NOS Area Birding Hotspots


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Location Directions Habitat and Other Information
Mansfield Hollow State Park - Dam Rte. 195 to Bassetts Bridge Rd. Follow 1/4 mile then turn right onto Mansfield Hollow Dam Rd. and proceed straight at stop sign to the dam.
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Open fields, Mt. Hope River empties into the impoundment here, woodlands, and open grassy fields. Waterfowl, raptors, shorebirds, swallows, thrushes, and warblers and sparrows in migration. This is a good place to find Solitary and Spotted Sandpiper in migration. From the top of the dam look for waterfowl on the impoundment and Eastern Bluebirds in the fields. Gulls often roost on a sandy island across the field. Swallows often congregate on the top of the dam.
Mansfield Hollow State Park - Field Trial Area North Windham Rd. (see Yahoo map) A dead-end road west of the Natchaug River. It is a right off Bassetts Bridge Rd. just before the river when coming from Mansfield or off Station Rd. If you are coming from Windham Airport/Dike area on Rte. 6 take a left at the traffic light 1/4 mile north of the Airport/Dike parking area and go 1/4 mile, cross the river and immediately take a left. At the end of this road is a parking area.
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This is a large area with open fields and woodland adjacent to the Natchaug river and areas seen from the airport/dike area. You can easily spend 1/2 day here walking the trails. Unfortunately we have not (yet) found a trail map of the area. Hunting field trials are sometimes held here in any season so be careful if you see signs in the parking lot or hear gunshots. The parking lot is a very reliable place to see Indigo Bunting in summer. From the parking lot you may elect to either follow the old road or climb the small hill toward the hut and explore beyond it. The old road starts out wooded and leads to overgrown fields and eventually the impounded lakeshore. Take any of the numerous trails off the road. Worm-eating Warblers breed on the steep hillsides in this area. Listen for Pine Warblers here too. You can reach the shoreline from a spur trail and if water levels are low you may be able to observe the shorebirds from closer range than is possible from the dike.

If instead you decide to proceed NW toward the hut from the parking lot you will cross several grassy fields and some cultivated ones passing through mixed pine/hardwood forest along the way. The trail(s) will eventually lead to the wooded section seen across the road from the boat launch area. Raptors, swallows, flycatchers, thrushes, warblers and sparrows along with many other species inhabit this area in breeding season. In winter check the lake for Pied-billed Grebes, Ruddy Duck and other waterfowl. This area connects to other area mentioned by a narrow strip of land with a culvert. Look for Osprey, swallows and wading birds here.

Mansfield Hollow State Park - Dike and Windham Airport Rte. 6 one mile east of intersection of Rte. 6 and 66. Look for the dike parking area on the left.
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Lake surrounded by woodlands and short grassy fields at the airport. Birds are observed from above along a paved surface (handicapped accessible) on top of the dike. Waterfowl, shorebirds, gulls, warblers, and raptors are common during migration and at other times of the year. A scope is helpful spotting birds on the lake and on the airfield. The short grass at the airport attracts Killdeer, American Kestrel, Horned Lark, and Eastern Meadowlark. Upland Sandpiper has been seen here too. When lake water levels are low, the exposed mudflats below the dike attract shorebirds during migration. Grasshopper Sparrows nest on inaccessible airport property and the first state record Fork-tailed Flycatcher was seen at the airport in July 2000.
Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Preserve Rte. 6 East to Rte. 203, trail is on the right 100yds. from the intersection along the old railroad bed.
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This area is a short distance from the airport dike location and is reached by walking the old railroad bed. In spring this is an excellent location to find Worm-eating Warbler and many other warbler species. Total length of the walk is approximately 1 mile roundtrip.
Mansfield Hollow State Park - Boat Launch Rte. 195 to Bassetts Bridge Rd. Follow 2 miles to the boat launch area on right.
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Open lake, brushy lakeshore, and trails along the edge of the lake and through woodlands. Waterfowl, shorebirds, warblers, and woodland birds are found here. Scan for Bufflehead and other waterfowl in winter. The trails to the SW can be good for warblers in migration and breeding season. Canoeing and kayaking are possible here with access to several large bodies of water and two rivers.
Mansfield Hollow State Park - Turnip Meadow Rte. 195 to Rte. 89. Drive 1 mile to causeway area. Do NOT stop on causeway! Parking is available before and after the causeway on the right in several turnouts.
