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Nighthawk Season: Catch it While You Can

Nighthawk Season: Catch it While You Can

On warm summer evenings in the breeding season in Vermont, Common Nighthawks once roamed the skies over treetops, and towns. Those days are gone now, but you can still get out and see them migrating through Vermont right now.

Outdoor Radio: Monarchs in the Meadow

Outdoor Radio: Monarchs in the Meadow

In this edition of Outdoor Radio, biologists Sara Zahendra and Kent McFarland track Monarchs in the flower-filled fields of the Burlington Intervale. We’ll learn how Monarchs migrate to Mexico and the challenges to their survival.

Vermont Reservoir Managers Help Loons Thrive

Vermont Reservoir Managers Help Loons Thrive

With all the needs they have to meet from financial to ecological, the management of hydroelectric facilities is tricky. But in some areas, like southern Vermont, the success of loon nests depends on water level management, and many companies are helping to make a difference.

A Field Guide to August

A Field Guide to August

VCE’s monthly field guide to nature celebrates a few audacious summer insects. But we’ll also alert you to animals on the move. Yeah, the “M-word.” So if you’re not quite ready for “fall” migration, well, sorry … too late.

VCE biologist Jason Hill checks in on a satellite-tagged Upland Sandpiper that has spent the last week in between the runways at Baltimore Washington International Airport.

Tracking Birds Has Never Been So Easy, Yet So Hard

Even we have to admit that tracking satellite-tagged Upland Sandpipers (Bartramia longicauda), from our smartphones, while we sip coffee, is pretty incredible…and downright easy. So what’s the hard part?

Hidden Camera Captures Behavior of a Nesting Loon

Hidden Camera Captures Behavior of a Nesting Loon

A loon nest was discovered on a mudflat on Lake Fairlee in mid-July and local naturalist and photographer, Tig Tillinghast placed a hidden camera to capture how the loons reacted to visiting animals and boaters.

Co-producing a research agenda for biodiversity conservation

Co-producing a research agenda for biodiversity conservation

VCE took a big step this June towards defining a research agenda for biodiversity conservation in Vermont. We assembled a diverse group of stakeholders and tasked them with the job of defining the key threats to biodiversity in Vermont, the key information needs regarding those threats, and the research studies that would help fill those information gaps.

A Loon-ey Couple of Weeks

A Loon-ey Couple of Weeks

During my work with the Vermont Loons Conservation Program, I was able to see so many places in Vermont that I had never visited before, or hadn’t in a very long time. I was amazed once again at the beauty of my home state and very proud to be helping conserve its special biodiversity.

Owls and Tennessee Warblers Find VCE Nets on Mansfield

Owls and Tennessee Warblers Find VCE Nets on Mansfield

VCE enjoyed an eventful, if quiet, final summer field trip to our long-term study site on the Mt. Mansfield ridgeline. Banding highlights included a juvenile Northern Saw-whet Owl, 2 adult Tennessee Warblers, and 12 juvenile Bicknell’s Thrushes.

July 2016 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-observation of the Month

July 2016 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-observation of the Month

Congratulations to Jason Hill for winning the July 2016 iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month contest. The image of a Long-legged Fly (Dolichopodidae) was the most popular photo-observation as measured by clicked ‘favs’.

I Tasted a Moth and It was Awful

I Tasted a Moth and It was Awful

Seriously, don’t do this at home. I tasted a frothy moth secretion last night and it was downright awful. I’ve heard for years that these tiger moths were wildly and brightly marked to warn predators of their awful taste, so I had to try it myself.

A Night (and Early Morning) on the Mountain

A Night (and Early Morning) on the Mountain

The view from Mount Mansfield was spectacular. The ridge line silhouetted against the sky during a warm evening, and the…

Mountain Phenology Cameras Yield Extra Surprise

Mountain Phenology Cameras Yield Extra Surprise

Our new phenology cameras that have been on Mt. Mansfield since April to record snow melt and leaf out contained a neat surprise. Check out the night images captured just days ago and see who was visiting.

Outdoor Radio: A Pollinator Paradise At The Birds Of Vermont Museum

Outdoor Radio: A Pollinator Paradise At The Birds Of Vermont Museum

The Birds of Vermont Museum in Huntington has created pollinator gardens to attract and support bees, butterflies, flies and other insects. VCE’s Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra visited the museum to talk about pollinators and plants. Listen to the show and explore the amazing images…

New Phoenix Project Mission Needs Virtual Volunteers

New Phoenix Project Mission Needs Virtual Volunteers

Last year, volunteers joined our virtual expedition and digitized nearly 6,000 pages of historic spring bird records in just 3 month. Now we need your help with our second virtual expedition. The rebirth of bird sightings data depends on a dedicated corps of volunteers who, in their leisure time and from the comfort of home, can easily move historic bird sightings from paper to computer.

