This month’s walks at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland marked our sixth complete year of holding these events. In that time we have had 547 participants, and tallied 106 bird species at Otter View Park and 107 species at the Hurd Grassland. We thank everyone who has come out to help us monitor these properties and hope to see many more in the future.

This morning we, like everyone else in the area, were surprised by a April snowstorm that left a little over an inch of snow on the ground which gave us the feeling that we were holding the March walk rather than the April one. A lingering Common Redpoll seen from the parking lot of Otter View Park added to that feeling. A pair of Eastern Bluebirds feeding on some sumac are starting to feel very common now that we have seen bluebirds in three straight walks here. One upside of the damp snow was good tracking. For example, the trail of a Fox which had jumped up and off the boardwalk. Down at the river, with the ice now gone, we were blessed with a great showing of water birds including a Great-blue Heron, ten Hooded Mergansers, a beautiful drake Wood Duck and three Pied-billed Grebes.

Over at the Hurd Grassland, there was again great tracking, the best being the signs of a Coyote which had followed the trail, pausing to jump at at rodent tunnel and leave markings in the snow. The resident very vocal Red-tailed Hawk was present and in full voice as usual, screaming at harassing Crows. A large passing flock of blackbirds including Red-winged Blackbirds, Grackles and Brown-headed Cowbirds showed us that migration was still ongoing. Another good sign of spring’s progress was the brief song of a White-throated Sparrow.  After enjoying warm cider with Gale Hurd we were pleased to get one last good sighting, a passing Sharp-shinned Hawk that set off the alarms of all the Red-winged Blackbirds 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 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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