QQLA LogoDedicated to preserving
and protecting our lakes

PO Box 370, East Brookfield, MA 01515
Lake Association
Quaboag Quacumquasit

QQLA: Quaboag/Quacumquasit Lake Association
Home Join Us Committees Resources Contact Us
About Us

Birdwatching on North and South Ponds

By Nancy Cormier, with contribution from Mark Lynch & Sheila Carroll

(Posted 8/13/2015)
Lakes Quaboag and Quacumquasit, known to the locals as North and South Pond, contain some of the best bird watching spots throughout the seasons. The two lakes are connected and provide a diverse habitat for both songbirds and waterfowl.

Quaboag/North Pond is a 531-acre pond with an average depth of 7 feet. It is a wonderful area to search for migrating ducks. Mergansers, Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Ring-necked Ducks and Ruddy Ducks are commonly seen on the pond. Occasionally you may also see Black Scoters.

Gulls are often seen on Quaboag. Ring-billed Gulls are the most abundant but you can also see Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls. If you are watching the gulls make sure to look for the rarities. Occasionally Iceland, Bonaparte's, and Lesser-black Backed Gulls have also been sighted on the pond.

A bald eagle leaves its perch on the shore of Quaboag Pond last year.

Bald Eagles are a common occurrence in the area and on both ponds throughout the seasons. The eagles have nested on Quaboag a number of times over the years and the local population continues to climb. State Ornithologist Andrew Vitz states that there are eagles breeding at six bodies of water in Central Massachusetts, including one pair on Quaboag Pond.

Sometimes one only has to look up to spot an eagle and such was the case one morning while scanning the pond. There were two men fishing in a boat just off shore, while above them an Osprey was looking for a fish of its own. Unbeknownst to the men in the boat, the Osprey dove down and snatched itself a large fish, and then a Bald Eagle came along and chased the Osprey causing it to drop the fish, which the Bald Eagle quickly scooped up and carried away. Mind you this happened 3 times while the two men were watching their fishing lines in the water. They never once looked up or noticed the Osprey/Eagle fish battle going on above their heads, even with a dozen of us standing on the shore with binoculars staring at them. Sometimes you just have to look up!

Grebes and Loons can also be found on Quaboag in the spring and fall. Great Egret are occasionally seen during the summer. We have also seen an American Bittern near the parking lot.

By mid summer when the water is low and the edge has become muddy it becomes the perfect habitat for shorebirds. You can usually find Least Sandpipers and Greater Yellowlegs. While these birds are the most commonly seen, it's always wise to scan the area as you may find something unusual.

There have been some uncommon birds seen on Quaboag over the years, Long-Billed Dowitcher, Jaeger, and Sooty Tern to name a few.

Quacumquasit/South Pond is a 218-acre lake with an average depth of 32.5 feet. Quacumquasit connects to Quaboag at its northern end. Quacumquasit is an interesting area to look for ducks in the fall and winter as sections of the southern end of Quacumquasit stay open well into December and a variety of species can be found there. Common Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Pied Billed Grebe, Cormorants, Red tailed Hawks and Osprey have been seen here. There have been rarities over the years such as a wintering Northern Pintail and a flock of Tundra Swans.

The best spot to search the pond can be found at the paved parking lot and boat launch. You can usually find shorebirds along the edges near the parking lot. In the spring you can expect to see swallows, Tree and Barn Swallows being the most abundant, but Bank, Rough-winged and Cliff Swallows have also been seen here.

There is also a Wildlife Management area near the pond and it is a good place to look for sparrows and blackbirds. During migration you can find Yellow Warbler, Towhee, Canada Goose, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Pine Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Woodcock, and Gnatcatcher to name a few.

No matter which of the Ponds you are visiting there is sure to be an abundance of wildlife, you just have to take the time to look. The named birds are the ones which are less frequently seen, but it's always a treat to see the more common ones - the Belted Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron, the dabbling Mallard ducks and the usual variety of birds - Baltimore Orioles, Cardinals, Catbirds, Rose breasted Grosbeaks, House Wrens, Carolina Wrens, flycatchers, Phoebes, Downy, Hairy and Red Bellied Woodpeckers, etc. Pileated woodpeckers are occasionally seen and heard with their loud machine gun hammering! And, of course, owls are heard hooting at night.

Nancy Cormier is one of the owners of The Bird Store and More in Sturbridge

Home | About Us | Join Us | Committees | Donate Now to the QQLA | Resources | QQLA Sponsors | Historic Photos | Spencer Waste Water Treatment Plant | Contact Us

All Contents © Quaboag Quacumquasit Lake Association