Field Trips

2021–2022 Hoffmann Bird Club 

Field Trip Schedule      

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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 Due to the coronavirus, monthly meetings will be conducted online.  Notifications will be sent via the HBC eNews to all members.  Please feel free to share the link with anyone interested in joining us.  As usual, our meetings are FREE and OPEN to everyone interested in birds. 

Field Trips: 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/they know you would like to attend.  If there are limitations to the number of participants, they will let you know if there is room for you to attend.

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. Trips may be limited in size due to Covid. Due to unforeseen circumstances, there are occasional changes in the trip schedule.  Check eNews, our website, Facebook page, or contact leader(s) for updates.
  2. If you are taking a trip where some details are TBA, contact the leader by phone, text, 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 August.  During the year, other walks may be offered.  There may be changes in trips or limitations in numbers depending upon the prevalence of Covid 19 Virus, please see our guidelines listed below.  Check for additional trips and events in HBC eNews or on our website at www.hoffmannbirdclub.org.

General Guidelines while birding during the Coronavirus Pandemic:

Hoffmann Bird Club Covid Policy as of 7/2021

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 continue doing 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. 

The number of trip participants may be limited, and if so, that information will be listed with the trip description.  State guidelines have been lifted for outdoor gatherings so there is not a maximum, unless specified in the trip description. 

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 as much as possible if you are not vaccinated.

These guidelines are subject to change as the situation with Covid and variants may change.

2021-2022 Schedule

Nighthawk Watches

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.

North County 8/21 thru 9/4/21 Williamstown 5:30 – 7:30 pm

Meeting at the Spruces (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. Coordinator: Chuck Johnson, Carrie Jones and/or Audrey Werner

Central County 8/21 thru 9/4/21 Pittsfield 5:30 – 7:30 pm, the time might be extended to 8:30 pm

Williams Street Community Gardens/adjacent to Canoe Meadows, Pittsfield. Coordinator: Tom Tyning

Leader records all nighthawks, other birds, and other natural history observations (Monarchs, other insects, flowers, et al) sending a final report to eBird and to Hoffmann Bird Club (via Tom Tyning)

Berkshire Bioblitz – Previous years in mid-September

The public is welcome to attend this 24 hour biological survey. Birders are encouraged to help with the avian census. Hours are 12 PM on Sat. until 12 PM on Sun. See their website for dates and plans for 2021. Due to Covid in 2020 the event was done by individuals separately. Last year the event had 361 observations, 194 species, 154 identifiers and 78 observers. See the website for 2021 plans! http://www.berkshirebioblitz.org/

Friday 9/10/21 Hoffmann Hackers Golf Tournament 8’th Annual!!

The Hoffmann Bird Club (HBC) of Western Massachusetts announces its Eighth Annual “Hoffmann Hackers Golf Classic” which could otherwise be known as “The Longest Bird.”  The event will take place at the Donnybrook Country Club, 775 Williamstown Road, Lanesborough, MA 01237, on Friday, September 10, 2021 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.  There will be a rain date of Friday, September 17, 2021. Take Off One Stroke For Each Bird Species You Can Identify!

Non-Golfers are encouraged and welcome to come as spectators, and may pay a fee of $12.00 to participate in the barbecue, which will consist of hamburgers or cheeseburgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, pickles, chips, and
non-carbonated soft drinks.   A raffle, tag sale, and other fundraising activities will follow the event. For Further Information Contact:  Matt Kelly

Saturday 9/11/21 Blueberry Hill Hawkwatch 9:00 am to 3:00 pm  

(Combined event with the Allen Bird Club.) Rain Date 9/12

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.  To get there from points east, go west on Rte 57 and turn right onto North Ln, 4 miles past the center of Granville.  Go 1.4 miles and turn right to reach a small unpaved parking lot.  Walk up path to the top of the hill.  The path is quite steep in places with exposed rock and narrow in many places. The top of the hill is a grassy meadow with exposed rock.

Allen Bird Club contact is John Weeks

Wednesday 9/22/21 Houstonic Flats 7:30 am

A flat, mowed 3/4 mile loop trail along the Housatonic River through flood plain 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. Leaders: Greg and Christine Ward

Sunday 9/26/21 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. Some areas might be muddy. 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. Leaders: Carrie Jones & Chuck Johnson

Wednesday 9/29/21 Howden Farm, Sheffield 7:30 am

A walk along field, wetland, and hedgerow. 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 Rd. Leaders: Greg and Christine Ward

Sunday 10/10/21 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. Contact leader Ed Neumuth for details.

Sunday 10/17/21 Leader’s Choice, Williamstown 7:30 am

Join us as we search for migrating fall birds, but 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. Leaders: Carrie Jones & Chuck Johnson

Saturday 10/30/21 Fifth Annual Berkshire Natural History Conference – Canceled due to the coronavirus – See you next year!

