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Seventeen people came out for our Monthly Wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland on a gorgeous June morning to view and help us survey birds and other wildlife at these two properties.

At Otter View Park, Eastern Kingbirds acted as our greeters and we started our walk, flitting between apple trees. Down on the boardwalk, a sharp-eyed participant spotted a Ruby-throated Hummingbird perched at the very top of a tree. Marsh Wrens, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows provided a constant soundtrack for us in the Marsh. A Virginia Rail was heard several times but not seen, even when it was right next to the boardwalk. A lone male Wood Duck was seen down the river as was a female Hooded Merganser which we saw fly up into some trees. A Mallard mom with 14 ducklings made a brief appearance on the riverbank too. At one point we saw a Baltimore Oriole perched in a very distant tree. Later we thought we had found it again, but that turned out we were tricked by a Red-winged Blackbird with a red covered leaf in front of its body.

After a quick carpool, we started our walk at the Hurd Grassland where we saw an Eastern Bluebird atop a birdhouse and heard several House Wrens singing their heads off. In the field we spotted a Merlin circling up in the sky. Unfortunately we didn’t see any grassland birds in the Hurd fields, but we did later spot a Bobolink at the property to the north giving hope that they are at least using our habitat for feeding. The shrubland section of the property was much better for the species we are targeting with our management. Alder Flycatchers, an Indigo Bunting, Field Sparrows and an Eastern Towhee are all evidence that things are going well there. But the highlight was a male Blue-winged Warbler heard singing its “bee-buzz” song, then later seen by our group foraging around the top of an elm tree.

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, July 13 at 7:00 AM. Meet at the parking area of Otter View Park at the intersection of Weybridge St. and Pulp Mill Bridge Road.

Twelve people came out for this month’s walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland on a beautiful morning, with lots of beautiful birds to be seen. As we walked the trail one of the neighborhood Merlins zoomed overhead spooking all the Red-winged Blackbirds. Down on the boardwalk we watched a Marsh Wren carrying cattail fluff down into a nest it was constructing. Two Virgina Rails were briefly seen, the hear making their grunting call from the marsh. And a trio of Baltimore Orioles flew in and chased each other across the property.

Over at the Hurd Grassland we were treated to the sight of both Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows taking up residence in bird houses. A Norther Mockingbird was a surprise site flying along a hedgerow. In the field an Eastern Meadowlark briefly popped up out of the grass and disappeared again, giving us hope they might nest there again this year. Down near the pond we enjoyed long looks at an American Bittern that was trying unsuccessfully to make us think it was a tree stump. A Field Sparrow was spotted in the shrubland section of the property. And at the end of our walk, while enjoying snacks and conversation with Gale Hurd, we saw a Ruby-throated Hummingbird visiting her feeder, the first of the year for many on our walk.

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 8 at 7:00 AM. Meet at the parking area of Otter View Park at the intersection of Weybridge St. and Pulp Mill Bridge Road.

Fourty-seven people broke up into three groups and scoured the trails of the Waterworks property in Bristol for migrating warblers and other bird species. Though we did generate a very respectable list of 48 species, our walk was probably just a few days too early because our warbler count was a little light with only seven species. We did score some nice looks at Black-and-white Warbler, Yellow Warbler and a Pine Warbler that landed in the middle of the trail in front of one of our groups.

Other birds made up for the lack of warblers however. Raptors were very apparent with an Osprey seen near the reservoir, and a Broad-winged Hawk that was seen passing overhead. One of the highlights of the day was a very noisy Red-shouldered Hawk that made itself seen several times. Another big highlight was a pair of Barred Owls that two of our groups had very close encounters with.

For the third straight year we enjoyed seeing young ravens in their next on the cliffs near the anticline of folded rock. A young walker found a large rodent skull, which we believe came from a Muskrat, on the ground nearby, clearly leftovers from one of the Raven’s meals.

Waterfowl were very active at the reservoir with Canada Geese getting into territorial fights, both Common and Hooded Mergansers feeding, and a lone male Wood Duck showing off his breeding plumage. Spotted Sandpipers were seen bobbing on logs, and Belted Kingfishers were seen pair-bonding atop a duck box.

And as usual at the Watershed Center at this time of year, we were treated to a wonderful variety of wildflowers including Triliums, Spring Beauty, Hepatica and Dutchmans Breeches, to name a few.

A full checklist of the birds seen on our walk can be viewed here: https://ebird.org/vt/view/checklist/S55926158

Barn Swallows

Six people came out to this month’s wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland on what was one of the most beautiful days of the spring s far. On the songbird side of things, a recent arrival at the park was the Eastern Phoebe, and an Easter Bluebird was also seen hanging around. Read the rest of this entry »

 

This month’s walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland couldn’t have happened on a nicer March morning—sunny and seasonably warm and thoroughly enjoyable. And the birds seemed to be out enjoying the weather too. At the park, Northern Cardinals were belting out their territorial songs and Starlings were already investigating holes in trees. Read the rest of this entry »

 

This month’s wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland took place on a cold and windy morning. A participant who took part in last month’s walk when it was -7 F at the start, claimed this morning in the teens felt colder due to the wind. Of course when it’s windy, the birds become hard to find. The persistent calling of a Tufted Read the rest of this entry »

 

This month’s wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland was led by OCAS board member, Craig Zondag, on a very cold morning. Temperatures started below zero, but with a shining sun and no wind, it was surprisingly comfortable. The park didn’t serve up a large list of birds, but there were some good ones to be seen. Five Eastern Read the rest of this entry »

Though the weather seemed to threaten in the early morning, things cleared up just in tome for the 21 who came out to Button Bay State Park for this years First Day Hike. This this is the fourth of theses walks we have held. One of many events like this that happen around the country at State and National Park to get people kicking off their year right Read the rest of this entry »

 

This month’s wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland took place on a frosty morning when the starting time temperature was a mere 9°F. It was however a sunny and windless morning so the four people who came out did not suffer too badly from the cold. Read the rest of this entry »

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This month’s wildlife walk at Otter View Park and the Hurd Grassland took place on a wet morning, but still a group of three observers ably led by volunteer, Jim Phillips still managed to generate some good bird lists. At the Park they started off looking at a profusion of 55 European Starlings which generally mass in the trees North of the Read the rest of this entry »