The weather was, as we like to say, refreshingly brisk, and the walk was marked more by rosy-cheeked birdwatchers than birds. At the beginning of the OVP portion we watched a couple of voles scampering around through the snow, then looked up to see a flock of goldfinches overhead. While following these to where they landed in the trees, we noted that one of them had a bright red cap – redpoll! It turned out that there were two flocks crossing paths – one of goldfinches and another of common redpolls. The boardwalk was fairly quiet, but we did watch a small flock of mourning doves on the ice near the shore of the river. About half of these flew up and landed on the small floating ice chunks in the open center of the waterway. They were a little too far away to make out what they were doing out there, but it gave us a chance to wonder a bit about bird behaviors.

At Hurd Grassland birding was slow as well, but we did end up seeing several species. The highlights were the resident Red-Tailed Hawk putting on an aerial show (accompanied by his unmistakable call), and a white-throated sparrow on Gale’s porch. Along the way we had interesting discussions of the changes in bird populations over the last few decades, and the rarities that have been observed locally over the last couple of years. Despite the cold we all enjoyed the 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, February 12 at 8:00 AM. Meet at the parking area of Otter View Park at the intersection of Weybridge St. and Pulp Mill Bridge Road.

– Jim Phillips