Craig Zondag and a Chickadee

Craig Zondag and a Chickadee

This month’s wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland was lead by OCAS board member Craig Zondag. Our first bird sighting of the day was a passing Common Raven which gave some nice “quork” calls as it went overhead. Down on the boardwalk, Craig had literally seeded the trail for us the day before the walk, drawing in the Chickadees, one of which he nearly succeeded in getting to feed from his hand. Craig also put his tracking skills to use identifying in the snow tracks of Otter, Mink, Ermine and Deer around the park. Another neat bird sighting we had was of a Song Sparrow, one of which seems to overwinter in the marsh each year.

Shortly after we arrived at the Hurd Grassland, we were met with a flurry of spooked Redpolls and Mourning Doves. The reason for their panicked activity was a dainty little immature male Sharp-shinned Hawk which we spotted in a shrub which subsequently took off flying nearly over our heads. Further down in the field we found a Red-tailed Hawk which glided across the field and briefly alit on a large Elm Tree, a favorite spot for Red-tails on the property. In the shrubs and trees along the trail we found Juncos, American Tree Sparrows, Cardinals and both Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers. We also discovered a line of Bobcat tracks crossing the field, a regular winter find on the property. Finally, while enjoying the hospitality of Gale Hurd, we marveled at a massive Common Redpoll hoard that we estimated at 200 birds. Though we scrutinized that flock very hard, we were unable to find a Hoary Redpoll in it.

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 Thursday, February 7 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