Places to Bird in Worcester

Central Mass Bird Update homepage.

Worcester Airport (Worcester/Leicester)
1) AIRPORT DRIVE . This is accessable from Mill Street; from Goddard Memorial Drive off Rt. 9; or from Rt. 122. The section of Airport Drive from the intersection with Goddard Memorial Drive north to the intersection with Rt. 122 has many planted crab apple trees. In winter these attract numerous Cedar Waxwings and American Robins. In flight years small flocks of Pine Grosbeaks can be found also feeding in these trees. Be sure to scan the Cedars for a Bohemian as there have been several recent records of this species here. Wild Turkeys are often seen in this area too. There is a lot of traffic on this road so be sure to pull completely off the road, or park and walk the road.
2) TERMINAL AREA: Drive up to the terminal and continue past, pulling into a rental car lot that is adjacent to the landing field (chain link fence). In late fall and winter look for Horned Larks on the landing field or even in the parking lot. Occasionally there are Snow Buntings. Savannah Sparrows breed nearby. In migration, often raptors like falcons, accipiters and harriers can be seen over the landing field. From this parking lot, you get a commanding view of downtown Worcester which can be good for migrating hawks.
3) LEICESTER END OF RUNWAYS: Drive down Airport Drive toward Rt. 122, but cut off to the left (Bailey Street) before you reach the bottom. Follow this into Leicester (this road becomes Marshall Street) for a little over a mile and take your first left onto Millbury Street. This will take you up in back of the Worcester Airport Runways. Look here for Savannah Sparrow, Bobolink and E. Meadowlark breeding. Rarely, species like Upland Sandpiper or Short-eared Owl have been seen here in migration. Watch for larks in winter. At night in summer, sometimes Whip-Poor-Will can be heard from the woods to the west.
4) RT. 56, LEICESTER: Take Rt. 56 north from Rt. 9 in Leicester or continue down Marshall Street and it will intersect with Rt. 56 (go left). You will come to an area owned by the airport that overlooks the landing fields. Savannah Sparrows and Bobolinks are here in breeding season, and the area is good to look for migrating hawks. Short-Eared Owl has been spotted here in winter very rarely. (submitted by Mark Lynch).

