2022–2023 Hoffmann Bird Club
Field Trip Schedule
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 is named in honor of Ralph Hoffmann, a naturalist born in Berkshire County.
Monthly Meetings are held at Guardian Life Insurance, 700 South St., Pittsfield, MA. Most meetings begin at 7:00 PM. They are free and open to everyone interested in birds. Come enjoy the scheduled program and light refreshments. Bring a friend.
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. Trips may be limited in size. Due to unforeseen circumstances, there are occasional changes in the trip schedule. Contact the leader for updates.
Dress for the weather, wear proper footwear, and bring binoculars (if you have them). All trips end before lunch unless they specifically address the plan for lunch. Participants under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
HBC eNews: The eNews is a newsletter sent to Hoffmann Bird members via email. Trip reminders, trip reports, trip changes, as well as items of interest to our birding community are distributed to club members. Members may email email@example.com to check if they are on the current mailing list.
General Guidelines while birding during the Corona Virus Pandemic:
Thanks to all our members for their patience and understanding during these unprecedented times. The Hoffmann Bird Club is issuing these guidelines for our birding walks. We expect that all trip participants will exercise caution and not place themselves and others in unsafe situations. Do not attend trips if you do not feel well or have recently been exposed to someone suffering from Covid or Covid-like symptoms.
Any trip leaders and participants who feel more comfortable or safe wearing a mask or engaging in social distancing, are encouraged to do so, and their decision will be respected by all.
Please carry a mask with you so that you can wear it, if that is the trip leader’s preference. The trip leader may require pre-registration for their trip and/or may ask to see proof of vaccination, if that is their preference. Please note that some people may be immuno-compromised for many different reasons, and even though vaccinated, may feel they need the additional precautions. Due to privacy concerns, please respect the request and people’s choices.
For safety reasons, our policy also includes the stipulation that all trips will take place only if there are at least three people participating, this includes the leader. So invite a friend to come birding with you!
Share optics or carpool only if you are comfortable doing so.
People who are not vaccinated are strongly recommended to continue wearing a mask whenever attending trips or delay their participation until they are vaccinated, if they are able to do so. Please do not carpool or share optics if you are not vaccinated, even wearing a mask. Also, please physically distance yourself as much as possible, if you are not vaccinated.
These guidelines are subject to change as the situation with Covid and variants may change.
Common Nighthawk Watches in Williamstown and Pittsfield
“On warm summer evenings, Common Nighthawks roam the skies over treetops, grasslands, and cities. Their sharp, electric peent call is often the first clue they’re overhead. In the dim half-light, these long-winged birds fly in graceful loops, flashing white patches out past the bend of each wing as they chase insects. Their range includes all of the continental United States. They have one of the longest migration routes over land through Mexico and Central America to the wintering grounds in southern South America..” [From All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology].
Bring your own chair and physically distance yourself from other people by at least 6 feet. Parking for cars is available in fairly close proximity to where you may set up your chair, little walking is necessary. The terrain is grassy with dirt paths/roads, but may be uneven.
Leaders record all nighthawks, other birds, and other natural history observations (Monarchs, other insects, flowers, etc.) sending a final report to eBird and to Hoffmann Bird Club.
Williamstown – 8/20 thru 9/3/22 – From 5:30 to 7:30 PM
Five nights at each of three different locations! Bring insect repellent.
Meeting at “The Spruces” – Saturday 8/20 – Wednesday 8/24 Located at a former trailer park on Route 2, you’ll see a pair of white lions on columns, east of the Colonial Shopping Center. The Spruces is along the Hoosic River. We set up our chairs at the rear of the property, next to the river.
Meeting at the DPW (Dept of Public Works) 675 Simonds Road (Route 7) – Thursday 8/25 – Monday 8/29 Drive to the end of the road which leads past the town landfill and Moore’s Pond. This is a very open area next to the Hoosic River. The walking should be easy, as a lot of the area is paved.
