This month’s wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland took place on a bitterly cold morning featuring single digit temperatures and sub zero wind chills. It was so cold in fact, that the leader was surprised to amass a group of five participants. Still, birds were fairly active, if in small numbers. Cardinals were belting out their territorial songs and a group of Crows were noisily rambling around the park. Weasel tracks were spotted snaking back and forth under the boardwalk. Down on the creek we spotted a pair of Hooded Mergansers. On our way back, we heard a Pileated Woodpecker making reluctant sounding calls from somewhere out of sight.

Over at the Hurd Grassland we took a different route than normal, foregoing the big open field for a path close to the hedgerows to give us a little wind shelter. Along the path we heard a large flock of Red-winged Blackbirds making a cacophony from deep within trees and bushes instead of out in the open on exposed perches. A flushed Red-tailed Hawk and a heard Red-bellied Woodpecker were highlights from our walk around the fields. But the cold drove us to finish our route as quickly as possible so we could visit with Gale Hurd who had hot cider waiting for us. From her kitchen we enjoyed a wide assortment of birds that visited her feeders including Blue Jays, Downy Woodpeckers, American Tree Sparrows and others. The absolute best bird of the day came right as we were about to leave when a Northern Flicker popped up on a post to visit Gale’s suet feeder. This bird have everyone with a camera scrambling to get pictures of it, and as you can see above, we did a pretty good job.

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. 8 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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