The remnants of Hurricane Nicole must have kept most people away from our November wildlife walk at Otter View Park and The Hurd Grassland, but the three who came out were rewarded with rapidly clearing skies, warming temperatures, and some interesting sightings.

At the park Carolina Wrens were being their noisy selves, loudly calling as is their tendency for this time of year. The recently brush-hogged fields were relatively quiet, but down at the end of the boardwalk we observed some similar recent cutting done by Beavers, clipped Red Osier Dogwood stems cached for winter eating in the river at the edge of the bank. We seemed to run into talkative flocks of Tufted Titmice everywhere we went that morning. One of our best finds of the day came as we came back off the boardwalk and spotted a Winter Wren crossing the trail into the bushes. These small birds have become regular winter visitors to the marsh at the park for the past several years. Much less likely to be seen here in November though, were the pair of Gray Catbirds foraging in the grass along the trail back around to the sidewalk. To cap it off, nearby, we also found a pair of White-throated Sparrows who defied multiple attempts to get pictures of them.

Over at the Hurd Grassland, we were greeted by the sight of a Mosquito, likely one of the overwintering species tricked by the warm weather into leaving its hiding spot. Other unseasonal insect sightings on our walk included still a extant grasshopper, and a couple of Fall Crickets attempting to make it into winter. Six Eastern Bluebirds were seen around the edges of the fields. In a large tree at the north end of the shrubby section, a couple of Red-tailed Hawks were seen hanging their wings attempting to dry themselves out. The hedgerows were filled with Black-capped Chickadees, of which we estimated fifteen, but that was likely an undercount. A boldly patterned Song Sparrow was also seen in the bushes, as was a Dark-eyed Junco, a sure sign of winter. But on a day filled with mixed messages, we also heard two Spring Peeper Frogs calling from trees.

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. 10 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.