Eight people came out for the August wildlife walks at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland to help us catalog birds and other species. August is often a quiet time of year being at the end of breeding season for most birds, and before the start of migration, but we did manage to observe some nice things.

The best action at the park happened down on the boardwalk where there were a good number of Gray Catbirds being conspicuous and noisy. This is one of the best times of year to see Red-eyed Vireos as they come out of the treetops and down to eye level to fatten up for migration on berries and we did in fact get to see one. A Virginia Rail was heard not seen in the cattails as was later a Marsh Wren. A Spotted Sandpiper was seen flying down Otter Creek, where nearby a group of immature Mallards were floating. In the reeds we spotted the smallest American Bullfrog anyone in our group had ever seen, which made us decide that rather than a bull, it must be a “calf frog.” Another interesting sighting was pointed out to us by a neighbor of the park. A collection of red material at the bottom of a beaver-dammed basin that one might write off as algae or some other detritus were in fact tubifex worms, a harmless organism often found in wastewater effluent. Sure enough, looking at them through binoculars or cameras we could see their many clustered bodies wriggling in the water.

Over at the Hurd Grassland, with the fields now mowed, there wasn’t much action there other than some Barn Swallows hunting low over the grass. In a hedge we saw Cedar Waxwings as well as an Eastern Bluebird. In the shrubland section we heard and saw Field Sparrows making use of the habitat we are maintaining for them, along with an Eastern Towhee which also briefly let off a quick call. At the north end of the property, looking up a power line right of way, we caught sight of a Pileated Woodpecker oddly perched up high in a power poll. Several Common Yellowthroats were heard calling in the shrubs, and we finished off our walk with a fly-over by an Osprey.

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, Sept. 11 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.