Copyright 2013. Richmond Land Trust. All Rights Reserved.
Mass Audobon's Tracy Brook Sanctuary
Micah Mudge and Ichabod Wood settled in the valley known then as Mount Ephraim five years before the area was incorporated. They never met during their first winter, although they were only three miles apart. On June 21, 1765, after more people arrived, the territory that also included most of what is now Lenox was recorded as Richmont. Fast forward to June 21, 2015, when we celebrated Founders Day at Camp Russell on Richmond Pond. The town's 250th Anniversary Committee hosted the celebration and is coordinating yearlong events sponsored by various community organizations. The Founders Day celebration kicked off with the annual Run-to-the-Beach race in the morning, followed by an afternoon and evening full of activities at Camp Russell, including a catered buffet dinner and a spectacular fireworks display over Richmond Pond.
Beavers build a dam and a lodge and settle into their new place. Sometimes people would like to wish awaythe beavers, but the great blue heron has, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, benefited from the recovery of beaver populations. The industrious mammal has created a patchwork of the very swamps that herons like.
Proof of the friendship is the beaver pond beside Swamp Road near the Pittsfield/Richmond line. The beaver lodge is huge, water surrounds a stand of dead trees, and the trees are topped with the stick nests built by a colony of great blue herons. Naturalist David Sibley describes the ideal heron nesting place as tall trees surrounded by water – and that’s what the herons enjoy at what is now Mass Audubon’s Tracy Brook Sanctuary. As of early April, at least 19 were in residence.
Richmond Land Trust Benches
To offer a seat to rest from a hike or enjoy a vista, the Richmond Land Trust has several benches in place, including one partway up the main trail at Hollow Fields on Perry’s Peak Road. The new bench is the second at Hollow Fields, a preserve owned by Berkshire Natural Resources with a conservation restriction held by the Richmond Land Trust.
The first bench, placed in honor of Ron and Judith Shaw who donated part of the Hollow Fields land, is near the red barn where the Land Trust has held pie socials in the past. The newer one gives hikers a chance to sit and enjoy a superb view of Lenox Mountain to the east. It was purchased in memory of Stephen and Lenore Congdon, using funds given to the Land Trust by their children, Charles and Eleanor.
The Congdons lived on Swamp Road for many years in a house next door to Bartlett’s Orchards. That’s where the versatile Berkshire Community College chemistry professor maintained a 3,000 square-foot garden, raised bees, made his own maple syrup, baked bread, and split many cords of wood to heat the house.
A bench at the corner of Sleepy Hollow and East roads offers a lovely vista of one of the Boynton family fields and the Taconic Range. Many acres of the Boynton farm land have been protected from development with conservation restrictions.
The fourth, and oldest, bench faces west across what is now Sugar Hill Farm, once owned by the Malnati family and now owned by Michael Lynch and his wife, Susan Baker. It was placed at the intersection of East and Reservoir roads in memory of Nancy Hull, a Richmond artist who often painted the small “ice house” that is part of the view. The Reservoir Road bench has proved a popular spot to watch the sunset behind Perry’s Peak.
A small turnout provides space for a couple of cars, and people with binoculars are often stopped there to watch America’s largest heron standing tall in a nest. While the herons are skilled fishermen, Cornell’s summary says they also hunt in fields for frogs and small mammals. Their diet may include reptiles, insects and other birds.
They look enormous and cast quite a shadow when they fly overhead, but they weigh only five or six pounds. They lay two to six eggs, which hatch in 26 to 29 days, and roadside watchers will then notice extra heads popping up in the nests. Cornell ornithologists say the pairs are monogamous for a season and choose new mates each year.
Richmond Land Trust
Richmond's 250th Anniversary
RICHMOND LAND TRUST
Richmond, Massachusetts 01254