Thirteen people showed up for this months wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland and were treated to some classic mid-summer sightings. Down on the boardwalk we watched a Bullfrog expanding its throat to make its booming call, one of many Bullfrogs calling from the marsh. A family of Northern Rough-winged Swallows had their fledglings perched on a downed tree across the river and were bringing them food. Not far down stream from us we watched a Green Heron hunting from a riverbank logjam. And much further down we saw a Belted Kingfisher perched on an branch overhanging the water, then later saw it and another have a territorial aerial duel of “rattling” calls. A cooperative male Baltimore Oriole hung out on the same branch for a long enough time for several people to get a  good view of it through a scope, too.

Over at the Hurd Grassland, we spotted three Brown Thrashers together at the top of a tree, a behavior that suggests a parent with fledglings. Also recently fledged in the field was a family of Eastern Meadowlarks with one parent escorting at least two juveniles. Another great sight was an adult Monarch butterfly we flushed from the grass, and not far away in a patch of milkweed, a 5th instar Monarch caterpillar was seen munching away. At the end of our walk while enjoying snacks with Gale Hurd, we saw a Ruby-throated Hummingbird visiting her feeders, and watched an Eastern Bluebird and House Wren compete for possession of a birdhouse.

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, Aug. 12 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