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This month’s wildlife walks at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland happened on a snowy morning leaving us responsible for walking in fresh tracks on the trails. Things were in general very quiet at the park until we made our way down to the boardwalk where we scared up a flock of Robins that were making use of the flowing water in the Read the rest of this entry »



This month’s wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland was postponed a week due to a blizzard that blew through on the originally scheduled morning and all seven people who came to the delayed walk agreed we were doing it on a much better day. Fairly fresh snow made for great conditions to spot tracks, the best of these being a Read the rest of this entry »

In this issue of Otter Tracks you will find the following articles:

    • The Great Backyard Bird Count
    • Living in the Plastic Age, an editorial
    • Bioluminescence in Vascular Plants
    • Salamander Escorts
    • OCAS Environmental Education Grants Program
    • Ghosts from the North
    • Calendar of Events
    • Can Birds Smell?


Otter Creek Audubon Society members will receive a copy in the mail but you can always find the latest issues of Otter Tracks in color on our home page. You can also browse issues going back to the year 2000 in our Otter Tracks Archive.

– Ron Payne


On Thursday, January 11,  at the Ilsley Public Library in Middlebury, Otter Creek Audubon held our second of three Cabin Fever Lecture series presentation of the winter with the Bird Diva, Bridget Butler speaking about Crows & Ravens. Considered harbingers of evil by some, and for others an endless curiosity. Bridget explained how intelligent crows really are, the difference between crows and ravens, and their complex social structure. If you missed this presentation it can viewed online here thanks to the production facilities of Middlebury Community Television.


Bridget Butler the Bird Diva

Our next Lecture, The Jewels of Ecuador, presented by Hank Kaestner, will take place on February 15, 7pm at the Ilsley Library in Middlebury. In the meantime, if you would like to see more, many of our past presentations can be viewed at this link.

– Ron Payne


The 58th Ferrisburgh Christmas Bird Count took place on Saturday December 16th. It was a fine day for winter birding with temperatures in the mid-20s. Gusts on the lake could get cold, but overall the wind was not too ferocious. The ground sported a light snow cover but little to no precipitation fell during the day. Thirteen teams spent a cumulative 162 hours in the field and received assistance from an additional three feeder watchers. Five teams spent an additional 16 hours owling. As far as birding, overall the numbers were average. We found 78 species plus one count week which is our 10-year average, and our total of 23,365 birds counted is but 5% above the 10-year average. Read the rest of this entry »

Given temperatures in the minus teens at our start time, it’s unsurprising that only eight people came to this years First Day Hike at Button Bay State Park, but it was a hardy, group well dressed for the weather, ready too look for birds. Read the rest of this entry »

This year 39 field birders and 19 observers at feeders located and identified 15,963 birds of 72 species during our Middlebury Christmas Bird Count on Sunday, December 17th.

We survey a 15-mile-diameter count circle centered on the Lemon Fair in eastern Bridport and covering from the A & W Root Beer stand on the east to New York State on the west and from Snake Mt. on the north to Richville Dam on the south.  The Middlebury count is one of over 1,800 held throughout North and Central America.  Owling teams started the day in the predawn blackness.  Field birders met them at 6 AM for breakfast and an organizational meeting at Rosie’s Restaurant.  After breakfast, field birders headed out to their assigned territories. Read the rest of this entry »

The story of this month’s wildlife walks at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland is the story of all birding in our region in the past few months: A marked dearth or birds. Still we did manage some good sightings. Warm weather has kept the Otter Creek flowing so far this December, so flushing a Great Blue Heron away from the end of the boardwalk Read the rest of this entry »


Do you live in or near one of the circles in the map above? If so, you should consider participating in the Christmas Bird Count. One of the oldest, continuously running, citizen science projects, the CBC has accumulated over a century’s worth of data on the occurrence of wintering birds. There are two ways to participate, as a field observer Read the rest of this entry »


Golden-crowned Kinglet, Greater Sage Grouse, Eastern Phoebe & Northern Parula.

With the holiday season nearly upon us, we are happy to announce that Gary Starr is again graciously offering proceeds from the sale of his bird ornaments to support Otter Creek Audubon Society environmental and educational programs. These beautiful hand-crafted pieces are perfect as gifts, for a Christmas tree, or for use to beautify your home year-round. Please see the order form for a list of all the ornaments available, pricing and instructions on making a purchase.

When ordering by telephone at 802-388-6552 or through the website, please clearly indicate that your purchase is for this OCAS fundraiser.



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