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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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: 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
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
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.
A loon and eagle having a showdown
I was literally in the middle of a stand-off between two showy birds.
Reports of color-banded birds are rolling in!
Reports of color-banded Gray Catbirds and Song Sparrows are now showing up regularly on eBird checklists from the Buzzell Bridge Road and Mystery Trail areas of Union Village Dam thanks to keen observers like Mary Waugh, Jenn Megyesi, and Kathy Thompson.
Looking for WHIPs in all the Wrong Places
Monday, May 30th marked the close of stage 1 of VCE’s 2016 Eastern Whip-poor-will (WHIP) surveys for team Sara/h (Sara Zahendra and Sarah Carline). This session was a far cry from West Haven.
Across the Kingdom, VCE Birdathon a Boreal Success
The Green Mountain Goatsuckers mixed it up this spring, opting for a new approach and venue. We migrated to Vermont’s fabled birding mecca – the Northeast Kingdom, and we made a key strategic move by enlisting the Kingdom’s foremost birding guru, Tom Berriman, as our local guide.
A Field Guide to June 2016
Here in Vermont, we dream of June during the darkest days of January. Verdant wooded hillsides glowing brightly under a robin egg sky. Warm afternoon breezes rolling through the valleys as we lounge by the clear waters of a cold river. The chorus of birds waking us each morning. June is a dream, and here are some of its natural history wonders.
Male Loons Can Make Poor Choices
Last week, the loon pair on Metcalf Pond nested on summer cottage beach. Bad move. After 3 or 4 days of incubation, the eggs disappeared and the loons gave up even before the landowners came for Memorial Day weekend. Learn why this might have happened and an update on nesting loons this year.
Help Find Colorful Bird Bracelets
Identifying individual birds and tracking their fate over time offers insight into important details of a bird’s life: how long it lives, where it moves during the year, and how many offspring it rears. VCE’s newest citizen-science project is testing whether birders can help carry out this kind of important – but difficult – field work.
The ‘Price is Right’ Bird Delivers
For VCE biologist Jason Hill, unveiling the secrets this bird holds is more exciting than a new car or a vacation in Hawaii. This summer Jason and his crews are logging many miles on foot at six Department of Defense installations across the country to recapture Grasshopper Sparrows with valuable data on their backs.
Counting Birds: When Zeros Equal One or More
We’ve all been there. A friend visits from out of town, and you take them birding at a reliable spot for your locally uncommon bird—say, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. After hours of listening and walking around the woods, your search turns up empty. “I don’t get it,” you apologetically exclaim to your friend, “they are usually here—I just saw one yesterday.”