Middlebury: Otter View Park

By josh • 251 Birds, Nature, Wildlife • 11 Nov 2014

Middlebury (Addison County)
Otter View Park
Town #2

I haven’t posted here in awhile, mostly because I’m teaching this semester and haven’t had much free time for getting out naturalizing (or writing about it when I do!).  This weekend I had the chance to visit some old haunts in Addison County on the monthly Otter Creek Audubon Society/Middlebury Area Land Trust Wildlife Walk.

These walks have been happening for about five years now and I’m so pleased that OCAS, MALT, and friends have continued to build the program since the early days when it was sometimes just Ron Payne and I standing in the rain looking at a goose.  The number of dedicated regulars has grown considerably, and it sounds as though most months there’s a sizable group diligently counting birds and exploring what else Otter View Park and Hurd Grassland have to offer.  Each month the observations from both locations are submitted to eBird and iNaturalist and we’ve begun to develop an invaluable record that will be critical to inform land management at the sites, which are both conserved in perpetuity.

Otter View Park is a remarkable property MALT property that straddles the Middlebury/Weybridge town line (so I’m kind of cheating here), sitting on the edge of the village of Middlebury.  It features an accessible trail that leads around the edge of a meadow, through a copse of mostly deciduous trees, and down to a boardwalk that traverses a large cattail marsh on its way to Otter Creek.  Despite the park being only around 15 acres, the diversity of habitats has allowed us to observe 157 species there since 2008 or so.  Hurd Grassland has a shorter history on the walk and doesn’t get as many visitors as OVP, but we’ve still observed 117 species there since the property was conserved.

This week we saw 16 species in each location for a total of 22 on the day.  Here’s a short summary I wrote for the OCAS blog with links to our checklists.  There are also a couple of photos of some of the more charismatic species we saw and even a few of yours truly wandering around with my bird-terrifying big white lens.

Otter View Park (Middlebury/Weybridge)

 

Hurd Grassland (Weybridge)

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