This month’s Wildlife Walk found Stick Season in full swing, with many bird species long departed and other flora and fauna hunkered down following the arrival of colder temperatures earlier in the week. Brilliant blue skies and bare trees made for good viewing, however, and more than one interesting observation was made possible by the late autumn conditions. At Otter View Park the highlight was a flyover from an adult Bald Eagle, a sight that has become a regular (if unusual) occurrence at the Park, particularly in the fall. A large number of Canada Geese congregated on Otter Creek north of the boardwalk and were joined by a pair of Mallards and a pair of Common Mergansers. Also downstream, a lingering and chilly looking Great Blue Heron caught our attention despite remaining motionless on the riverbank.

The most interesting observation at Hurd Grassland was also a raptor. An adult Cooper’s Hawk provided good (if distant) views in the trees surrounding the farm to the west of the grassland, which certainly would have remained hidden if the leaves were still on the trees. As we circled the developing shrubland we watched numerous small skeins of Canada Geese settling down to Otter Creek over the ridge to the east. In the absence of much wildlife activity, the bare branches provided a nice opportunity to practice our identification skills by examining the bud ends of the trees leading up to Gale Hurd’s place. Gale’s hot cider was the perfect cap to a pleasant November morning!

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 are submitted to the Vermont Atlas of Life.

Our Next walk will take place Thursday, December 11 at 8:00 AM. Meet at the parking area of Otter View Park at the intersection of Weybridge St. and Pulp Mill Bridge Road.

– Josh Phillips