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Brushy lakeshore and open woodlands. Many trails begin in this area. Behind the athletic fields southeast of the causeway is a woodland trail. Southwest of the causeway there is a well hidden entrance to a parking lot providing access to the incoming Fenton river and trails to woodland and wetland areas. Look for woodland species, Belted Kingfisher, wading birds, warblers, and waterfowl in the area. From the turnout northeast of the causeway there is access to the old roadway and a trail adjacent to the lake.
Mansfield Transfer Station Rte. 195 to Rte. 89. Drive 1 mile to causeway area. Take the first left into Transfer Station road immediately after the causeway. Bear right at transfer station gate. Paved road turns to dirt shortly but is very well maintained. Follow the dirt road for 300 yards and park on left at the blocked entrance on the edge of a large clearing on your left.
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Field edge, brushy areas, surrounded by woodlands. Thrushes, sparrows, warblers and raptors are often seen. It is best to bird this area when the transfer station is closed (Sun,Mon,Wed,Fri). All areas to the left of the dirt road are either Town of Mansfield or Mansfield Hollow SP. There is a considerable amount of wetlands in this area accessible using marked and unmarked trails.
UConn Lot W (UConn parking regulations enforced here.) Rte195 .75 miles south of intersection with Rte44. Turn right when you see the low University of Connecticut sign and turn right again after the information booth. The parking lot ahead of you is Lot W. Parking is strictly regulated at UConn and generally enforced M-F 7am-4pm. If you plan to be on campus during these times you are advised to park in a parking garage and walk or take a bus to Lot W. Check the UConn web site for authoritative information.
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Wetlands, a small pond, brushy areas, cultivated fields, and woodlands are found here. Willows, brush and weedy areas around the pond next to the parking lot are good for sparrows and warblers. Brown Thrasher and Savannah Sparrow nest in the area. Vesper Sparrow are often found during migration. Large flocks of Bobolink use the cornfields in late summer. Raptors are common in all seasons. In late fall look for Killdeer and American Pipits. In winter Canada Geese, Horned Larks and Snow Buntings are regularly found in the adjacent fields and in some years Northern Shrike. Walking the field edges and woodland road you can see a wide variety of species. Some of the more unusual birds that have been found here include Northern Wheatear, Yellow-breasted Chat, and Lark Sparrow.
UConn Horsebarn Hill (UConn parking regulations are not usually a problem here but ...) Rte. 195 .75 miles south of intersection with Rte44. First left 50 yards after the traffic light.
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Cultivated fields, cattail swamp, pasture, and woodland edge. A wide variety of habitat and many areas to explore. This area, including Lot W above, is an important trans-migratory stop for many species and home for threatened grassland species and raptors. In season you will find breeding Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, and Savannah Sparrows. American Kestrel have nested here too. Eastern Bluebirds are common. Many hundreds of Canada geese regularly use these fields in winter months and in recent years other goose species have turned up including the Richardson's sub-species of Canada Goose, Greater White-fronted, Snow, and Barnacle Goose and Brant. Look for Northern Harrier, Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawk here too.
UConn - Pumping Station Rd. Rte. 195 to Gurleyville Rd. Take a left onto a well hidden road at the bottom of a steep hill just in front of a white house. If you reach the Fenton River you've gone too far.
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This area borders the Fenton River including a large open field with adjacent wetland. There is diverse habitat including the UConn Forest with a network of wooded trails. Here you may see warblers, thrushes, sparrows, Wood Duck, and woodland species including Pileated Woodpecker. Listen for Ruffed Grouse, Veery and Black-throated Green Warbler on the trails along the river. On spring evenings American Woodcock are often displaying in the open field. To explore the area make your first stop at the utility cut before the sharp right turn. The road proceeds downhill and takes a sharp left at the brick building. In spring and summer Indigo Bunting, Pine Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Louisiana Waterthrush may be here. At this junction you may follow the road to the field or walk the paths along the river to your right. A short walk along the road will lead to the open field at the end of the road which leads to more trails through the woods. Check the field for raptors, warblers, sparrows, and finches. Wood Duck is sometimes present in the wetland.
