Nine people came out for this month’s wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland. The weather was perfect for an early July morning, and the birds were deep in their breeding cycles. Speaking of which, one of the neatest finds of the morning came when we spotted an American Goldfinch nest right in the parking lot of the Park. Also seen nearby was an Eastern Cottontail Rabbit, one of a bumper crop of these guys in the area this year. Down on the boardwalk Marsh Wrens were still making a bunch of noise in the marsh, and Red-winged Blackbirds were seen tending recently fledged chicks. A Mulberry Tree on a slope near the marsh was loaded with ripe berries, and this attracted all sorts of birds, most prominently American Robins and Gray Catbirds.

Over at the Hurd Grassland Brown Thrashers were found skulking around a hedge near the entrance where they are often seen. In the field we saw a Song Sparrow catch a large insect which pictures later revealed to be a Preying Mantis. Song Sparrows were very agitated when we got near one of the new birdhouses we added to the property this year suggesting they were still nesting in it. In the shrubland we both saw and heard Field Sparrows. The most unusual observation of the day was hearing a Scarlet Tanager singing at the property. They are much more usually found in denser woods than at the Grassland. And as a nice bookend to our walk, we again saw Thrashers in the same hedge as we were leaving.

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, Aug. 14 at 7:00 AM. Meet at the parking area of Otter View Park at the intersection of Weybridge St. and Pulp Mill Bridge Road. We hope to see you there.