This month’s wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland took place on a lovely mid-summer morning with nine people in attendance to search for birds and other wildlife. Along the trails at the park we found ourselves distracted by insects, particularity a Leaf-footed Bug and a Milkweed Bug, appropriately enough found on milkweed. Also along the trails we had a flyover by an Osprey and watched a Catbird bouncing between an apple tree and some cedar trees. Down on the boardwalk we worked on parsing the difference between juvenile Songs Sparrows and Swamp Sparrows, and failed to identify a silent Empidonax flycatcher. Down river from us we scoped a view of two Green Herons, one a juvenile and the other an adult, both reflected beautifully on the flat water. On our way back around the field we noted that the Goldenrods were in bloom and in one found a moth that had been caught by a pair of Jagged Ambush Bugs. And as we were leaving the park on our carpool to the Hurd Grassland we saw a Cooper’s Hawk zip into a tree across the road from the parking lot.

Over at the Hurd Grassland, one of our best early sightings was a pair of Baltimore Orioles perched up high in a bare tree. An American Redstart was also seen flying across the field from one hedge to another. The fields have been cut now as part of their normal management, so we didn’t find any grassland birds, but we did see a Monarch Butterfly flying near some of the still standing milkweeds. As we walked down the trail we heard the constant screaming of a Red-tailed Hawk, but it wasn’t until five minutes later when it flew from the backside of a tree that we saw where it had been calling from. In the shrub-land section of the property we got a good look at a Field Sparrow still making use of that habitat. As we worked our way back to our starting point, we spied numerous Goldfinches and Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Gail’s Feeder. And last we flushed and briefly saw a Brown Thrasher poking in and out of the bushes.

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, Sept. 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