On the second Saturday in February, six hearty souls braved single digit temperatures and an even more frigid wind chill for our monthly wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland. The cold made one major change at the park where the Otter Creek, which had thawed just a week before due to unseasonably warm weather, had refrozen. Birds were mostly hunkered down out of sight, but an exception to that was a flock of 90 American Robins traveling together in a foraging flock. Along the paths we worked hard to spot American Tree Sparrows and Cardinals sheltering in the bushes from the wind.

At the Hurd Grassland the wind was even more apparent, but the snow cover was perfect for tracking. We got good pictures of very fresh tracks from a Bobcat and a Gray Fox. As usual the resident Red-tailed Hawk serenaded us through our walk with its near constant screaming. The best action of the day came around Gale Hurd’s feeders with a huge flock of Goldfinch which peppered with other gems like House Finch, Tree Sparrow, Juncos and Cardinals. A White-throated Sparrow was also spotted in some bushes and Robins and a few Cedar Waxwings were very busy devouring Gale’s winterberries. Most of this action was viewed by us while were enjoying very welcome mugs of hot cider.

All our bird sightings have been submitted to eBird and the Great Backyard Bird Count, 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, Mar. 10 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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