This month’s wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland featured a lot of evidence of post-breeding dispersal of birds. At the park we observed American Redstart, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and the return of Baltimore Orioles after an absence. Double-crested Cormorants were on the creek as were a quartet of juvenile Common Mergansers. A lot of time was spent by our group at the end of the boardwalk puzzling over what we called a “Spolitary Sandpiper,” a bird that looked like a Solitary Sandpiper but was bobbing its tail like a Spotted Sandpiper. A look at a black band on the under-tail made this observer identify it as a Solitary, but others did not see that mark so opinions still vary. We also spent some time examining the Park’s informational kiosk which was apparently blown over by a very localized wind event on Tuesday. Doing so we spotted an interesting and well camouflaged moth sitting on its overturned roof.

At the Hurd grassland enjoyed looking at a group of five fledgling Barn Swallows lined up in a row on top of a plant hanger on the side of Gale Hurd’s house. From the field we saw a group of three Kestrels playing in the air currents and stirring up the starling flock at the farm across the road. At the north end of the field we tallied a new species for the Hurd property when we found a group of Winter Wrens, presumably a family with recently fledged chicks, scolding us from some bushes.  The biggest density of birds we saw all day came from the Black Cherry trees in the wooded verge on the west side of the field which were filled with Robins, Cedar Waxwings, Great-crested Flycatchers, Baltimore Orioles among others taking advantage of the ripe fruit. As is customary, we visited with Gale Hurd at the end of our walk and while we enjoyed snacks and watched Hummingbirds visit her feeders, she told us of a recent experience of having a Black Bear destroy some of her feeders, a cautionary tale to anyone living in the area.

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