This month’s wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland on a breezy morning with a persistent front of clouds holding off the sun overhead, which made it feel like we were experiencing the first real cold snap of fall. At the park we had a little lesson in identifying Ravens which were molting the central tail feathers to make them look like crows. Along the boardwalk we spotted a Broad-winged Hawk taking off from what was likely its night roost in the park. Purple finches were seen vising the seed-laden ash trees around the marsh edge. We had a little fall warbler action spotting a juvenile Common Yellowthroat and non-breeding plumage Blackpoll Warbler. Another fun sighting was a Rose-breasted Grosbeak that burst across the boardwalk in front of us from a patch of Orange Jewelweed.

Over at the Hurd Grassland we watched a flock of thirty-one Turkey Vultures rising up on a thermal. A loud flock of Blue Jays alerted us to the fact that there might be a raptor near by, and we were proved right minutes later when a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk took to the air and circled above us. At the far north end of the trails we spotted a Monarch Butterfly perched in a red cedar, and right after it took off, we saw a similarly patterned Viceroy butterfly for comparison. Near the end of our walk we heard an Eastern Towhee calling from a hedge, and then got a brief look at it as it flew to more substantial cover. As we frequently do, we ended our outing in Gale Hurd’s kitchen talking about what we had seen, and viewing her feeders while enjoying snacks.

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, Oct. 6 at 8:00 AM. Meet at the parking area of Otter View Park at the intersection of Weybridge St. and Pulp Mill Bridge Road.