This month’s wildlife walks at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland was a bit of a special one as we were joined by Audubon chapter leaders from around the state as a prelude to a chapter assembly meeting later in the day. We got an exciting start when a Sharp-shinned hawk flew by the parking lot of the park escorted by a pair of noisy Blue Jays. Also nearby, a Red-breasted Nuthatch was spotted on the feeder of one of park’s surrounding homes. Down at the end of the boardwalk we found Canadian Geese both up and downriver of us, and later overhead. On our way back up the boardwalk we found a pile fo feathers, easily identifiable as being from a Robin, which had clearly been plucked by a raptor of some sort. We also checked one of the bird houses at the park and found visible layers of use in it. Mosses placed there by chickadees, feathers laid down by Tree Swallows, a smashed egg and grasses likely caused by House Sparrows, and finally, a pile of milkweed down piled on top for insulation by a rodent.

At the Hurd Grassland House Sparrows, Starlings and Pigeons around the nearby buildings and farm dominated the bird sightings in the early part of our walk. Things picked up a bit in the lower field when while watching a Red-tailed Hawk soaring, we noticed at a great distance away in the backgroud, the unimstakable shape and pattern of an adult Bald Eagle. Along one of the hedgerows we spished up a flock of White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. A Carolina Wren singing near that group was a bit of an unusual find for the grassland. Back at Gale Hurd’s house we enjoyed watching Goldfinches and House Finches while eating snacks in her company.

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, Dec. 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