The observers were cheery despite the cold.

A hardy group of eight met at OVP at 8 a.m. on Saturday, January 14 for the monthly OCAS/MALT walk.  A temperature of about 20° F and a gusty north wind ensured that we were all bundled up and that we walked more quickly than usual.  The 2” of snow on the ground meant a potential for animal tracks, but that was limited by the fact that it had only stopped snowing 12 hours earlier and the night had been windy and bitter.

We walked down to the boardwalk and out to the river, looking up for birds and down for tracks.  Crows, robins, and a chickadee started off our list. We could see from their tracks that a couple of domestic dogs had preceded us in the field although not to the boardwalk.  We then went back up to the field and around its north end, noting en route the tracks of an eastern cottontail and the tunnel-like evidence of a shrew or vole, and another dog, this one with its human.  By the time we returned to the cars, the bird list had grown to 11 and the temperature had dropped to 18.

At the Hurd Grassland, we got quite a few species at the bird feeders and then set off east down the hill to the bird house and then north into the wind.  We hadn’t lost any people, nor their fingers, toes or noses, so all was well.  Picked up a couple of hawks and the tunnel/track of a vole along with the track of a (probably) short-tailed weasel who made use of it for food.  We found no tracks out in the open field but plenty of wind.  We lopped off part of the usual route in favor of warming up with cocoa and tea at Gale’s. Watching the birds outside in the cold while we were warm inside was an added bonus. By the time we left, our species count there was 17 and the temperature was 11.

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 Thursday February 9 at 8:00 AM. Meet at the parking area of Otter View Park at the intersection of Weybridge St. and Pulp Mill Bridge Road.

– Barry King