ABNC is an active group of people sharing an appreciation of nature’s many forms. We have birders, geologists, star watchers, and plant enthusiasts — a full spectrum of interests. If you have an interest in nature, whether a beginner or experienced observer, we welcome you.

Join us at our meetings, field trips, and institutes where you will find a friendly reception and people with similar interests. There are a lot of exciting programs scheduled for the months ahead–check our event schedule, or come by for a visit!

The Athol Bird and Nature Club maintains the Millers River Environmental Center.

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The autumn air has arrived and along with it many interesting events

ABNC October Meeting:

>>><<<Wednesday October 8, 7:00 PM
Common Loons in Massachusetts by Dan Clark

Common loons (Gavia immer) are one of 5 species of loons found worldwide and the only loon species that breed in New England.  While images of the Great North Woods are often associated with the sights and sounds of loons, many may be surprised to know that the Common loon is a well established resident of Massachusetts.  Uniquely adapted to the water, Common loons can be found on a number of lakes and reservoirs in central Massachusetts.  This talk will describe the life history of loons and talk about some of the conservation efforts currently underway here in Massachusetts. Dan Clark is the Director of Natural Resources for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Water Supply Protection.  Dan has worked for the DCR since 1995 and is responsible for protecting Boston’s unfiltered water supply through a variety of programs, including wildlife management, land acquisition, and forest management.  In addition, Dan oversees a variety of programs aimed at enhancing or protecting rare and endangered species on Division lands, active management for rare habitats, vernal pool inventories, and common loon monitoring and management.  He received his bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, his master’s degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and his doctorate in Environmental Conservation from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. At Millers River Environmental Center 100 Main Street Athol Ma.

Tuesday, October 14, 8-10 a.m.      Accessible Birding with JoeJoin Joe Superchi on the second Tuesday of the month (through November) in a search for birds at local sites. Open to birders of all abilities. Meet at the Center 100 Main Street Athol. Call ahead for wheelchair van access, 978-248-9491.

Sunday, October 19, 7:30 am – 2:00 pm
Inside Quabbin with Dave SmallJoin retired DCR Assistant Regional Director Dave Small for natural history tour of a portion of the 56,000 acre Quabbin Reservation. This is a vehicle trip limited to 5 high clearance vehicles. Carpooling is mandatory and participants will need to commit to the entire time frame. Focus will be on migrating birds including waterfowl. Bring binoculars, telescope, lunch, water, camera, and dress for the weather. pre-registration is required contact Dave@dhsmall.net to reserve your space.

Tuesday, November 11, 8-10 a.m.   Accessible Birding with Joe
Join Joe Superchi on the second Tuesday of the month (through November) in a search for birds at local sites. Open to birders of all abilities. Meet at the Center 100 Main Street Athol. Call ahead for wheelchair van access, 978-248-9491.

<<>> Wednesday, December 10, 7 p.m.
Members’ Night at the Center
Come to the Center to share your experiences, trips and photographs with other members.  Plan for about 10-15 minutes, so we’ll have time for everyone! MREC 100 Main Street Athol

Saturday, December 20, all day                    Christmas Bird Count
Join this “Citizen Science” project, the longest continuously running bird data in the area. Contact Dave Small for additional information and to participate in this nationwide annual event: 978-413-1772 or dave@dhsmall.net. MREC 100 Main Street Athol

Sept 27-28, 10am to 5pm
Sweet and Stinkin’ Sixteen Years!
North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival
     Visit garlicandarts.org for admission, directions and parking, exhibitors, Saturday and Sunday schedule of events including music, entertainment and spoken word on 3 stages, chef demos, renewable energy, local living workshops and great, new family/kids activities. Awarded 2nd best festival among hundreds in the Pioneer Valley by the Valley Advocate Reader’s poll and highlighted in the 250th Anniversary of the Mohawk Trail.

September 28 9:00 am – 4:00pm
Experience the Massachusetts Outdoor Expo (“The Big MOE”) on September 28, 2014 at the Hamilton Rod and Gun Club grounds in Sturbridge from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. This free, family-oriented event celebrates outdoor skills, nature, art, and wildlife. Stations include sporting dog demonstrations, animal tracks, fishing skills, nature crafts, bird box building, kayaking, trap shooting, and many more. New this year: State Ornithologist Drew Vitz has developed a station called Introduction to Birding in Massachusetts. Stop by this station to hear recorded bird songs and get tips for viewing and identifying birds in the forest and field. Also, don’t miss the new and improved Bears of Massachusetts station, which will now include a barrel trap used by biologists to trap and collar bears.The Big MOE is in need of enthusiastic, outdoor-oriented volunteers willing to assist or host skills stations. Clubs, conservation organizations, and outdoor-oriented businesses wishing to host a skill station, assist others at an existing station, or make a donation are welcome. For more information on volunteering or exhibiting, contact Gary Zima at (508) 389-6314 or by email at gary.zima@state.ma.us.

Hubbardston-Ware River Nature Club
Saturday, October 4th   9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Leaders: Dave Grant and Donna Schilling
Early October is a wonderful time to observe hawk migration in Central Massachusetts.  Ospreys, Northern Harriers, Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks are moving through, and the first week of the month offers the best opportunity to observe and compare the Northeast’s three falcons – American Kestrel, Merlin, and Peregrine.  Spotting a Bald Eagle is likely, and we may even see a few Broad-winged Hawks hurrying to catch up with their kin who journeyed south in September.  Bring binoculars and/or a spotting scope, if you have them, and a camp chair (optional).  Picnic and restroom facilities are available on the property.  To get to the site, enter Barre Falls Dam at the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers sign on Route 62 Park on the far left side of the lot.  Leaders Dave (508-852-3243) and Donna (dschilling15@verizon.net) have been observing hawks at Barre Falls for fifteen years.    Please Note:  Rain and/or fog will cancel the event.