9 AM to 4 PM

Hosted by Berkshire Community College on their campus at 1350 West Street, Pittsfield

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.

76th Bartlett Hendricks Memorial Waterfowl Census

Sunday 11/7/21 – Pre-registration required

This event is an annual census of Central Berkshire lakes and wetlands. Closer to the date, the plan for this trip will be announced. 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. Coordinator: Tom Tyning

Saturday 11/13/21 NW CT Waterfowl Census 8:00AM

This trip is an annual census of Northwest Connecticut lakes. Meet at Bartholomew’s Cobble. Bring lunch and a scope. Trip ends about 2:00PM. Co-leaders: Kate Ryan and Rene Wendell

Saturday 12/18/21 Central Berkshire Christmas Count

Join a team and keep the tradition going. Sign up at the December Members Night meeting for the club, or contact count leader Holly Higinbotham. Blizzard date is 12/19. There is a tentative plan to countup our sightings at Zucco’s Pizza Parlor in Pittsfield after the count.

Saturday 1/1/22 South Berkshire Christmas Count

Join a team and welcome the new year with some winter birding. Contact Rene Wendell to sign up or for more information about time and place.

Raptor Ramble TBA – A Sunday in January or February

The timing of this trip will be weather dependent and will take place on a Sunday in Jan. or Feb. It will be announced in the eNews. This will be a county-wide driving loop, beginning in Williamstown, traveling to the Sheffield area and back, with several stops along the way, in search of wintering raptors. There will be a lunch stop at a restaurant. Return to Williamstown will be approximately 3-4 pm. Leader: Chuck Johnson

Sunday 4/17/22 Leader’s Choice Williamstown 7:30AM

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. Walking is easy to moderate. Contact Carrie Jones or Chuck Johnson

Saturday 4/23/22 Warner Farm, Cummington 7:30AM

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. Leader: Charles Quinlan. Email contact: Matt Kelly

Bobolink Trip to Field Farm, Williamstown TBA in May/June

Join leader Peter Rogers to view the breeding Bobolinks at the peak of their activity! Easy walking through grassy fields and meadows. Field Farm is a Trustees of Reservations property at 554 Sloan Road in Williamstown. Contact Peter for trip details.

Saturday 5/7/22 Leader’s Choice in New Ashford 7:00AM

Join us to explore a spot in the New Ashford area at the leader’s discretion.

Meet at JW Kelly’s Real Estate, Rte. 7, New Ashford. Leader: Matt Kelly

Wednesday 5/11/22 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 (Rt. 7; rotary around town green with old cabin in center; if you’re coming up Rt. 7 from the south, the library and green are before you reach Williams College). This trip is a great warbler tune-up before the Bird-a-thon and Century Run trips.

We will carpool or caravan to the site from the library. The pond has a gravel parking lot which will easily accommodate quite a few cars. The birding takes place along a possibly muddy and grassy road that skirts around the pond, which is surrounded by deciduous trees. Trip ends before lunch. Leader: Katharine Wiencke

Friday/Saturday 5/13-14/22 Birdathon/Century Run

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. Coordinator: Zach Adams

Wednesday 5/18/22 Tyringham 7:00AM

Search for summer residents at several sites in the Tyringham Valley. Meet at the BigY parking lot on Rte. 102 in Lee. Contact leader Ed Numuth for additional details.

Thursday 5/19/22 Hand Hollow Conservation Area and Ooms Pond, East Chatham, NY 7:00AM [date to be confirmed]

Morning walk in search of warblers and other migrants. Hand Hollow portion is an easy 2 hour walk. Contact Clellie Lynch for directions and details.

Saturday 5/28/22 October Mountain 6:00AM

Join our annual trip to October Mountain State Forest. Meet at Washington

Town Park on Rte. 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. Contact leader Ed Neumuth

Sunday 6/12/22 Birds & Breakfast on Mt. Greylock 6:00AM  

Meet at the Greylock Visitor’s Center on the Lanesborough side at the base of the mountain. We will bird Rockwell Road, at several stops driving up the mountain and the summit. Breakfast at Bascom Lodge will follow the birding. Leader Ed Neumuth

Sunday 6/19/22 Top to Bottom Walk Williamstown 7:00AM

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 TBA. Leaders: Carrie Jones and Chuck Johnson

Saturday 7/9/22  Hopper Road and Money Brook Trail, Williamstown 7:00 am

June is perfect. 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 the Money Brook Trail. Then there will be a moderate hike up Money Brook Trail with tree roots, rocks, and a narrow trail. Trip ends before lunch. Co-leaders are Katharine Wiencke and Peter Rogers.