A mix of warm sun, frosty ground and increasing wind gave us the full flavor of March for this month’s wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland. Sounds of spring were all around us with a Carolina Wren and Song Sparrows belting their territorial songs right from the park’s parking lot, and Grackles giving their “chuck” calls as they flew overhead. Down in the marsh we had singing Red-winged Blackbirds and spotted some new cattail shoots emerging from the mud. Our best observation of the morning was hearing the rattling call of a Belted Kingfisher from the Otter Creek, though we never managed to spot it. Canada Geese were on the creek too, their breath visible from their mouths, as they complained about our presence at the end of the boardwalk. Another interesting movement came when we approached the park’s council ring which was filled with a pool of water with a frozen sheet of ice over it. Just as we got near it, the warming sun, causing the ice to expand made it reach its breaking point, and with an audible crack, the ice sank into the water in a pentagonal pattern.

 

At the Hurd Grassland we saw several large flocks of migrating Red-Winged Blackbirds and Canada Goose. A female American Kestrel was seen flying over the fields fields as well, likely returning to a nearby breeding territory. We also found a flock of White-throated Sparrows working their way through a hedgerow, occasionally singing their “sam peabody” song. Also in the distance we spotted a flock of Turkey Vultures spiraling up into the sky.

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, Apr. 9 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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