Meeting at Cole Field, Williams College Campus, Tuesday 8/30 – Saturday 9/3 Parking is plentiful next to Eph Pond. We might walk to the “riverbend” area which is across a grassy field. This is next to the river and we have open vistas to observe.
Pittsfield – 8/20 thru 9/3/22 – From 5:30 to 7:30 PM
15 Evenings of birding at the Williams Street Community Gardens/adjacent to Canoe Meadows, Pittsfield.
Saturday 9/10/22 TurnPark Art Space 7:00 to 8:00 AM
Explore the birds—and artwork—of TurnPark, a 16-acre sculpture park located on the site of a former quarry, at 2 Moscow Road in West Stockbridge. TurnPark boasts a unique and diverse landscape, with hills, meadows, a lake, and a 65-foot cliff, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Moderately difficult terrain for walking.
Saturday 9/17/22 Blueberry Hill Hawkwatch 9:00 AM — 3:00 PM
Bring a lawn chair to the top of a grassy knoll in Granville, to count migrating hawks with the Allen Bird Club! Due to the COVID-19 precautions, we will not have our typical potluck of food sharing, but do bring a picnic lunch or snacks and refreshments for yourself. You’re welcome to come for a short time or all day! The path is somewhat steep with exposed rock and narrow in some places. The top of the hill is a grassy meadow with exposed rock.
To get there from points east, go west on Route 57 and turn right onto North Lane, 4 miles past the center of Granville. Go 1.4 miles and turn right to reach a small unpaved parking lot. Walk up the path for 5-10 minutes to the top of the hill.
From points west take Route 20 south to Route 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.
Here is the Google link for directions: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Phelon+Memorial+Forest,+North+Ln,+Granville,+MAfirstname.lastname@example.org,-72.9367358,15z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x89e710ebd7330af1:0x168a122bbb44d27c!8m2!3d42.0975975!4d-72.927981
Our club used to have breakfast together on the way, you might consider stopping at the Farmington River Diner on route 8 in Otis.
13’th Annual Berkshire BioBlitz – Brattle Brook Park in Pittsfield
Saturday 9/17 at noon to Sunday 9/18/22 at noon
The public is welcome to attend this 24 hour biological survey. Birders are encouraged to help with the avian census. In previous years, the event had 361 observations, 194 species, 154 identifiers and 78 observers. See the website for 2021 plans! http://www.berkshirebioblitz.org/ . This year the event is sponsored by BEAT (Berkshire Environmental Action Team), Nature Academy of the Berkshires and Pittfield’s Conservation Commission. Meet at the parking lot on Longview Drive. This conservation area exhibits a grassland-forest ecotone that provides quality habitat for wildlife.
Owl Prowl Walk 9/17 – See website for the start time.
Early morning Bird Walk 9/18 – 7:30 – 9:30 AM led by HBC members
Wednesday 9/21/22 Housatonic Flats 7:30 AM
A flat, mowed 3/4 mile loop trail along the Housatonic River through floodplain forest and weedy meadow. Fairly narrow trail and possible tree roots in the portions through the forest. Meet at the parking lot, 439 Stockbridge Rd., Great Barrington.
Sunday 9/25/22 Williamstown Area Leader’s Choice 7:30 AM
Join us as we search for migrating sparrows, raptors and warblers for some fall birding. Meet at the Williamstown Public Library, 1095 Main Street, at the intersection of Routes 2 and 7. The trip will consist of visiting 3-4 birdy spots with easy to moderate walking on grassy or gravel paths, or along the roadsides. Please note this probably will not include visiting Linear Park because of the construction of the new bike path in that vicinity. Walking is easy, but may be muddy.
Saturday 10/1/22 Annual Berkshire Natural History Conference –
9 AM to 4 PM
Hosted by Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts on their campus in North Adams.
