Southborough

American Goldfinch and Northern Flicker in Southborough

October 1, 2019

An American goldfinch at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
An American goldfinch at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
An American goldfinch at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
An American goldfinch at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
An American goldfinch at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
An American goldfinch at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A northern flicker at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A northern flicker at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.

Steve Forman photographed an American goldfinch and a northern flicker at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough.

BLT Holds Grand Opening

The new 33-mile Boroughs Loop Trail (BLT), which links the trail networks of Marlborough, Westborough, Northborough, and Southborough, was opened in grand style during a ceremony on Friday, October 4.  Representatives of the four towns and SVT, along with State Senator Jamie Eldridge, participated in the "ribbon" cutting ceremony that officially opened the BLT.

The ceremony was held at the trail head at Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough. Eighty-seven people attended, including State Representatives Danielle Gregoire, Carmine Gentile, Hannah Kane, and Carolyn Dykema, as well as several local politicians from the four communities.

On Saturday, October 5, another 50 people attended the "Guided Hike Kickoff Celebration" at the same location and enjoyed long walks on the nearby trail.

Additional guided trail walks are scheduled for trail heads in all four towns during the months of October and November. Find details and registration info on our BLT page.

The BLT links wooded walking trails, bike paths, aqueduct trails, and sidewalks. Hikers, walkers, and runners are welcome on all parts of the trail. Some sections will allow mountain biking and dog walking. 

SVT assisted the four towns in creating parts of the loop and in creating trail maps and signage.

 

Nature at Breakneck Hill in Southborough

September 24, 2019

An eastern bluebird at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
An eastern bluebird at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A house finch at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A house finch at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
House finches at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
House finches at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A monarch butterfly at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A monarch butterfly at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A northern flicker at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A northern flicker at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A northern flicker at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A northern flicker at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.

Steve Forman photographed an eastern bluebird, house finches, a monarch butterfly, and a northern flicker at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough.

Boroughs Loop Trail to Open on October 5

Everyone is invited to a Guided Hike Kickoff Celebration for the new, 33-mile Boroughs Loop Trail, which links trail networks in Marlborough, Northborough, Westborough, and Southborough. Trail volunteers will lead family-friendly hikes during the event:

Saturday, October 5
9:00 am

Algonquin Regional High School
79 Bartlett Street, Northborough
Meet at the trailhead located in the Upper Parking Lot

The BLT links wooded walking trails, bike paths, aqueduct trails, and sidewalks. Hikers, walkers, and runners are welcome on all parts of the trail. Some sections will allow mountain biking and dog walking. 

The BLT will provide area residents with an outstanding opportunity to get outside and explore the special places in the four communities. Highlights include:

  • The Felton Conservation Land on the Marlborough-Northborough line, which has lovely woodlands and large open grasslands that are ideal for bird watching.
  • The Assabet River Rail Trail that runs from Marlborough to Hudson and provides opportunities to rent a bike or stop for a cup of coffee.
  • Views of the beautiful Chestnut Hill Farm in Southborough, a 170-acre active farm owned by the Trustees of Reservations.
  • The Charm Bracelet, which is a 60+ mile network of trails with a 28-mile loop that connects most of the open space in Westborough.
  • The great Crane Swamp, a 2,225-acre conservation area that spans all four communities and includes Cedar Hill in Northborough, a property with unusual shrub habitat that supports birds such as the blue-winged warbler and eastern towhee.

SVT assisted the four municipalities in developing maps for the BLT, and we also assisted with trail design and signage.
 

Birds at Breakneck Hill in Southborough

September 22, 2019

Cedar waxwings at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
Cedar waxwings at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
Cedar waxwings at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
Cedar waxwings at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A northern mockingbird at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A northern mockingbird at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A northern mockingbird at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A northern mockingbird at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A song sparrow at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A song sparrow at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A song sparrow at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A song sparrow at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.

Steve Forman photographed cedar waxwings, a northern mockingbird, and a song sparrow at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough.

SVT Accepts CR on Southborough Golf Course

St. Mark's Golf Course, Southborough

SVT has just accepted a conservation restriction (CR) on an unusual property: the former St. Mark's Golf Course in Southborough.

During their 2017 Town Meeting, residents of the Town of Southborough overwhelmingly voted to purchase the golf course. They also added an amendment to the purchase that required most of the property be protected with a CR held by a third party. The result was a plan that set aside a little over 4 of the property’s 60 acres for a new public safety building, with the remainder to be preserved for golfing and passive recreation.

When a member of Southborough’s Open Space Preservation Committee approached SVT about co-holding the CR with the Southborough Conservation Commission, we deliberated before accepting the offer. Golf course management—which can involve heavy watering and the use of pesticides—is generally incompatible with conservation. Plus, we were concerned about having to monitor a property that would be used primarily for recreation purposes.

Our Board of Directors eventually decided it would be better to protect the land as turf than to see it be developed, and they voted to accept the co-held CR. According to the terms of the CR, if the golf course operations cease for more than four years, the land will permanently convert to conservation land.

So, in September 2019, St. Mark's became SVT's first CR on a golf course and our 88th CR overall.

Want to learn more about how CRs work? Read Protecting Your Property with a Conservation Restriction. The document refers primarily to private landowners, but some municipalities and nonprofit organizations also place CRs on their properties to give an added layer of protection to the land's conservation values.

 

Birds in Southborough

September 9, 2019

American goldfinches at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
American goldfinches at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
American goldfinches at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
American goldfinches at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A gray catbird at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A gray catbird at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A gray catbird at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A gray catbird at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.

Steve Forman photographed American goldfinches and gray catbirds at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough.

Monarch Butterfly in Southborough

August 31, 2019

A monarch butterfly in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A monarch butterfly in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A monarch butterfly in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A monarch butterfly in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.

Steve Forman photographed this monarch butterfly at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough.

Red-tailed Hawk in Southborough

August 26, 2019

A red-tailed hawk in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A red-tailed hawk in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A red-tailed hawk in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A red-tailed hawk in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.

Steve Forman photographed this red-tailed hawk at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough.

Nature in Southborough

August 22, 2019

An eastern bluebird at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
An eastern bluebird at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
An eastern tailed-blue butterfly at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
An eastern tailed-blue butterfly at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A gray catbird at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A gray catbird at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A gray catbird at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A gray catbird at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A monarch butterfly at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A monarch butterfly at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A monarch butterfly at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A monarch butterfly at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A monarch butterfly at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.
A monarch butterfly at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough, photographed by Steve Forman.

Steve Forman photographed an eastern bluebird, an eastern tailed-blue butterfly, a gray catbird, and monarch butterflies at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land in Southborough.

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