Eastern Bluebirds

On Saturday, December 11, seven people came together at Otter View Park on an overcast, cold and breezy morning for this month’s wildlife walk. Our leader this time was Josh Phillips who on arival told us he had seen a Bald Eagle in the area of Exchange St. on his way to the park. Our first interesting sighting were two sets of tracks crossing  each other in the snow, one older which were clearly Raccoon tracks and another set that the people on hand were not able to identify. Birds were hard to come by until we reached the end of the boardwalk where we found a group of Mallards downriver and saw a male Common Merganser fly past going up river. Back up on the trail around the field we found a classic winter flock of Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker and Northern Cardinal all interspersed among a group of Mourning Doves in a hedge. And on our way back to the parking lot we spied across the road from the park the unusual sight of a Forsythia bush blooming in December.

After carpooling to the Hurd property, we found a large flock of Starlings with some Blue Jays eating  grapes from vine up high in the trees. Below them we found some Pine Siskins eating ash seeds alongside Goldfinches and House Finches. The highlight of the day were some beautiful Eastern Bluebirds which were making their way back and forth between Juniper and berry bushes with flocks of finches. At the north end of the lower field we found a Red-bellied Woodpecker probing a pine tree, the tracks from what appears to be a huge Turkey flock, and a Common Raven passing overhead that gave us a quick aerobatic display. At the end of the walk we were graciously invited in by the property owner, Gale Hurd for warm cider and to view her bird feeders which were covered in finches.

All our bird sightings have been input to eBird and full checklists can be viewed at the following links:
Otter View Park
Hurd Grassland

Our Next walk will take place Saturday January 14 at 8:00 AM. Meet at the parking area of Otter View Park at the intersection of Weybridge St. and Pulp Mill Bridge Road. This winter tracking themed walk will be led by Barry King.

– Ron Payne

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