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 wildlife walks at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland took place on a Sunday rather than a Saturday because the person who was supposed to do it forgot. But no harm no foul, with data being collected a day late, and there were some cool sightings that might not have happened on the correct day.

At Otter View Park, Carolina Wrens, Song Sparrows and Eastern Phoebes were all singing their heads off while I took the requisite picture of the park from the MALT Phenology Calendar photo stick. A Tree Swallow and Osprey both seen flying overhead were both expected April sightings. Down on the boardwalk, the Red-winged Blackbird females had arrived and the Males were all heavily engaged in claiming territories and trying to attract mates. No waterfowl were sighted on the river, but while looking I had the unusual experience of seeing two Wild Turkeys fly across to the park side. A few minutes late while walking out, I saw them again flying across the marsh to the west, and even managed a blurry picture of one. Still hanging on from their abundance in winter was one Common Redpoll heard flying nearby. The best sighting of the day came near the end, though when I spotted a Vesper Sparrow from the sidewalk on Pulp Mill Bridge Road. It was cooperative enough to perch in a tree long enough for me to see all its field marks. 

While at the Park, I was surprised not to hear any Swamp Sparrows in the marsh, but that was fixed over at the Hurd Grassland where four of them were heard in cattails around the property. Northern Flickers were very conspicuous flying around giving their long “ke-ke-ke” calls. Of special note, I spotted an Eastern Meadowlark perched on power lines across Weybridge Rd. from the property, hopefully contemplating nesting in our grass. A Mallard was spotted on the pond east of the trail which flushed when I went by, and more of them were sighted in flight later in the walk. In the shrubby section which has seen recent management work to set back the growth of the bushes, a Field Sparrow was heard doing its bouncing ball song. At the very northern end of the property I heard what I thought was a very quiet call of a Red-tailed Hawk and other squawking raptor complaint sounds. It gave me the notion that there might be a hawk nest in some tall pines in the adjacent property, but I was disabused of that idea when a Blue Jay hopped out and revealed that it had been mimicking those sounds all along. And the final neat sighting of the day was a Pileated Woodpecker feeding on suet at Gale Hurd’s house.

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.