Seven people came out on a spectacular fall morning for this month’s walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland. Action picked up right away in the parking lot with birds taking advantage of the fruiting shrubs and seeding forbs. Chipping Sparrows, Song Sparrows and House Sparrows were all busily foraging in that area. Blue Jays were also very active, some seeking food, and some higher up migrating south. Down on the boardwalk a lone Red-winged Blackbird male was singing as if it was spring. He was briefly joined by a large flock of females and juveniles, they soon headed out and left him to his solo performance. There was not much activity at all on the river itself, but in the nearby bushes we heard a lingering Gray Catbird, and had a close encounter with a group of Tufted Titmice. Back on the trail out, we spotted a flock of White-throated Sparrows busily eating dogwood berries in the bushes along the trail, and up above them, there was a flock of Purple Finches feeding on ash seeds. An Eastern Phoebe was maybe the last notable sighting at the park.

Over at the Hurd Grassland, we caught sight of some of the water birds we were missing on the river at the park, spotting flocks of Canada Geese all headed in that direction from fields in the West. As usual we counted the Pigeons who hang around the Silos across the road from the property. But this time we notices an all white one, likely a bird released at a wedding or some other celebration, hanging out with them. Around the trails it seemed like every patch of goldenrod had groups of Yellow-rumped Warblers looking for food among the foliage. Eastern Bluebirds were seen also in dogwood bushes, and using one of our birdhouses as a perch. The most exciting sighting we had in this portion of the walk was a passing Cooper’s Hawk which circled enough for us to go through all the field marks to be sure of our ID.

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, Nov. 12 at 8:00 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.