Seven people came out on a beautiful May morning for this month’s wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland. In the middle of migration we were a bit short on migrants, but evidence of breeding by already arrived locals was very apparent.

At Otter View Park most of the good action was found down on the boardwalk. We heard the alarm calls of Red-winged Blackbirds and looked up to see what was upsetting then, a Peregrine Falcon passing overhead. Yellow Warblers were nosily announcing their presence, as were Common Yellowthroats and Gray Catbirds. Swamp Sparrows were back in the cattails trilling away. Baltimore Orioles gave us several good looks as they passed overheard. Interestingly a female Hooded Merganser flew down out of the trees to the river, making us wonder if there was a nest nearby. And as we were walking out we were serenaded by the beautiful song of the Wood Thrush.

Over at the Hurd Grassland the story was of our managed habitat working as we planned. Bluebirds and Tree Swallow are making good use of the birdhouses around the property. An Eastern Meadowlark was seen carrying food away from the field across the road, but even if they aren’t nesting there, it’s good to know they are using the property. A Bobolink was also briefly heard singing, two walk participants reported that one had been there for the previous week or so. Down deep in the field we disturbed a Northern Harrier, which flew several circles close above our heads, agitated behavior that may also suggest a nearby nest. In the shrubland we hit a home run for shrubland species with Field Sparrow, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, and best of all, a pair of Blue-winged Warblers seen chasing each other around. We also had the pleasure of having a Northern Rough-winged Swallow cruise closely overhead allowing us to see the field marks which differentiate it from Tree Swallows, and hear it’s distinctive call.

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, June 11 at 7:00 AM. Meet at the parking area of Otter View Park at the intersection of Weybridge St. and Pulp Mill Bridge Rd. We hope to see you there.