledge, Dave was one of a long line of great Berkshire naturalists. A well attended celebration in his memory was the impetus for the idea of an annual conference celebrating Berkshire Natural History and the past naturalists that have contributed to conservation efforts to preserve and protect our little corner of the planet. The presentations at the November Conference follow in this tradition. Features include Rene Wendell’s introduction to the life of S. Waldo Bailey, first warden at Bartholomew’s Cobble, Peter Alden, global tour leader and author, and Brian Cassie, teacher, naturalist, and author. We will also have presentations by many local naturalists.
PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED. Contact Tom Tyning for details: ttyning@berkshirecc.edu.

December 2015

Mon 12/7 Monthly Meeting 7:00PM
Berkshire Life Insurance 700 South St., Pittsfield
“HBC Member’s Night”
Bring 10 digital images and holiday sweets to share, and sign up for the Christmas Count!

Sat 12/19 Central Berkshire Christmas Count
Join a team and keep the tradition going. Sign up at Members Night, or contact count leaders Holly Higinbotham and Bob Wood (684-3724, higinbo@hotmail.com). Blizzard date:12/20

January 2016

Fri 1/1 South Berkshire Christmas Count
Join a team and welcome the new year with some w i n t e r b i r d i n g . Contact René Laubach
(623-8803,renelaubach@gmail.com) to sign up or for more information about time and place.

Sat 1/9 Fairhaven TBA
A trip to SE Mass & Buzzards Bay to search for wintering waterfowl, loons, grebes, and passerines. Bring lunch and a scope. Contact leader: Kathy Mills (gkmills@charter.net) for carpool details.

Sat. 1/16 North Shore TBA
Sea ducks, gulls and alcids. Trip limited to 12, contact leader early. Bring lunch and a scope if you have one. Leaders: Ed Neumuth (884-4961, eneumuth@gmail.com, Chris Blagdon (684-1808, ceblagdon@nycap.rr.com).

February 2016

Sat 2/6 Breakfast and Winter Birds 7:30AM
Meet at Ozzie’s Restaurant, Maple St., Hinsdale at 7:30AM for breakfast. We will then look for
wintering birds around Hinsdale and nearby towns. Mostly roadside birding. Contact leader Tom Begley (655-0112, AT8395@aol.com).

March 2016

Monday, March 7, 2016, 7:00 PM
Monday, March 7, 2016, 7:00 PM
"The Secondary Market for Bird Feathers:
What Happens When Birds Don’t Want Them Anymore?"
Dr. Daniel Shustack
Environmental Studies Faculty from MCLA
Berkshire Life Insurance, 700 South St. Pittsfield

Sat 3/12 Cape Ann 6:00AM
All day trip to look for sea ducks, gulls, and alcids. Bring lunch and a scope if you have one. This trip will be limited to 12 individuals so contact leaders early. Car pool from Price Chopper on Pittsfield/Lenox Rd. Leader Ed Neumuth (884-4961, eneumuth@gmail.com)

April 2016

Mon 4/4 Monthly Meeting 7:00PM  - Rescheduled to Monday April 18 7 pm due to snowstorm!
Berkshire Life Insurance, 700 South St. Pittsfield
“Changing New England Forests and the Birds Within Them”
Morgan Tingley
Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut

The Past, Present, and Future of America’s Forest Birds
The Carolina Parakeet, the Heath Hen, the Passenger Pigeon – when we contemplate how our country’s bird life has changed, we often focus on the handful of species we have lost entirely. But our environment, and particularly our native forests, have been changing for centuries, and so too have the birds we love. Whether deforestation, climate change, or the recent plague of invasive insect pests, the rate of change in our forest communities is rapidly increasing.

Join Ornithologist and Conservation Biologist, Dr. Morgan Tingley, as we look at the past, present, and future of America’s forest bird communities. Taking us on a journey over centuries, we will walk in the footsteps of past explorers and ornithologists, comparing their world to the one we see today. From the high peaks of the Sierra Nevada, to the cove forests of the Smoky Mountains, to the deep woods of New England, we will tour a changing landscape and learn about what changes may yet be in store.

Dr. Morgan Tingley is an Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. He holds degrees from Harvard and Oxford (UK) Universities, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He is an elective member of the American Ornithological Union and currently sits on the Board of Governors of the Cooper Ornithological Society. More information can be found at his website: http://www.morgantingley.com/

Sat 4/9 Monterey 7:30 AM
A 1/2-day trip, including Bob’s Way and Diane’s Trail, to find early spring migrants. Meet at the
Price Chopper parking lot in Great Barrington Contact l e a d e r Kate Ryan (528-4355,
divinducky@aol.com) for details.

