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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 »

Herpers, here in Salisbury we hosted one of our public education nights on Morgan Road last night.  We had 43 people on site and monitored and moved amphibians for two hours from 8 AM to 10 AM.  Despite the conditions looking very good with rain starting well before dark and temperatures around 40 F, we had surprisingly few amphibians to 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 »

On warm, wet nights from mid-March to mid-April frogs and salamanders move from their wintering sites on high ground to wetlands to mate and lay eggs. Their route to the nearest vernal pool sometimes takes them across a road. Read the rest of this entry »

On Thursday, February 14,  at the Ilsley Public Library in Middlebury, Otter Creek Audubon held our second Cabin Fever Lecture series presentation of the winter. Titled Antarctic Birding Adventure, OCAS Board members, Gary & Kathy Starr gave us a photo travelogue of their 2017 trip to Tierra del Fuego and the southern terminus of the Andes, the Falklands, South Georgia, the Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. If you missed this presentation it can viewed online here thanks to the production facilities of Middlebury Community Television. 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 »

On Thursday, January 10,  at the Ilsley Public Library in Middlebury, Otter Creek Audubon held our first Cabin Fever Lecture series presentation of the winter. Titled Iceland and Ice Land, world-traveling bird, Hank Kaestner talked about two recent trips he took to Icleand and Alaska. If you missed this presentation it can viewed online here thanks to the production facilities of Middlebury Community Television. 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 »