Undaunted by some drizzly weather a good group of observers set out Thursday morning for this month’s wildlife walks at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland.  A Yellow-shafted Flicker was a nice sighting as we made our way down the OVP path and a Green Heron was seen crossing back and forth across the marsh from the boardwalk. From there we also observed a pair of Baltimore Orioles bringing food to their nests. In fact, all sorts of birds were seen traveling about with beaks loaded with food including a pair of Tree Swallows visiting a natural nest hole in a tree adjacent tot he river. As we made our way back up the boardwalk we had the best sighing of the day when we spotted a parent Virginia Rail tending to at least three tiny black fuzzball chicks that were skittering about her feet. After that great encounter we spotted a White-tailed Deer frozen in its tracks giving us a short look at it before it slunk away and disappeared into the cattails.

We took a quick carpool over to the Hurd Grassland where we were met by Audubon Vermont’s Jim Shallow who joined us for the rest of our walk. Right after our arrival we followed the sounds of a singing Oriole in pine tree and upon spotting it, a Crow erupted from the same tree and was immediately mobbed by the Oriole who was reinforced by a Red-winged Blackbird and an Eastern Kingbird. Down in the grassland we were very pleased to find three Eastern Meadowlarks using the managed habitat for its intended purpose. A flyby from a Bobolink was also a good sign of the current health of the field. Along the shrubby section on the north of the property we heard an Eastern Towhee giving hope that this section of the property may be meeting its management goals as well. In the same area we found a feather on the trail which we were later able to identify as a primary wing feather from a Red-tailed Hawk using the USF&W Feather Atlas. We ended our walk as usual in Gale Hurd’s kitchen eating snacks and enjoying great views of a Brown Thrasher hanging out on the fence posts outside her windows.

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, July 12 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