This month’s wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland started off amid cold, wind and snow flurries, giving us the first real bite of winter for the year. And the birds seemed to be feeling the weather too as they were hard to come by as we walked the park. As frequently happens though, one of our first observations was a singing Carolina Wren, who seem to have taken up the job of unofficial greeters at Otter View Park. Down at the end of the boardwalk  we had another good sign of the season, a couple of American Tree Sparrows, a first of the season for all of our group. On the river we saw a pair of Canada Goose who were soon joined by a few dozen more flying down to join them.

Over at the Hurd Grassland things started off nearly as slow, but bird activity picked up as we got into the shrubby areas and hedgerows and the sun started to peek out. We spotted a Purple Finch eating juniper berries among a group of Robins. We also took a moment to retrieve our trail camera, which when the data was later viewed, showed a young White-tailed Deer buck had walked in front of it the morning of our walk, a clever place for it to be on the first day of rifle season.

Later in our walk in some hedges, we “spished” out a flock of Dark-eyed Juncos and White-throated Sparrows. And spotted flocks of House Finches, Robins and Cedar Waxwings flying above us. And finally, while talking with Gale Hurd about our morning over some hot apple cider, we saw another interesting White-throated Sparrow, which looked like a normal example of the “white-striped” except for a black spot in the center of its chest.

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. 9 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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