Alcott Smith pointing out Ermine tracks – Photo by Ron Payne 2/13/10

On Saturday, February 13, OCAS and MALT held their regular monthly Marsh, Meadow and Grassland Wildlife Walk at Otter View Park and the nearby Hurd Grassland. The purpose of these walks is to catalog the birds and other wildlife living in the two properties while educating the public on what is living in the area. It was a fairly slow day for the birds with the highlights being 3 Cedar Waxwings at Otter View Park, and a Northern Flicker at the Hurd Grassland which was only seen as we were driving away from the property. Though the bird count may have been low, there were good signs of the oncoming spring with drumming Downy Woodpecker and House Finches, Cardinals and Chickadees singing their spring songs.

Things were much more interesting on mammal side of things due to the presence of tracking expert Alcott Smith. Under his leadership, we were able to identify the tracks of Red Fox, Gray Fox, Coyote, Short-tailed Weasel (Ermine), Eastern Cottontail, Grey Squirrel, Red Squirrel, and White-footed Mouse and more between the two properties.  Alcott also kept us well entertained with his encyclopedic knowledge of animal biology and behavior all of which made for a very enjoyable morning.

Please join us for our next Marsh, Meadow and Grassland Wildlife Walk. Meet at the Otter View Park parking lot Thurday, March 11 at 8:00 AM.

– Ron Payne