Winter Walk 2020

Land Trust members enjoyed a chilly yet lovely winter walk on Sunday, February 9th around the Hosmer/Mattison Loop. Participants were entertained by Laney Widener, CLCT’s Executive Director and Peter Alden, Naturalist, who lead walks focused on birding, botany, and reading the forested landscape.

CLCT’s Hosmer Land – located west of ORNAC near Mattison Field – is interesting for its diversity of glaciated landforms, including eskers, kettle holes, and glacial erratic rocks. When walking we noticed how the trail rises steeply along a narrow esker. The esker was created by a river in or below the glacier where the stones and gravel fell to the stream’s bottom and deposited this ridge formation. So, believe it or not, the top of the eskers were once the bottom of a glacial stream! Glaciation also created the kettle holes like Brown’s Pond, as well as the steep and varied topography of the land.

 
 

Along the Sudbury River flood plain, we observed the fertile fronds of sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis, photo below), and pin oaks (Quercus palustris, photo left) with their characteristic downward pointing lower branches. We observed the trees, and the age of the forest (estimated to be around 80-100 years old) and what tree seedlings were recruiting in the understory. A fair amount of the overstory is red oak, classic for a New England landscape, but we noticed that the understory contained a lot of white pine saplings, providing a glimpse into the future forest of the area. 

This time of the year it is still a little too early to observe bird migrations, but local bird residents observed on the walk included a Great Blue Heron, Cedar Waxwings, Black-capped Chickadees, and nest hole evidence of a Pileated Woodpecker. Mattison Field had been known to be Bobolinks habitat, but because they are migratory we would not have seen them for the winter walk. 

 
Lovely spot and nice to meet fellow conservation minded folks. One attendee reflected upon the walk that day.
 
 

The Hosmer/Mattison Loop came together thanks to the efforts of CLCT, the Town, the Commonwealth, the Trust for Public Land, and hundreds of generous donors. The 43-acre property is now owned by the Town as protected agricultural land. A portion of the field is cultivated farmland and the rest is actively hayed. The Hosmer Land, located west of Old Road to Nine Acre Corner was owned by Gladys Hosmer, who donated 11 acres of woodland in 1961 to CLCT and is named in honor of her.