Lake Quinsigamond/Flint Pond, Worcester/Shrewsbury
The long lake system of Lake Quinsigamond and Flint Pond form the eastern border of the city of Worcester. This large area as a whole is good for migrating waterfowl in later fall and even in mid-winter. Most of the lake is heavily recreated and is devoid of interesting birds for most of the summer and early fall. To bird this large area, first get a road atlas. A scope is also necessary. For directions, I will start at the north end and proceed counter clockwise around the lakes. To get your bearings, start by noting on your map the locations of: (north to south) Route 70, Route 290, Route 9 and Route 20.
1) NORTH END OF L. QUINSIGAMOND: Take Rt. 70 (Lincoln Street) north from Rt. 290. Take a right onto Holden Street, which bends to the right and passes by a gravel company on the left. Opposite the gravel company is a dirt pull-off. >From here you can view a nice marshy end of the lake. Wood Ducks and Mallards breed and often a pair of Mute Swans attempts to. In late summer, Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers can be seen. Watch for Great Blue Heron and Belted Kingfisher. Sometimes Bank Swallows attempt to breed in the sand mounds at the gravel company. Continuing along, Holden Street runs south along the eastern shore of this end of the lake and then bends to the west intersecting with Lincoln St (Worcester)/Main Street (Shrewsbury). Here it crosses the pond again. If you pull in just to the west of the bridge, you can walk back over the bridge for views of the southern section of the marshy pond. Following Lincoln Street back into Worcester, take a left onto Lake Avenue North.
2) NORTH L. QUINSIGAMOND. Heading south on Lake Ave, you will go under Rt. 290 and pass the Fallon Clinic on the right. Watch for a small brick building on the left with a paved boat launch area and pull in here. In winter, when most of the lake is frozen, sometimes pumped water keeps a section of water near the opposite shore open and this attracts gulls and waterfowl.
3)REGATTA POINT STATE PARK: Keep heading south on Lake Ave. Opposite University of Massachusetts Medical School is the entrance to Regatta State Park. Lake Quinsigamond is the scene of an important sculling regatta, and crews from various universities are often on the lake, launching from this park. Check here in late fall and winter for migrant ducks and especially gulls. Rarely a "white-winged" gull will put in here.
4)PUMPING STATION: Cross Route 9, and head still south on Lake Avenue. Immediately south of Rt. 9 you will see several large apartment buildings on the left. Just past these, look for a row of planted arbor vitae. A difficult to see driveway just to the left of these takes you down to a very small parking area for a pumping station building. In winter, this is a great place to check for lingering waterfowl which can include Ring-Necked Ducks, American Coot or even a Wood Duck. Sometimes something very unusual like a Redhead will show up. Views are through a chain link fence. Gulls come in to bath and roost in winter afternoons.
5)LAKE PARK: This large park off Lake Avenue (opposite Hamilton Street) offers some unobstructed views of the southern end of the lake. Pull in and head for the parking area on the right near the building. Walk down to the lake overlook in front of the building (there is a wall and some sand). With a scope, scan the water and islands to the south. Lighting is often a problem here. In late fall and winter before freeze-up, watch for goldeneye, coot and other migrant water birds.Sometimes, a Bald Eagle spends some time here in winter.
6)LIGHTHOUSE AREA: Just south of Lake Park, take the first left onto Bridle Path. The area is dense with houses, but as you drive along from your car try to get a look in between the houses at the lake. Look for a lighthouse. Often cormorants and gulls can be found perched. In late fall and winter, watch for Common Mergansers and coot.
7)FLINT POND/OAK ISLAND. Follow Lake Avenue south till it "T"s with Sunderland Road. Go left (east) and at a light, you will pick up Rt. 20. Head east on Rt. 20. At another light, turn into the state fisherman's access to Flint Pond (Oak Island). This is a large paved lot. In late fall and winter, scan from the boat launch proper. Walk along the marshy inlet to the right (there are some rough trails) and check the area of water as it flows under Rt. 20. Usually there are Wood Ducks about. A nice trail that offers better views of Flint Pond can be had by hopping over the guard rail on the left side of the lot (facing the boat launch) of the southern end of the parking lot and heading east on an obvious and broad trail. This short walk will bring you through a nice scrubby wooded parcel (landbird migrants are often about in fall and spring. Watch for Orchard Oriole). You will come to several good over looks of the pond. Look for migrant waterfowl, swallows and herons in spring, summer and fall and gulls in winter.
8) ROUTE 20 OVERLOOKS: As you head east on Rt. 20, you will pass several good overlooks of Flint on both sides of the road. Stop where it is possible to pull-off or park and check these thoroughly as often interesting ducks, herons and even shorebirds are around in migration. In particular, there is a small bridge over the easternmost overlook that can be quite interesting. Checking the north side of the road in late summer can often reveal shorebirds like Killdeer, Least Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, and Greater Yellowlegs as they work the weedy mudflats. parking all along Rt. 20 is always a challenge.
9)S. QUINSIGAMOND AVE MARSH: From Rt. 20, head north on Lake Street (light) and keep heading north on South Quinsigamond Avenue. Watch for a small bit of marsh right beside the road on the left. It is the only area of marsh like this along this road. Pull completely off the road here being very careful of the busy traffic, and cross the street and scan the marsh. Often Mute Swans breed in the area. Migrant dabbling ducks are sometimes about, and Wood Duck breed. Watch for species like Green Heron.
10. MARONIS PARK OVERLOOK: Heading north on S. Quinsigamond Ave., watch for th function hall of Maronis Park on the left. There is a broad paved driveway that slopes down to the building. NOTE; the area is marked "private" and "no trespassing" but so far discrete and careful birders have not been bothered, but "caveat emptor". Park all the way down towrds the left end of the lot. Walk out and head around the left side of the property to the shore along a path. You will get to a great overlook of Lake Quinsigamond south of Rt. 9. In dead winter, when most of the lake is frozen, a ridge of water stays open on the opposite shore. Among the dense flocks of hundreds of Mallards and Canada Geese there are often good numbers of coot and sometimes an interesting lingering species like Wood Duck and Green-Winged Teal. This is where the Redhead could be seen in January of 2000. This is also a good spot to check gulls. Morning light is best.
>From here it is a short drive to the intersection with Rt. 9 at White City. (submitted by Mark Lynch).

