Leader Craig Zondag discusses Joe-pye Weed

Leader Craig Zondag discusses Joe-pye Weed

It’s always fun when OCAS board member Craig Zondag is the leader for our monthly wildlife walks at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland, as he was this past Thursday. His knowledge on a wide variety of natural subjects was expressed in an engaging way as we went along on our walk observing plants, animals and insects.  Some of the best sightings of the day were down at the creek Three Great-blue Herons were seen along the edges, two of them juveniles. Also nearby, the biggest surprise of the day were two juvenile Black-crowned Night-herons spotted hiding in the grass 30 meters downstream of the end of the boardwalk. A species most often found near Lake Champlain, this is the first time it has been reported at the park, and marks the 101st species seen on the OVP portion of our walks. On our way back, hopping around the trees along the boardwalk were a Baltimore Oriole, a female or juvenile American Redstart and two Red-eyed Vireos.

At the Hurd grassland, while were appreciating Gale Hurd’s beautiful flower garden, two Giant Swallowtail Butterflies and a Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth were actively making use of the blossoms. In the field we spotted two Bobolinks, what was likely a juvenile alongside the female with a bald spot on her head that we got a picture of at our last walk.  An Osprey passed overhead carrying a sizable fish going in the direction of a nest to the north in Weybridge.  Craig pointed out some of the abundant Queen Anne’s Lace in the field, explaining how the top is made up of many very small flowers, so that if you give one to a friend, you are really giving them a bouquet. We also saw how dangerous the top of a Queen Anne’s lace can be to insects when we found an Ambush Bug hiding out in the top of one. Craig also brought along his insect net and caught some Dragonflies and Butterflies for us to view up close, snagging a couple of Meadowhawks and a Common Wood Nymph.  As is traditional, our walk ended with a visit with Gale Hurd, and while telling her of our day’s finds, we enjoyed watching four Ruby-throated Hummingbirds that were making stops at her 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