Purple Finches against fall colors

Canada Geese were the main theme for the first half of our monthly wildlife walk at Otter View Park. The many skeins seen crossing overhead at various altitudes kept us busy counting, ending up with a final tally of 545. Sparrows were very active in the shrubs, mostly White-throated Sparrows scratching for food at leaf litter on the ground. Two Pied-billed Grebes we seen and viewed through a spotting scope on the Otter Creek. The best sighting of the day was a Thrush found in a patch of Dogwood bushes. It had very obvious “spectacles” around its eyes, weak brown spots on its chest, all of which adds up to it being a Swainson’s Thrush, a species only seen in migration this low in the Champlain Valley. This is the first time this species has been recorded at Otter View Park raising the total number or species found there to a remarkable 148.

At the Hurd Grassland a good-sized flock of migrant Chipping Sparrows were found at the head of the trail along with both male and female Eastern Bluebirds. Yellow-rumped Warblers were spotted in various locations around the property, but seemed to be very interested in the Goldenrod in the fields. We watched Red-tailed Hawk that seemed to be unimpressed by the group of Crows that was mobbing it. Two Eastern Meadowlarks were in the lower field, not a surprise as this species had been found on all but one of our walks since April this year, a positive testament to intended management of the property. Not to be outdone by OVP, a new species was found at the Hurd Grassland as well, a Palm Warbler first seen perched alongside some Bluebirds on a power line.  The species tally for this location is now at 110, also impressive given the less intensive birding that happens there. Our walk ended taking in a view of Gale Hurd’s bird feeders populated by White-crowned and White-throated Sparrows, Jucos and Purple Finches among others.

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

Our Next walk will take place Saturday, November 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

New England Aster