We couldn’t have asked for any better weather for our July wildlife walk held this past Saturday. Sunny yet cool conditions made for pleasant walking and the wildlife was very accommodating as well. Right in the parking lot as we started out we were pleased to get an eye-level look at a Red-eyed Vireo visiting one of the berry bushes there. A Least Flycatcher which has been making its home in the Park this summer was head “chebeking” the entire time we were there. At the end of the board walk we had great looks at a very cooperative Gray Catbird and Downy Woodpecker. And down the creek we enjoyed two families of Wood Ducks with a combined 30+ young. The best bird sighting of the day was a Northern Waterthrush, a species not uncommon during migration, but never reported from the park before in mid-summer. And on our way back to the parking lot, we were amused to see a Garter Snake sunning itself on the roof of an unoccupied birdhouse.

After a quick carpool, we began our walk at the Hurd Grassland where the best sighting came very early in the form of a juvenile male American Kestral perched in a tree. Along the trail we heard Killdeer calling and kept running into baby Eastern Cottontail rabbits. Unfortunately we didn’t find any grassland birds during our walk. The Meadowlarks that were here are likely done with their nests and have moved on. As for Bobolinks and Savannah Sparrows, the presumption is that they did not nest here this year. In the shrubby section we did hear an Eastern Towhee singing, as we have for most of our visits since spring. This gives us hope that this area is becoming a viable habitat for shrubland birds. And finally, one of the most pleasing sights of the day was a female Monarch Butterfly going from milkweed to milkweed apparently laying eggs.

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

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