We were blessed with cool, sunny and dry weather for this month’s wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland during which the theme of the day was young birds learning to make their way in the world. Along the boardwalk at Otter View Park we saw both Eastern Phoebe and Eastern Kingbirds tending their fledglings, and all around, Red-winged Blackbird families were seen foraging for food together. The best sighting in the park perhaps was a juvenile Red-bellied Woodpecker that was independently feeding itself berries from a Mulberry Tree. It was joined in the same tree by Gray Catbirds and American Robins, one of which was a spot breasted youngster. We continued our streak of either hearing or seeing Virgina Rail on our walks this year, the species being observed there every month since April. High water in the marsh, however seems to keep them in areas away from the boardwalk, so this month’s observation falls in the “heard” category.

The sighting of young wildlife continued at the the Hurd property right from our arrival, this time of the mammalian variety with two baby Cottontail Rabbits feeding on a lawn and a presumed parent not far away.  Three Eastern Meadowlarks were seen in the fields, their presence on the property all breeding season is a sure sign that they have nested here. Four Bobolinks were also sighted, two of them males, the other two were either female or juvenile, but it is hard to tell them apart so we couldn’t be sure. An American Kestrel was seen flying above the fields and a Killdeer was seen and heard at the farm across the road. At the northern end of the property in the area that is being allowed to turn to shrub we got a brief glimpse of a Brown Thrasher in a hedge. And we ended our outing enjoying the Hummingbirds and Goldfinches that were visiting Gale Hurd’s feeders.

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

Other wildlife sightings have been submitted to the Vermont Atlas of Life.

Our Next walk will take place Thursday, Aug 8 at 7:00 AM. Meet at the parking area of Otter View Park at the intersection of Weybridge St. and Pulp Mill Bridge Road.

– Ron Payne