Already behind on this, so I’ll do a simple one.
Hardy Pond is a pond in Waltham that often has a nice variety on it. It’s a very easy place to scan and can be reasonably covered in just a couple minutes.
Access is off Lake St, either by going to the end of Shore Road or by the street on the other side of the baseball fields (Princeton or Hiawatha) and then pulling in to the boat launch. The Waltham Land Trust owns Smith Point, which is somewhere nearby, although I’m not entirely sure where.
About all you can do is stand and scan the water. A scope is almost a necessity as many of the ducks will be on the far shore. Herons are often found around any of the edges and there are often cormorants in season on the rocks towards the middle. Ducks are mostly dabblers, mergansers, and ring-necks with some ruddies and occasional others mixed in. Watch for raptors as well. Osprey are regular migrants and I’ve seen Merlin several times (including one on the ice one winter).
If you go to the end of Shore Road, there’s a little weedy spot worth checking. I had a Field Sparrow there one fall and have had other migrants that were only slightly less interesting. If you’re at the boat ramp, there’s a small wooded area and some other trees worth checking.
There’s often a few dragonflies around, although I’ve yet to find any unusual. Butterflies aren’t exciting along the edge.
In recent years, the pond has been dredged and cleaned. Although good in the long term, I’ve had far fewer ducks since that completed. The pond was also mentioned in a Bird Observer article (A Middlesex County Duck Hunt by Matt Pelikan in the October 1997 issue).