This month’s wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland on a lovely early summer day and featured many fun early summer sightings. At the top of the Otter View Park boardwalk, a first-year American Redstart might have confused viewers by looking like a female and singing like a male. Green Herons were seen moving about the park, and we suspect they are again nesting in a hidden location. Baltimore Orioles were visiting a nest not far from the boardwalk carrying in food. Alarm calls of Red-winged Blackbirds alerted us to the presence of a passing male Northern Harrier. Northern Rough-winged Swallows flew up an down the river, and perched on the branches of a fallen tree. And we also had the rare experience of seeing a Red-eyed Vireo singing its head off from an exposed perch.

At the Hurd Grassland we had a very exciting beginning of our walk when we spotted a Sharp-shinned Hawk flying while carrying the remains of a small bird. As it passed over the marsh near Sheep Farm Rd, it was mobbed by Red-winged Blackbirds and dropped it’s meal. Not wanting to loose it, the hawk dove straight down after it, and during this dive, an American Kestrel also made an aggressive pass at the hawk. But its persistence paid off as it managed to recapture its meal feet above the ground before flying off out of sight.

Down in the shrubby section of the field, we enjoyed a real management success story when we heard a bird singing “bee-buzz” from a hidden perch. We played some songs and did some spishing to get the bird to come out into view and were rewarded with the sight of a Blue-Winged Warbler. This bird continued to sing as it disappeared from sight, and we spotted another Blue-wing Warbler that wasn’t singing, suggesting the possibility of a nesting pair! Also making use of the the shrubby habitat in that section was a singing Field Sparrow, an Alder Flycatcher and a Chestnut-sided Warbler was heard not far away as well.

Back up around Gale Hurd’s house we saw a male Eastern Bluebird in the area of the nest boxes, and checking inside one of those boxes, we found four light blue Bluebird eggs. All in all a very excellent morning outing.

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, July 8 at 7:00 AM. Meet at the parking area of Otter View Park at the intersection of Weybridge St. and Pulp Mill Bridge Road.

– Ron Payne