Sun 4/10 South County 7:00AM
A search for signs of spring in Berkshire County. Meet at the Price Chopper parking lot on the
Pittsfield/Lenox Rd.. Leader: Jonathan Pierce (281-2398, cheshirebirder23@gmail.com).

Sun 4/24 Birding Williamstown 7:30AM
A leisurely morning walk looking for birds in Williamstown & South Williamstown. Meet at Field
Farm on Sloan Rd., S. Williamstown. Contact Carrie Jones (884-2661, carriejwilliamstown@gmail.com) or Chuck Johnson (978-505-9139, chuckjohnson10@aol.com).

Sat 4/30 Warner Farm, Cummington 7:30AM
Search for American Bittern, Waterthrushes, Virginia Rails, Cuckoos & more! Meet at The
Creamery on Route 9 in Cummington. Leader: Charles Quinlan: (413-634-0334). Email contact:
Matt Kelly (veganpeace2@gmail.com).

May 2016

Sun 5/1 Steepletop 7:30AM
A ˝ day ramble through BNRC’s Steepletop Reserve in New Marlboro. Waterproof boots
recommended. Meet at the Old Inn on the Green, 134 Hartsville-New Marlboro Road, New Marlboro. Contact leader Doug Bruce (499-0596; dbruce@bnrc.net) in advance for directions.

Fri 5/6 Litchfield, CT 7:00 AM
A 3/4 day trip to White Memorial Sanctuary and Bantom Lake. The sanctuary has 4000 acres of
fields, woods, lakes, and marshes. Lunch stop or bring your own. Contact leaders: Noreen Mole
(442-6327, smole@berkshire.rr.com) or Tom Begley (655-0112, AT8395@aol.com) for meeting place.

Sat 5/7 Annual Meeting and Banquet 5:00 PM
Join club members for a brief meeting to elect officers followed by:
“Birding Mongolia, the Last Wilderness Nation”
Chris Leahy
Gerard A. Bertrand Chair of Natural History and Field Ornithology at
Massachusetts Audubon Society

Mazzeo’s Ristorante
1015 South Street, Pittsfield, Ma.
Members will receive menu and reservation details thru eNews. Reserve early!

Birding Mongolia, the Last Wilderness Nation
Mongolia today is one of the least despoiled countries on the planet, extraordinarily rich in spectacular, development-free landscapes, extensive wildlife habitat and healthy populations of native plants and animals, including Snow Leopards and over a million Mongolian Gazelles in the largest unfenced grassland in the world. It is also extraordinarily rich in birdlife including some of Central Asia’s most localized species such as Altai Snowcock, Black-billed Capercaillie, McQueen’s Bustard, Oriental Plover, Relict Gull, Pallas’s Sandgrouse, Mongolian Lark, Koslov’s Accentor, Mongolian Ground Jay, Pere David’s Snowfinch, Saxaul Sparrow, and Mongolian (Trumpeter) Finch. As well as many spectacular Eurasian specialties such as, Dalmation Pelican, Black Stork, White-tailed Eagle (and many other raptors), up to six species of cranes, Pallas’s Gull, Asiatic Dowitcher, and a host of Old World warbler, chats and buntings.

Chris Leahy holds the Gerard A. Bertrand Chair of Natural History and Field Ornithology at the Massachusetts Audubon Society and  has been exploring Mongolia and leading birding/natural history tours there  since 1982. He is currently working on Mongolia’s first comprehensive guide to the country’s birds with a Mongolian co-author. His talk will focus on the birds of Mongolia’s vast deserts, steppes, forests, and wetlands as well as the country’s unique nomadic culture and the conservation challenges it currently faces.

Christopher Leahy holds the Gerard A. Bertrand Chair of Natural History and Field Ornithology at the Massachusetts Audubon Society. He has been a professional conservationist for more than thirty-five years, most recently as the Director of Massachusetts Audubon’s Center for Biological Conservation. His interests in natural history are comprehensive and he is a recognized authority on birds and insects. His natural history books owe their popularity to his ability to describe the living world with clarity and wit. His published works include The Birdwatcher’s Companion  (first published by Hill & Wang, 1982 and reissued in a comprehensively revised edition by Princeton University Press in 2004), The First Guide to Insects (Houghton-Mifflin, 1987), Introduction to New England Birds (Massachusetts Audubon, 1990), An Introduction to Massachusetts Insects (1983, Massachusetts Audubon), and The Nature of Massachusetts (Addison-Wesley, 1996).  He is the editor of a series of authoritative books on the flora and fauna of New England and a principal author of State of the Birds: Documenting Changes in Massachusetts Birdlife (Mass Audubon, 2011).

