Otter Creek Audubon Society

January Monthly Wildlife Walk

Windswept Hurd Grassland



This month’s wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland was postponed a week due to a blizzard that blew through on the originally scheduled morning and all seven people who came to the delayed walk agreed we were doing it on a much better day. Fairly fresh snow made for great conditions to spot tracks, the best of these being a nearly perfect set of Gray Fox tracks. As we descended the trail to the boardwalk we got a brief look at a Northern Flicker in the trees overhead. Further along, we had our best bird sighting of the day, a Winter Wren which unfortunately was too busy hopping through the underbrush to post for pictures. On our way back out, we also found a dead frog in the running water under the boardwalk. Last week when temperatures jumped up into the 50s, quite a few amphibians were tricked into coming out of hibernation early, most of the probably meeting the same fate as this frog when the temperatures came back down again.

After a quick carpool, we began our walk at the Hurd Grassland where we were met with a fairly brisk wind. Many birds were were clearly hiding in shelter, and very few of them doing so as obviously as a pair of pigeons on the lee side of a roof. Birds like Robins and Blue Jays were mostly spotted down in the hedges only noticeable by their movement. We did spot a Red-tailed Hawk in the field to the north going from perch to perch. We also saw a large flock of American Goldfinches flushed away from cover, but we never saw what it was that flushed them. Later we were the cause of a similar burst of birds when we scared fourteen Mourning Doves out of bushes on our way back to end our walk.

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, Feb. 10 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