I was raised on Lake Street, and spent many hours in the Parklands, which was a short walk
    away. I kept notes of every species of bird that I saw, in every season. Of course, the species
    I saw are typical of any forest and pond habitat in the state, but keeping track made the walks
    more enjoyable.      

    I remember spending up to eight hours some days in the woods, just listening, watching, and
    waiting. I've seen osprey diving for fish; a small group of river otters feeding in a cove; huge
    groups of blackbirds moving in October, as well as nighthawks streaming at dusk, feeding on
    flying ants as they migrated; hawks, herons, ducks and owls. I recall the robin I freed from a
    fishing line at West Cove. And, I saw definite evidence of breeding worm-eating warbler, a
    bird which has Connecticut and Massachusetts as its northernmost range. My sighting could
    have been one of the first, if not the first of the breeding of this bird in this state. It seemed
    every time I went out I saw something interesting. I even put up some swallow boxes in the
    stream above the Rustic Bridge, and enjoyed the families that eventually moved in.   

    The Parklands is a jewel in a highly developed area. Now I live in Stow, where I have a small
    parcel that backs up to an apple orchard, which backs up to the town forest, which backs up
    to the new National Wildlife Refuge, just opened last year. So, I get my forest fix whenever I
    want. But my memories of Hopedale are an integral part of me and I could not have grown up
    in a better place.

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The Parklands

Tom Lipsky