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Springtime Secrets

Four local naturalists share their favorite places to savor the arrival of spring

Photo by Janet Di Mattia

Located right in the heart of Harwichport is the Harwich Conservation Trust’s largest property: the Bank Street Bogs Nature Preserve. Created in 2001, the Preserve comprises 66 acres surrounding Cold Brook, a stream that runs all the way to Saquatucket Harbor on Nantucket Sound. “It’s a series of former cranberry bogs,” explains Michael Lach, director of the Harwich Conservation Trust. “We’re actually managing them to restore and enhance wildlife habitat and water flow.” The preserve has about two miles of open, flat trails that wind through a diverse range of ecosystems, including small meadows, stream habitats, pine forests, and freshwater wetland habitats, including a red maple swamp. As such, it is a great place to see and hear wildlife. Along the pasture are 44 nesting boxes, mainly populated by tree swallows and bluebirds. “If you walk the preserve in April, May, or June, you’re in for a real treat because you get to see the aerial acrobatics of tree swallows—they’re all taking insects on the wing—it’s just mesmerizing,” says Lach. “You’ve got tree swallows wheeling about and the bluebirds flying back and forth, and it’s just alive with bird activity.” Later spring birds include the towhee, the Northern Oriole, and the Great Crested Flycatcher in the treetops. Lach recommends early morning visits—at first light or soon after—as the best times for bird watching. The Bank Street Bogs are also notable for the population of American Woodcocks that perform their unusual mating spectacle as early as March. “Open areas with low growth and nearby freshwater seeps are ideal habitat for American Woodcocks,” says Lach. “It’s a fun courtship display to watch right around dusk every evening in the early spring.” HCT has a full slate of walks, guided tours, and programs (many of which are free). For more information on upcoming programs, go to

From the Mid-Cape Highway (Route 6) take Exit 10 on to Route 124 South. Take a left onto Route 39 then a right onto Bank Street. Follow for 1/2 mile south and turn left at the Harwich Harbormaster’s Workshop, #203 Bank Street. Park and begin walking at the trailhead kiosk.

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