For this month’s monthly wildlife walks at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland, we were fortunate enough to have Barry King along as a leader to give us some insights on winter tracking. Deep powdery snow made making positive IDs of tracks difficult, but at the park she was able to show us signs of probable Weasel and Mink trails. As for birds, one observer saw a flock of 32 Redpolls before everyone else arrived. Four Eastern Bluebirds were seen visiting a seep of water in the marsh, possibly drinking or bathing there. Interestingly, American Robins, which had been very hard to come by earlier in the winter were our most abundant bird for the day with forty-seven tallied at the park.

At the Hurd Grassland the deep snow made the walking a little difficult, especially in wind-sheltered areas where it had been allowed to accumulate knee deep. It also presented the same problems for tracking we had at the park, but Barry pointed out for us tracks of Eastern Cottontail Rabbit, a rodent or shrew tunnel and possible Coyote tracks. A very interesting find on the bird front was a Brown Creeper spotted in the wooded verge that runs down the middle of the grassland. Four Snow Buntings were spotted flying above headed towards other fields, and a couple of Cedar Waxwing were found embedded in a flock of Robins. And finally, from the shelter of Gale Hurd’s kitchen with cups of warm cider in our hands, we picked up two more good birds, a White-throated Sparrow visiting her feeders, and a Red-tailed Hawk soaring over the field.

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 Saturday, March 14 at 8:00 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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