UConn Depot Campus Rte. 44 100yds east of the intersection with Rte. 32 turn left at traffic light into parking lot on right side of white brick building. Do not attempt to park on the correctional facility grounds as the guards will escort you from the area.
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Cultivated fields, 2 small ponds, and woodland edge. In winter Canada geese are often found in the ponds and adjacent fields. Eastern Bluebird is common in the campus area.
UConn Spring Manor Farm Rte. 32 300yds north of the intersection with Rte. 44 turn left at the sign for the farm.
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Pasture, hedgerows, large White Pine stand, and a working farm. American Kestrel and Indigo Bunting have been observed in this area. Canada Geese frequently use these fields during winter months. It is best to observe from your vehicle. After parking in a small turnout along Rte. 32 just north of the entrance to the farm you can carefully walk the highway checking the field edges.
Plains Rd. At the intersection of Rte. 32 and Rte. 44 turn south onto Rte. 32. Plains Rd. is 300 yards on the right. Proceed to the railroad tracks and park near the bridge over the river.
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Wooded and weedy river edge, wetlands, open fields and woodland edge. Kayak or canoe access downstream into Eagleville Lake is possible from here. The leaching fields for a water treatment center (altered in late 2001) and the area around them are often good for warblers and sparrows. Look for wading birds in the small river cove and raptors overhead.
Eagleville Park At the intersection of Rte. 32 and Rte. 275 turn west onto Rte. 275. Go under the train trestle and turn right immediately into the parking lot next to spillway.
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This area is very good for warblers in migration. Trails into the south end of the park begin across the street in the woods. At the entrance take the trail to the left crossing the wooden bridge 150 feet down the trail. Continue until you come to a utility right-of-way then cross it and follow the loop trail (go right) beyond that which will border the Willimantic River for a while before turning away. In fall 2000 a male Golden-winged Warbler was seen in this area. Also check the edges in the vicinity of the parking area north of the road along the edge of the impoundment.
Stearns Farm Areas along much of Mansfield City Rd., Stearns Rd., Crane Hill Rd., Pleasant Valley Rd. and Browns Rd. (distant views of fields behind barns).
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This is a working dairy farm with mixed cultivated fields, woodlands, and wetland habitats. The owners tolerate birding but all birders should understand this is private property and we should not abuse our limited privileges. There are occasional turnouts along the roads bordering the farm that afford adequate views. It is best not to wander too far from your car should it be necessary to move it. The large flocks of Canada Geese in winter often attract other (rarer) goose species. Birds using these fields in the daytime often roost at Willimantic Water Works along Rte. 195 in Mansfield (1/2 mile north of Rte.6). Horned Lark, Snow Bunting, raptors, and sparrows are found here as well. Large flocks of blackbirds are sometimes seen in fall. This area is where two Swallow-tailed Kites were seen in 1991 and a Pink-footed Goose was discovered in 1998. Wild Turkey is abundant year-round. Look for migrant waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, swallows, and many other species in the fields along Pleasant Valley road. A marsh on the SW side of Mansfield Ave. (south of Pleasant Valley Rd.) has warblers in spring and Wood Duck seasonally.
Leander Pond/Knowlton Hill A working farm along Wormwood Hill Rd. in Ashford and a land trust area with walking trails on Knowlton Hill Rd. (also Ashford).
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A working dairy farm with mixed cultivated fields, woodlands, and wetland habitats is located on Wormwood Hill Rd. This is private property and there is no established relationship with the land owner. Parking near the farm is not possible. Do not block access to the fields. There is a turnout at a pond south of the farm where one can park then walk north along the road bordering the farm. You may also be able to pull over safely north of Varga Rd. Canada Geese (usually roosting at UConn Mirror Lake) often use these fields in winter. At Leander Pond (not shown on the Yahoo map but on the east side of Wormwood Hill Rd. south of Varga Rd.) you may find Belted Kingfisher, Double-crested Cormorant, Mute Swan, Tree Swallow, and wading birds. Least Flycatcher has been found nesting along the road near the stream that flows into Leander pond. In winter Northern Harrier is sometimes seen in the field adjacent to Rte. 44. Ring-necked Duck and other duck species are often seen in migration on the pond complex to the west of Wormwood Hill Rd. On Knowlton Hill Rd. there is a signed turnout adjacent to a sloped open field that offers well marked trail access to the pond complex and surrounding woodland and edge from the west.

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