Four years ago I saw a drone video posted on our local Bellingham, MA Conservation Commisison Facebook page offering a glimpse of a great blue heron rookery near power and gas lines north of Rt. 126, somewhere near Stall Brook elementary school in Bellingham. I have since wondered if it was possible to get a view of the herons without climbing in a plane to do so.
We took several walks in the woods behind Stall Brook School in the last few weeks, explored the unmarked trails of this conservation land. The recent snow storm left some trails muddy and quite slippery. I navigated a particularly tricky puddle fine going one direction, but despite warnings to go around the puddle on our return, I plowed forward, and got up close and personal with this same mud puddle.
After looking more closely at maps, we got a better idea of where we might look to discover the rookery.
This area has vernal pools, relatively wide trails, and swampy areas that drain into the Stall Brook, a feeder stream that flows into the Charles River.
We also found the large flooded area with lots of dead, standing trees, perfect for Great Blue Herons to build their nests in.
Access required crossing the power lines west of the school, and we followed trails that have been kept open by local ATV riders. While we walked we saw no other visitors, but did spot, from a distance, three poeple on ATVs on the trails.
Enjoy this 4 minute video overview of the rookery, thanks to the folks of the Bellingham, MA Conservation Commission.
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are.
She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress.