After the delayed arrival of spring witnessed at our last wildlife walks at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland, this month’s walk felt like a return to normality. Expected species were back where they were supposed to be, like a calling Eastern Phoebe and singing Swamp Sparrow at the park. Also a nice sign of the impending breeding season was the arrival of the first female Red-winged Blackbird seen at the park this year. With the Otter Creek frozen last month there wasn’t much to see from the end of the boardwalk, but now with the ice gone, we were treated to the views of Canada Goose, Mallard, Wood Duck, a Common Goldeneye, and a first for our walks, a pair of Bufflehead feeding very close at hand. Another good sighting was an Osprey flying up the creek very slowly in a head wind giving everyone a great look at it.

At the Hurd Grassland, the aforementioned wind probably impeded finding birds a bit by making the stick to sheltered spotsout of sight. Still, we did have a great look at a beautiful male Eastern Bluebird in the fields. Perhaps a less nice sign of breeding season was a large flock of Brown-headed Cowbirds seen flying overhead. We also had our customary sightings of the local Red-tailed Hawks, and watched in the field north of the property a swirling flock of Tree Swallows. After our walk we took refreshments in Gale Hurd’s kitchen as we watched rapidly yellowing Goldfinches and other birds her feeders. After that we had one more nice sighting as we drove away, a female American Kestrel flew across the road in front of us into the grassland allowing us to tally it as well.

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 Saturday, May 10 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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