Nine hearty birders came out on a cold and damp morning for this month’s wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland. Despite the dreary weather the birds were quite active right from the start with a singing Carolina Wren and Yellow-rumped Warblers observed right from the parking lot of the park. Further down the trail we saw a Downy Woodpecker working on a dead elm tree which tried to trick us into misidentifying as a Hairy Woodpecker it by not having black spots on its outer tail feathers. A lone Gray Catbird seen from the boardwalk was likely one of the last that will be seen there this fall. The Otter Creek was running high, but didn’t have any bird activity besides a lone female Wood Duck. Nearby in the brush, we watched American Goldfinches and a Purple Finch feeding on the seeds of devil’s beggarticks flowers. On our way back to the parking area we spotted a bunch of Bumblebees sheltering from the weather in the bark of an ash tree.

Over at the Hurd Grassland, we happy to find some Eastern Bluebirds singing from a hedgerow that also contained a Lincoln’s Sparrow and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Nearby we spotted a large flock of Chipping Sparrows which can be cryptic to the untrained eye in their non-breeding and juvenile plumages. In fact sparrows were the big theme of our walk at the Hurd property with large numbers of Song Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows being herded along in front of us as we walked the trail. And we also had welcome sightings of Savannah, White-crowned and Field Sparrows. And our walk came to a nice dramatic end when we saw a Cooper’s Hawk zoom past Gale Hurd’s feeders, emptying them of birds.

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, Nov. 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.