Bancroft Tower Hill, city of Worcester
This small city park, crowned by a faux tower can be good in spring for passerine migrants, including warblers, vireos, thrushes. BUT you must arrive at the spot at dawn. Migrants rapidly disperse throughout the neighborhood after that. Bancroft Tower Hill is most easily reached from Park Avenue or Salisbury Street. From Park Avenue, either take:
(1)Massachusetts Avenue, across from the WPI a-fields. This road crosses over the lower part of the hill and continues out to Salisbury Street. A spur road, continues to the left and to the top of the hill.
(2) Drury Lane, also across from the WPI a-fields. Take Massachusetts Avenue to the left and up to the top of the field.
From Salisbury Street, take Massachusetts Avenue and continue past Drury Lane. Parking is either at the top of the hill by the tower, or off Drury Lane (left side)near the service road at the WPI tennis courts. Your strategy should be to hit the top of the hill at dawn. If migrants are singing, be sure to bird the wooded edge BEHIND the tower, then work your way down the hill birding all the roads including the tennis courts service road. At the most, this should take 45 minutes. (submitted by Mark Lynch).

Indian Lake, city of Worcester
This small lake is one of the premier migrant waterbird spot in the city. It is good in spring and occassionally excellent in the fall until freeze-up. Many city rarities have appeared here including Brant, Roseate Tern, Black Tern, and even a drake King Eider. Regular are large flocks of Common Mergansers and Hooded Mergansers in the late fall, with lesser numbers of species sprinkled about like Common Goldeneye. Oldsquaw, scoters, Bufflehead, Northern Shoveler and other species are uncommon to rare. This is also a good place to scan gull flocks. Large numbers of migrant Ring-Billed Gulls roost on the lake in migration coming in in late afternoon and continuing till after dark. Sometimes, in periods of low water, landbird species like Snow Bunting and American Pipit may be found along the edge. Water is sometimes artificially lowered in the fall to control plant growth. A small inhabited island (Sears Island) is connected to the eastern shore by a causeway, There are several overlooks to the pond. A street atlas would be very helpful.
1) MORGAN PARK LANDING. West side of lake, Off Holden Street. Pull into the obvious parking area by the tennis courts and boat launch. In periods of low water, a sizeable exposed muddy edge to the southern end Sears Island. At such times, many gulls often roost here in late fall and they should be checked for uncommon species. Sometimes shorebirds will appear here also. Flocks of American Wigeon can often be found here where water is shallow along the southern end of the lake and up into the inlet with Sears Island in late fall. While at this spot, be sure to walk south and cross Grove Street and check the pond called Little Indian that is across the street from the southern end of Indian Lake. Black-Crowned Night Herons are regular from mid-July till September, and sometimes there are migrant ducks especially in the fall, like American Wigeon.
2) YMCA PARKING AREA. Off Shore Road, north end of lake, across from Bancroft School. You want to get to the western most end of the parking area, which is a cul-de-sac. Park and walk down to the water's edge. This is where the Roseate Tern was found.
3) CLASON BEACH AREA. At the end of Clason Road, off West Boylston Street. This spot can be a bit difficult to find, so do some map work first, because it offers the most commanding view of the north 2/3 of the lake. It can only be arrived at by coming from under Rt. I-190 and heading south on West Boylton Street which is one way at this point, and then turning in towards the Strand Ski Shop and continuing back along the old West Bolston Road to the right. Clason St. is a left. This elevated beach offers a great view of the lake especially in the morning. In inclement weather, you can sit in your car here and scan the lake.
4) CAUSEWAY AREA TO SEAR'S ISLAND: If water levels are low, take Huntington Ave. west from West Boylston Street and cut to the left. Check the muddy cove of the island and be sure to poke around the north end of the causeway too. It is NOT necessary to drive out onto Sear's Island. (submitted by Mark Lynch).