In addition, Chris has designed and led birding/natural history tours to over 75 countries on all of the continents and is especially fascinated with the world’s great remaining wilderness areas and biodiversity hot spots such as Bhutan, Gabon, Madagascar and Mongolia. He grew up in Marblehead and has lived in Gloucester with his family since the 1970’s.
Sun 5/8 Post Farm Marsh 7:30AM
Morning walk in search of spring migrants and rails. Meet at the Price Chopper parking lot on the Pittsfield-Lenox Rd., Lenox. Leader Gael Hurley (281-1017, gael19@nycap.rr.com).

Wed 5/11 Cheshire Rail Trail 7:00AM
A morning walk along the Ashuwillticook Trail looking for migrants in a variety of habitats. Meet at Allendale Shopping Center on Cheshire Rd., Pittsfield. Contact leaders Ed Neumuth (884-4961, eneumuth@gmail.com) or Gael Hurley (281-1017, gael19@nycap.rr.com).

Fri/Sat 5/13-14 Birdathon/Century Run TBA
Join a team and continue the tradition, and support Mass Audubon’s annual Birdathon to
benefit our local sanctuary. Contacts, count format and other details will be announced in the Hoffmann eNews. Sign-up sheets will be available at the banquet. Coordinators: Jonathan Pierce (281-2398 cheshirebirder23@gmail.com) and Gael Hurley (281-1017, gael19@nycap.rr.com).

Thu 5/19 Hand Hollow Conservation Area and Ooms Pond, East Chatham, NY   7:00AM
Morning walk in search of warblers and other migrants. Hand Hollow portion is an easy 2 hour
walk. Contact Clellie Lynch (518-794-9063, ClellieL@aol.com) for directions and details.

Sat 5/21 New Ashford/Mount Greylock 7:00AM
We will walk about 4 miles at a birding pace along various trails at the base of Mt. Greylock. The
terrain is a bit strenuous. Meet at JW Kelly’s Real Estate, Rte. 7, New Ashford. Leader: Matt Kelly (458-3664, veganpeace2@gmail.com).

Sun 5/22 Stafford Hill 6:30AM
A search for migrant and resident birds; one of our target species will be Prairie Warbler. Meet at Farnam’s Rd. Causeway (off of Rte. 8) in Cheshire. Contact leader Jonathan Pierce (281-2398,

Wed 5/25 Tyringham 7:00AM
Search for summer residents at several sites in the Tyringham Valley. Meet at the BigY on Rte.102 in Lee. Contact leader Ed Neumuth (884-4961, eneumuth@gmail.com) for additional details.

Sat 5/28 October Mountain 6:00AM
Join our annual trip to October Mountain State Forest. Meet at Washington Town Park on Rte. 8 in Washington. Contact leader Ed Neumuth (884-4961, eneumuth@gmail.com).

Sun 5/29 Hilltown Ramble 6:30AM
A search for migrating song birds. We’ll start in Windsor and make our way to Hawley Bog. Meet at Moran Wildlife Management Area, Rt.8A in Windsor. Contact Leaders Bob Wood and Holly Higinbotham (684-3724,higinbo@hotmail.com).

June 2016

Sat 6/4 South County Leaders Choice 7:30AM
Meet Kate Ryan at the Wild Bird Store on Rt. 7 in Great Barrington to explore some of the busy bird sites of the southern Berkshires. Contact Kate at (528-4355, DivinDucky@aol.com) for details.

Sun 6/5 Springside Park 7:30AM
Meet at the playground parking lot off North St. (Rte. 7), Pittsfield to look for resident songbirds and sparrows in a variety of habitats. Leader: Noreen Mole (442-6327, Smole@berkshire.rr.com).

Fri 6/10 Picnic & Birding at Pleasant Valley
427 West Mountain Road, Lenox
5:00 PM Birding-6:00 PM Picnic
Main courses (including a vegan choice) and beverages are provided. Bring a side dish or
dessert to share. Please bring your own place setting to help lighten the impact on the Sanctuary.

Sun 6/12 Birds & Breakfast onMt. Greylock 6:00AM
Meet at the Greylock Visitor’s Center, bird Rockwell Rd. and the summit, followed by breakfast at Bascom Lodge. Leader Ed Neumuth (884-4961, eneumuth@gmail.com).

July 2016

Sat 7/9 Leaders Choice 7:00AM
A walk through several birding locations in the Williamstown area looking for nesting summer residents. Meet at the Nature Center at Field Farm, Sloan Rd., Williamstown. Leaders: Marina Brodskaya (458-0309, marinbrod@roadrunner.com) and Katharine Wiencke (458-1846, kwiencke@verizon.net




[Top of Page]
[HBC Home Page]
[Meetings][Birding Links]