Come help celebrate the incredible diversity of Berkshire County, once again. The great mix of speakers, exhibitors, displays, and participants (you!) have come to make this enjoyable and educational.
Sunday 10/2/22 Stafford Hill, Cheshire 7:00 AM
Half day trip to Stafford Hill and neighboring areas in search of sparrows and other migrants. The group of cars will stop at numerous spots along some dirt roads. It will involve walking in grassy meadows at some stops. Meet at Allendale Shopping Center on Cheshire Rd.
Saturday 10/8/22 Howden Farm, Sheffield 7:30 AM
A walk along fields, wetlands, and hedgerows. Up to 2 mostly flat miles with some uneven terrain. This is restricted access property and not often open to the public. Meet at 303 Rannapo Road.
Sunday 10/16/22 Leader’s Choice, Williamstown 7:30 AM
Join us as we search for migrating fall birds, but we will especially focus on sparrows. Meet at the Williamstown Public Library, 1095 Main Street, at the intersection of Routes 2 and 7. The trip will consist of visiting 2-4 birdy spots with easy to moderate walking on grassy or gravel paths, or along the roadsides. Walking is easy.
Sunday 11/6/22 77th Bartlett Hendricks Memorial Waterfowl Census
This event is an annual census of Central Berkshire lakes and wetlands. Closer to the date, the plan for this trip will be announced in the HBC eNews. Due to Covid we may have to limit numbers and set up several leaders for groups to bird. The trip involves driving in cars to many lakes, getting out and counting every bird. Scopes are needed for the trip. There is very little walking on this trip. During Covid there will be no scope sharing.
Saturday 11/12/22 NW CT Waterfowl Census 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
This trip is an annual census of Northwest Connecticut lakes. Meet at Bartholomew’s Cobble. Bring lunch and a scope. Trip ends about 2:00 PM.
Saturday 12/17/22 Central Berkshire Christmas Count
Join a team and keep the tradition going. Sign up at the December Member’s Night meeting for the club. Blizzard date is 12/18. There is a tentative plan to count up our sightings at Zucco’s Pizza Parlor in Pittsfield after the count at about 4:30 that day, but the count-up may happen on Zoom instead.
Sunday 1/1/23 South Berkshire Christmas Count
Join a team and welcome the new year with some winter birding.
Sunday 2/5/23 Hinsdale Breakfast and Winter Birds 7:30 AM
Meet at Ozzie’s Restaurant, Maple Street, Hinsdale at 7:30 AM for breakfast. We will then look for wintering birds around Hinsdale and nearby towns. Mostly roadside birding.
Sunday 3/19/23 Spring Waterfowl Search 7:30 AM
Spring is a great time to look for waterfowl on our local lakes wherever there is open water. Meet at Farnams Causeway (off of Rte. 8) on Cheshire Lake. This trip will involve driving to multiple lakes and wetlands. There is limited walking.
Sunday 4/16/23 Leader’s Choice Williamstown 7:30 AM
Join us as we look for arriving migrants at one or more hotspots in this birdy little town. Meet at the Williamstown Public Library, 1095 Main Street at the intersection of Routes 2 and 7. The trip will consist of visiting 3-4 birdy spots with easy to moderate walking on grassy or gravel paths, or along the roadsides.
Saturday 4/22/23 Cummington 7:30 AM
Search for American Bittern, Waterthrushes, Virginia Rails, Cuckoos & more! Meet at The Creamery on Route 9 in Cummington. This trip involves driving to 4-6 birding spots, some easy to moderate walking on grassy paths or along roadsides.
Saturday 5/6/23 New Ashford 7:00 AM
Join us to explore birding spots in the New Ashford area. Meet at JW Kelly’s Real Estate, Rte. 7, New Ashford.
