This month’s wildlife walk at the Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland featured sightings of migrants and sure signs of impending autumn. At the park in the shrubs and trees along the boardwalk we cam across a nice mixed flock of birds including Warbling Vireos, Red-eyed Vireos and among them an immature Scarlet Tanager. A House Wren, which create a constant background noise in the area during the summer was seen silently hoping around some shrubs. A few Swamp Sparrows were seen too, and one was still hanging onto its summer form by singing its trill from the marsh. The best sighting at the park were three Great Egrets along the edges of the creek that we enjoyed watching catch fish as they stalked the shore. On our way back we made note of the beautiful and abundant varieties of Asters and several Woolly Bear caterpillars along the trails, all signs of autumn.

The weather report for the day seemed to be a good one for Hawk Migration, though it hadn’t reached optimal conditions while we were at the Hurd Grassland, we were not surprised to have spotted a Broad-winged Hawk soaring overhead, though it was going the wrong way for a migrant. An Osprey was also seen over the fields but at an altitude that would me me suspect it was a local. A couple of Leopard Frogs were seen hopping in the wet grass, one of which we caught for closer examination. It not being terribly birdy otherwise we decided to cut out of the fields early and went to visit with Gale Hurd. While we were enjoying refreshments and conversation with her, that’s when things got exciting. First a Ruby-throated Hummingbird came to the feeder, the first Gale had seen in a few days. Then two Brown Thrashers were spotted at the base of the shrubs, one perching prominently on top of a bird house giving everyone a great look. A Warbler was spotted in a bush, which unfortunately I initially misidentified as a Yellow Warbler, but after the walk was over I realized had actually been a juvenile female Wilson’s Warbler. Finally as we were about to leave, a White-throated Sparrow made an appearance, another sure sign of the transition from summer to fall.

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

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