The twelve people who attended this month’s wildlife walks at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland lucked out in catching a window of the best weather of an otherwise dreary weekend. Most of the action at the park happened down on the boardwalk. The biggest highlight of the day were Virgina Rails which were essentially underfoot below us in the marsh. From the end of the boardwalk we spotted downriver two female Hooded Mergansers and a family of Wood Ducks, a mom and five ducklings. Also nearby them, mostly hidden in the brush on the edge of the river, we saw a White-tailed Deer doe nursing a fawn. A River Otter was also briefly seen by many on a log not far away. We also had the interesting June sighting of a skein of 97 Canada Geese winging their way north. Geese seen doing this at this time of year are unattached bird, failed nesters, and egg and creche dumpers who are flying up to Hudson Bay latitudes to find a safe place to molt their wing feathers.

Over at the Hurd Grassland we puzzled over a sound coming from sedges in the lower field before realizing it was a calling Wilson’s Snipe. An Eastern Meadowlark sang from the tops of trees near the grasses posing long enough for us to get great looks at it through a spotting scope. In the shrubby section, calling and singing Alder Flycatcher, Chestnut-sided Warbler and Indigo Bunting were all good indicators that this managed habitat is coming along nicely. Though the walk was rain free, it was a bit on the cool side for June which led to opportunities to get up-close looks at butterflies and dragonflies acting sluggishly due to the temperature. Our walk ended at Gale Hurd’s where we enjoyed snacks while looking at scads of Goldfinches and a lone Hummingbird. We also saw again the male Northern Cardinal with a deformed beak that we first spotted on a walk in November 2012 and were happy to see it was still doing well.

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, Jul. 9 at 7:00 AM. Meet at the parking area of Otter View Park at the intersection of Weybridge St. and Pulp Mill Bridge Road.