Leesville Pond/New Swedish Cemetary, City of Worcester
The New Swedish Cemetary is essentially an island in the middle of Leesville Pond. The area is good for migratory dabbling ducks like teal and wigeon spring and fall, with smaller number of certain species of diving ducks like Hooded and Common Merganser regular. Also watch for Double-Crested Cormorant and Pied-Billed Grebe. Wood Ducks breed. From mid-summer through early fall, herons like Green and Great Blue can be found. This is one of the best locations to look for Black-Crowned Night Heron in the county from mid July through early September. Landbird migrants can be quite good in spring in the plantings and has included Cape May and Bay Breasted Warblers.
From Webster Square take Rt. 12 south towards Auburn. You will pass Hope Cemetary on the left and Notre Dame Cemetary on the right. Just after this, Rt. 12 takes a 90 degree turn left, BUT continue straight on Webster Street. Immediately watch for the cemetary marker on Island Road on the left. Be sure to check the muddy shallows that first come up on the right behind the wooden fence. Opposite this area is an area of weeds and small trees where the cemetary disposes of wasteplant material. This area can be quite good for warblers and sparrows in migartion. The best strategy is to park and walk as much of the perimeter of the cemetary where the pond lies. Visibility can be quite obscured in some locations, so care and patience is required. A broad flat grassy area on the east end right adjacent to Rt. 290 often has a pair of breeding Killdeer. This narrow area of water between the cemetary and Rt. 290 often stays open later in the season than the rest of the pond and may have lingering species like Green-Winged Teal into January. Watch for the Night Herons in trees along the edge of the pond or feeding on fallen snags that overhang the water. (submitted by Mark Lynch).

Hope Cemetary, City of Worcester
This cemetary can be good for migrant landbirds in the spring. Numbers of post-breeding killdeer gather here in the grassy areas to the left of where you enter and can be found here till September. From Webster Square take Rt. 12 south. Hope Cemetary will appear on your left. The best area for warblers has been the northeast corner where the Middle River flows and Hope abutts St. John's Cemetary. Work the area where there is a wrought iron fence especially. Also check the ridges just behind this spot. (submitted by Mark Lynch).

Notre Dame Cemetary, City of Worcester
This area is reknowned as a great place to watch Common Nighthawk migration in late August and early September. It is also good for dabbling ducks and can hold late, lingering species into January including Green-Winged Teal, Wood Duck and even Gadwall and N. Pintail.
From Webster Square, take Rt. 12 south. Notre Dame Cemetary will be on the right, opposite Hope Cemetary. Generally, people have parked near the chapel on the small hill and watched for nighthawks looking in the direction of the city. Be sure to look north and west as birds are often flying by in the direction of Coe Reservoir. One of the best places to check for waterbirds is the small cul-de-sac in the extreme NW corner of the cemetary. Here you are opposite Hadwen Park. Visibility is often obscured by vegetation so patience is needed. Check all along the stream that connects Leesville to Curtis Pond and forms the western border of the cemetary. A small mound of weeds and cut debris in one corner can hold migrants in the fall like Fox Sparrow and White-Crowned Sparrow. This stream stays open in all but the coldest parts of winter and usually holds large numbers of Mallards in that season and sometimes ligering species like Wood Duck. (submitted by Mark Lynch).

