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Birding talk to benefit Hawley meetinghouse repairs

Photo by Bill Thompson
This rose-breasted grosbeak was photographed at Hawley Bog by Bill Thompson of Greenfield, who will give a talk and slide show about the "Birds of Hawley Bog" on Sunday at Stump Sprouts.

Photo by Bill Thompson This rose-breasted grosbeak was photographed at Hawley Bog by Bill Thompson of Greenfield, who will give a talk and slide show about the "Birds of Hawley Bog" on Sunday at Stump Sprouts.

HAWLEY — The Hawley Bog is an especially beautiful place to visit at the height of autumn, and birding expert Bill Thompson will talk about the birds that inhabit and migrate through this beguiling landscape at the Sons and Daughters of Hawley’s annual “Nature Dinner.”

According to the Nature Conservancy, the Hawley Bog is “an example of an unspoiled New England level bog within a deep glacial depression. A mat of consolidated peat 30 feet thick floats on the open water and supports an unusual community of plants.”

But to Thompson, a 40-year bird-watcher, it’s also a birding paradise.

“What’s so great about Hawley Bog, from a bird’s perspective, is that it has a lot of berry-bearing shrubs — especially this time of year,” says Thompson, who lives in Greenfield.

For birds who breed here, he says, it provides an ample food supply for the young birds as they leave the nest. For migratory songbirds and others passing through from the north, the berry-bearing shrubs are an important resource. “They need groceries to keep going,” he said.

Ironically, the decline of clear-cutting in New England forests has also reduced the shrub habitat for birds, since old farm fields and clearings eventually became the kind of habitat to provide good feeding and breeding grounds for birds.

“The bog is very unique,” he said. “You’d have to go to Maine, Vermont or New Hampshire to find anything like it.”

The dinner and talk takes place on Sept. 15 at Stump Sprouts Inn, 63 West Hill Road. It begins with dinner at 4:30 p.m., followed by a talk and slide show by Thompson at 6 p.m. A requested donation of a $10 per person will help to pay for ongoing restoration of the 1846 Meetinghouse.

Besides being a long-time birder, Thompson has been an avid bird photographer for about six years. Born and raised in Rhode Island, he has lived in more than a dozen states, most recently in Alaska, before moving to Massachusetts in December 2010. His hobbies include birding, bird photography, wilderness hiking/camping and group fitness training.

Reservations are required. To make reservations, call either John Sears at 339-4211 or Lark Thwing at 993-0124. More information is available at the Sons and Daughters of Hawley website:

https://sites.google.com/site/sonsdaughtersofhawley/

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