It was a brisk, breezy morning for this month’s wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland. The first thing we noticed  when we set out were the large numbers of Robins moving around in flocks going all directions. We tallied 190 in all at the Park. When we reached the boardwalk, we spotted a dark hawk soaring above. Initially we identified it as a dark morph Broad-winged Hawk, but further discussion about the bird on the VTBIRD listserv casts that ID in doubt. However, at least this observer is not convinced the admittedly more likely suggestion of Rough-legged Hawk entirely fits with what was seen in the field and pictures either. Another big species count we had for the morning was 347 Canadian Geese, most of which were in one flock of 184 on the Otter Creek from the end of the boardwalk.

At the Hurd Grassland, we watched Cardinals travel a great distance across the fields in a direct line to some of Gale Hurd’s bird feeders. Hard “spishing” at an overgrown bit of field drummed up a large flock of House Sparrows with a couple of White-throated Sparrows, House Finches and Juncos mixed in. In another spot, we approached some bushes from which a dozen or so hidden Mourning Doves exited like clowns from a tiny car. And later while enjoying hot cider in Gale’s kitchen, we spotted a couple of American Tree Sparrows.

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

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