Seven participants came out on a beautiful sunny morning for this month’s wildlife walks at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland. Some of the biggest activity at the park was centered on a fruiting Mulberry tree which was attracting various species including Starlings, Catbirds, Robins and even Crows to its ripe berries. In the marsh we heard some chicken-like chatter from a Virgina Rail hidden in the cattails. Down at the end of the boardwalk we spied a female Wood Duck down river, and two Green Herons were also seen flying about. From a hole in a tree we spotted a nearly ready to fledge Black-capped Chickadee chick begging and being fed by a parent. A deceased Northern Short-tailed Shew was found on the trail, the cause of it’s death was unknown, but as it wasn’t eaten, an outdoor cat would be the most likely suspect.

At the Hurd Grassland we were pleased to spot two Brown Thrashers hanging out together in a tree, possibly a parent with a juvenile. Large numbers of Red-winged Blackbirds were escorting their young to feed in the fields. A Northern Harrier was seen cruising over the northern portion of the lower field, and at the very north end, we saw an Indigo Bunting and heard a singing Chestnut-sided Warbler. We also enjoyed watching a female American Kestrel hovering overhead looking for something to catch. Wildflowers were blooming everywhere with large numbers of butterflies in and around them, some of the species seen being Eyed Brown, Common Wood Nymph, and various skippers. Near the end of our walk we stopped at Gale Hurd’s “Birdhouse” and had a snack of Clementine brought along by walk attendee, Peg Goldman.

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, Aug. 8 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