Vermont Butterfly Big Year in High Gear

Vermont Butterfly Big Year in High Gear

Summer is in high gear and so is the Vermont Butterfly Big Year. More than 70 butterfly enthusiasts have added over 1,600 butterfly observations from across the state comprising 66 species, more than half of the butterfly species known to occur in the state.

Seasonal Changes in Evidence on Mt. Mansfield

Seasonal Changes in Evidence on Mt. Mansfield

VCE’s latest field visit to Mt. Mansfield yielded signs that seasonal changes are in store, as free-flying juveniles, molting adults and non-local dispersers are beginning to supplant the resident breeders in our mist nets.

Rutland County Audubon Marks 15 Years of Monthly Vermont eBird Monitoring Walks at West Rutland Marsh

Rutland County Audubon Marks 15 Years of Monthly Vermont eBird Monitoring Walks at West Rutland Marsh

Over 2,000 participants, 666 miles walked, 180 bird checklists recorded comprising 149 species, and its all available for research, education and conservation at Vermont eBird. The monthly bird monitoring walk started on August 16, 2001 at West Rutland Marsh when 15 participants teamed up with Rutland County Audubon Society to record 45 species (including a rare Least Bittern); and it’s been happening every month since.

Mt. Mansfield Yields Avian Surprises

Mt. Mansfield Yields Avian Surprises

VCE’s seventh weekly visit to our long-term study site on the Mt. Mansfield ridgeline yielded a few avian surprises, including the only Indigo Bunting recorded in 25 years of field work.

Mountain Bird Watch: A Real White Mountain Adventure!

Mountain Bird Watch: A Real White Mountain Adventure!

After four weeks (for me) and 11 survey routes later, the Mountain Bird watch (MBW) season has come to an end, but of course not without a few great stories and moments up in the mountains!

Vermont Breeding Loon Population Rises Again

Vermont Breeding Loon Population Rises Again

Just when we anticipate that the Common Loon population breeding in Vermont will remain steady, the loons find even more places to nest. Six new nesting pairs and the first nest for Chittenden County have been documented this year.

June 2016 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-observation of the Month

June 2016 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-observation of the Month

Congratulations to Susan Elliott for winning the June 2016 iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month contest. The image of a White-tailed Deer fawn was the most…

A Field Guide to July

A Field Guide to July

The spring birding seasons is winding down. But as the dawn bird chorus now fades from our northern woodlands, fields and wetlands erupt in the sparkle and drama of summer insects. Here’s a short guide to some of the other glitter on the wing this month.

A Flower Trap

A Flower Trap

With its foot stuck in a milkweed flower like a Chinese finger trap, the European Skipper was struggling to free…

A Water Lily’s World

A Water Lily’s World

At the height of summer many ponds are covered in lily pads. Moose munch on them. Beaver and muskrat devour them. Deer consider them delicious. But peer a little closer and you’ll find an amazing miniature world inhabiting each floating leaf.

iNaturalist Vermont Flies Past 100,000 Observations

iNaturalist Vermont Flies Past 100,000 Observations

With a tap on his smartphone and a click to submit to iNaturalist Vermont, Charlie Hohn added the 100,000th record on Friday, a beautiful Pink Lady’s Slipper orchid.

Finding Ferns

Finding Ferns

We found 22 fern species during an iNaturalist Vermont walk with interns and citizen naturalists on a two-hour tour of Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. Led by VCE’s Kent McFarland and Park ecologist, Kyle Jones, the group was able to document 17 of those with photos in iNaturalist Vermont, a project of the Vermont Atlas of Life.

A Ghost in the Making Released Online

A Ghost in the Making Released Online

A Ghost in the Making: Searching for the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee, an enchanting short film about the disappearance of the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee and one man’s journey to find out what’s happened to it, is now available to watch online.

Vermont iNaturalist Discovers a New Population of a Rare Dragonfly

Vermont iNaturalist Discovers a New Population of a Rare Dragonfly

As a novice photographer, James Welch enjoys documenting the biodiversity he sees around his home turf. With his camera in hand while walking his dog last week, Welch stumbled upon a rare find.

Mansfield Update: Hardy Survivors and a Site-faithful Sharpie

Mansfield Update: Hardy Survivors and a Site-faithful Sharpie

After forced cancellation of a planned field trip to Mt. Mansfield in early June, when wind chills on the ridgeline plummeted to 14 degrees F, VCE returned on June 15-16. The avian chorus was subdued, but the hardiness of resident birds was evident. A male Sharp-shinned Hawk banded in 2013 was a surprise returnee in our nets.