During these trying times OCAS does not feel that it is safe to hold public in-person events, but we are continuing our regularly scheduled walks at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland so that we can collect bird data. And also, so that through these posts, we can share our sightings with you. Public walks will resume once public health officials say it is safe to hold gatherings again.

This month’s walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland on a calm and clear morning, an hour earlier than usual for this time of year so this observer could attend an Audubon Chapter Assembly meeting.

At Otter View Park things were quieter than usual on the path down to the boardwalk, but from there things got interesting. A Red-bellied Woodpecker was browsing from tree to tree on the edges of the marsh making its “nyuk-nyuk” call. Down river from the end of the boardwalk, a Great Blue Heron was seen browsing along the shore. Not far from it, the hard work of Beavers could be seen in the expanded size of their lodge. On my way back I saw the most interesting bird of the day, a melanistic Tufted Titmouse that has been hanging around the neighborhood for months now. You can see a picture of that bird in our latest Otter Tracks newsletter.

Over at the Hurd Grassland the best action was in the hedges around the fields. A large number of American Goldfinches were chattering away in the background throughout my walk. Four Eastern Bluebirds were calling to each other as they flew around the property. An American Tree Sparrow was seen as well, a bird that announces that winter has truly arrived, at least on the calendar if not with the weather. A lingering White-throated Sparrow was also found hanging out with a Dark-eyed Junco. Some freshly cut pine trees in the shrubland section showed that our partners at MALT have been hard at work doing habitat maintenance work. The best bird here was also the last bird. Just as I was getting in my car I heard the call of a Northern Flicker.

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 public walk will take place once public health officials say it is safe to hold gatherings again.