A Merlin overlooking feeders from an antenna at the Hurd Grassland

Five observers had several very intersting finds during this morning’s monthly wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland. The most abundant bird species of the day were American Robins which were found in the shubs, trees and in large passing flocks. We tallied 143 of them between our two locations. From the boardwalk at the park a quick flit in the cattails led to a long wait, but our persistence payed off with a brief glimpse of a Carolina Wren. As we walked along the trail above the marsh we had the most surprising observation of the day when we heard a Gray Catbird calling persistently. One was found here during the count week of the Middlebury Christmas Bird Count making us wonder whether it might be the same bird. When we got back to the parking lot we spotted a Merlin racing behind the houses on Weybridge St.

After carpooling over to the Hurd property we were very pleased to find what must have been the very same Merlin perched atop an antenna at Gale Hurd’s house allowing us a much longer look at it. In the field we watched a Red-tailed Hawk being harassed by a Crow that gave up the chase after a short while, but when the Hawk crossed Rt. 23 and perched in a tree above a beaver pond it was promptly mobbed by five more Crows. At the North end of the field we heard a Bluebird singing but were unable too see it. A good view of one had to wait for the end of our walk when Gale graciously invited us in for refreshments and we were able to see a male Bluebird perched atop a bush, beautifully lit by the sun, through her windows.

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

Our Next walk will take place Saturday, March 10 at 8:00 AM. Meet at the parking area of Otter View Park at the intersection of Weybridge St. and Pulp Mill Bridge Road.

-Ron Payne

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