Curtis Pond, City of Worcester
This is one of the most difficult ponds in the city to get a decent look at. In late fall, good numbers of Hooded Mergansers, with lesser numbers of Ring-Necked Duck and Common Goldeneye can be seen. In summer, Black-Crowned Night Herons can be found and cormorants are usually present at this time too. Great Blue Herons can be found from mid-summer on and Pied-Billed Grebes are regular in migration.
You have several options. Curtis Pond is off Webster Square, between Stafford Street and Rt. 12. You can get marginal views from between the factory buildings off Rt. 12 (Webster St.) from the parking area with the sign: Evercolor/Fine Art. Better, are the views from the small parking lot of the opticians (Webster Square Vision Center next to Bickford's) on Stafford Street right at Webster Square, BUT you can only use this lot when the opticians is closed. There is also a small alley/street called Curtis Street which runs from besides Chopstick's Restaurant and behind Maury's Deli. Here you are looking through a chain link fence at a section of the pond. You can even bush whack from behind some factories off Webster Place, crossing the railroad tracks, though some rather unsavory looking characters have been seen hanging around this area, so beware. A scope is needed. (submitted by Mark Lynch).

Coes Reservoir, City of Worcester
This pond can be good for migratory waterfowl in spring and especially late fall. Ruddy Ducks in small numbers are usually found in late fall. All areas to check this pond are along Mill Street, off Park Ave (Webster Square end). First check from the small city beach, making sure to pull your car well off this busy road. Gulls are often about and sometimes a common shorebird can be found on the very small sandbar. Continuing north on Mill St., pull behind the restaurant (when it is closed) and behind the bowling alley. Your view from behind the restaurant is obscured by a chain link fence. When checking from behind the bowling alley, be sure to walk a short distance behind the building and get a view of the distant NE corner of the pond. Species like Pied-Billed Grebe, wigeon, Ruddy Duck and American Coot are often up in this cove and this is the best place to check for these species. A scope is needed. (submitted by Mark Lynch).

Patch Reservoir, City of Worcester
This obscure pond is good for migrating waterfowl in small numbers especially late in the fall and is good in spring and fall for migrant landbirds. Access is along an obscure city conservation land trail off Mill Street. Driving north on Mill Street from Coes Reservoir, pass June Street on your right. When the houses stop for a bit along Mill Street, watch for a bus stop and a "Jersey Barrier" that mark the trail head. Fishermen often use this trail as an access to the pond. If you get a quick view of the pond on the right and the houses start again, you have gone too far. Be sure to park beyond the bus stop and walk back. Follow the rough trail in and to the left. This small woodlot is great for migrants and has even had Woodcock in spring and Hermit Thrush and C. Yellowthroat in late November. Be careful, the trail is often wet and muddy and can be VERY slippery. Eventually the trail will lead to a good overlook of the pond. Be sure to check the more marshy north end (scope needed). If you follow the trail to the end, you will come to an attractive small human made falls. (submitted by Mark Lynch).

Goddard Memorial Park, city of Worcester
This spot is excellent for hawkwatching in spring and especially in fall. In fall, landbird migrants can be heard and seen in the brush around the overlook and particulalry in the weedy area just below the overlook. Sometimes, just at dawn in fall, large movements of landbirds can be seen "hill topping".
From Route 9 in west Worcester (almost to Cherry Valley) take Goddard Memorial Drive up Airport Hill (north). Past most of the businesses but BEFORE you get to the left to Airport Drive, watch for a beat-up sign that says "Future Site of Goddard Memorial Park" on the left. If the sign is not there, look for the path across from the leaf-litter disposal area. It is the only well worn path large enough to drive a car on in the area. The path is blocked from cars by a wire and rocks. Pull off the road completely here -- there is room for 3-4 cars. [NOTE: If you drive up from Mill Street, you will continue straight beyond Airport Drive (on your right). In this case you will have to pass Goddard Memorial Park (on your left) because the road is divided at this point. There is a turn around a short distance beyond]. Follow on foot the obvious gravel path to the very top of the small hill (about 200 yards) where you will have a commanding view west and north over the city of Worcester. (submitted by Mark Lynch).