Wednesday 5/10/23 South Stream Road, Pownal, VT 6:45 AM
Scope out waterfowl and bullfrogs at South Stream Pond and stroll wooded paths in search of warblers and flycatchers. Meet at the Williamstown Public Library, 1095 Main Street at the intersection of Routes 2 and 7. The library is off the town green (Route 7; rotary around the town green with an old cabin in the center; if you’re coming up Route 7 from the south, the library and green are before you reach Williams College). This trip is a great warbler tune-up before the Century Run trip.
We will carpool or caravan to the site from the library. The pond has a gravel parking lot that can accommodate quite a few cars. The birding takes place along a possibly muddy and grassy road that skirts the pond, which is surrounded by deciduous trees. Trip ends before lunch.
Friday/Saturday 5/12-13/22 Century Run
Join a team and continue the tradition of a Big Day! The challenge of our Hoffmann Century Run is to try and see or hear 100 species of birds in Berkshire County in 24 hours! Contacts, count format and other details will be announced in the Hoffmann eNews.
Wednesday 5/17/23 Tyringham 7:00 AM
Search for summer residents at several sites in the Tyringham Valley. Meet at the BigY parking lot on Route 102 in Lee.
Thursday 5/18/23 Hand Hollow Conservation Area and Ooms Pond, East Chatham, NY 7:00 AM
Morning walk in search of warblers and other migrants. Hand Hollow portion is an easy 2 hour walk.
Sunday 5/28/23 October Mountain 6:00 AM
Join our annual trip to October Mountain State Forest. Meet at Washington Town Park on Route 8 in Washington. This trip involves driving to multiple birding spots with some walking along roadsides. One stop at the marsh involves walking on narrow grassy paths down to a marsh.
Saturday 6/3/23 Bobolink Trip to Field Farm, Williamstown 7:00 AM
Join leader Peter Rogers to view the breeding Bobolinks at the peak of their activity! This established seasonal community of birds has been monitored annually for over 15 years as part of a citizen science project. Easy walking on mowed paths around grassy fields and meadows. Field Farm is a Trustees of Reservations property at 554 Sloan Road in Williamstown.
Sunday 6/11/23 Birds & Breakfast on Mt. Greylock 6:00 AM
Meet at the Greylock Visitor’s Center on the Lanesborough side at the base of the mountain. We will bird Rockwell Road, several stops driving up the mountain, and the summit. Breakfast at Bascom Lodge will follow the birding.
Sunday 6/18/23 “Top to Bottom” Walk Williamstown 7:00 AM
June is perfect for finding active family groups, parents feeding chicks, and fledglings begging for food. We will choose an active road, meet at the top, leaving some cars at each end, then walk leisurely to the bottom, while watching and listening to all of the rich activity taking place. Location to be announced in the HBC eNews.
6/23/23 – Friday – 10th Annual Hoffmann Hackers Golf Tournament and picnic for everyone 4 PM
The event will take place at the Donnybrook Country Club, 775 Williamstown Road, Lanesborough, MA 01237, on Friday, June 23, 2023 starting with a “shotgun start” at 4:00 PM. The public is welcome to participate. The 9-hole golf tournament is a fundraiser for Berkshire County’s premier Ornithological Society. All proceeds will go to the Hoffmann Bird Club.
The format will be a “Captain and Crew” or “Best Ball”, but comes with a twist; each team of four golfers is also responsible to note as many different bird species as possible during the tournament. The number of birds identified may be deducted from that team’s final golf score! Special prizes will also be awarded for “birdies” and “eagles.” Contact email@example.com for more info and to sign up for a team!
Saturday 7/8/23 Money Brook Trail, Williamstown 7:00 AM
Meet at the Hopper Road parking lot near the trailhead, off Green River Road on Route 43 in Williamstown, to look for nesting and juvenile birds. We hope to see Bobolinks and many other species. We’ll take an easy walk past fields along a grassy and rocky old road to the base of Money Brook Trail. Then there will be a moderate hike up this narrow trail, which has tree roots and rocks. Trip ends by 10 AM.