• VCE Blog

    Field Guide to October 2022

    Field Guide to October 2022

    October is a memorable month for many reasons. The leaves change from summer emerald to autumn auburn and gold. Creatures of all sizes flit and scurry as they prepare for winter. And people’s homes become adorned with carved pumpkins, cackling witches, and looming ghosts. This field guide highlights a handful of Vermont’s Halloween-themed biodiversity in honor of the season. But beware—some of nature’s marvels can be frightful.

    A Soggy Wrap to VCE's 2022 Mansfield Season

    A Soggy Wrap to VCE’s 2022 Mansfield Season

    VCE’s final Mt. Mansfield banding session of 2022 may have been a wash-out, but we captured a fat-encased Blackpoll Warbler ready for its astounding transoceanic southward flight, and we reflected on a highly successful season overall, with 17 GPS tags recovered from Bicknell’s Thrush.

    VCE Haitian Colleague Receives Prestigious Conservation Award

    VCE Haitian Colleague Receives Prestigious Conservation Award

    VCE offers sincere congratulations to our longtime Haitian friend and colleague Anderson Jean, who is the 2022 recipient of Stanford University’s prestigious Bright Award for conservation.

    A black and orange butterfly with whites on its wings (Monarch) nectaring pink Joe-Pye Weed

    Field Guide to September 2022

    It can happen almost anywhere. On a cool, foggy morning, for example, when fall warblers drop from their nocturnal migratory flights into your backyard. Or when the Monarchs gliding past you under a cool blue sky convince you that summer is indeed over. Here is your field guide to life slowing down and on the move in September.

    August 2022 Photo-observation of the Month

    August 2022 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulations to JoAnne Russo for winning the August 2022 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! Her photo of a Bedstraw Hawkmoth visiting a daylily received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.

    Summer Bee Update: Four Years in, the Flood of New Species is Becoming a Trickle

    Summer Bee Update: Four Years in, the Flood of New Species is Becoming a Trickle

    We began our Vermont Bee Survey project in 2019, and since then we have discovered over 50 new species in the state! This year has been the slowest year yet, but that hasn’t stopped us from swinging our nets. Read on to learn about the highlights of the 2022 bee season so far!

    Banding Loons By Night

    Banding Loons By Night

    This summer, VCE’s loon conservation team spent two nights attempting (emphasis on attempting) to capture and band loons to learn more about their health and behavior. Despite a few misses, we caught loons on both Holland and Ewell Pond.

    VCE Mansfield Summer Season Wraps Up Quietly

    VCE Mansfield Summer Season Wraps Up Quietly

    VCE’s final Mt. Mansfield field session of summer 2022 featured a paucity of mist net captures, several heavily molting adult birds, and a welcome chance to mentor the next generation of bird banders.

    VCE Hosts First Community Science Teacher Workshop

    VCE Hosts First Community Science Teacher Workshop

    Community Science has a place in just about everything VCE does: Providing members of the public opportunities to contribute to our research projects, adding observations to the Vermont Atlas of Life, even our motto “uniting people and science for conservation”. This past month, VCE host the it’s first Community Science Teacher Workshop.

    July 2022 Photo-observation of the Month

    July 2022 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulations to iNaturalist user hobiecat for winning the July 2022 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! Their photo of a playful band of American Mink received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.

    ECO Americorps Members Reflect on Their Time at VCE

    ECO Americorps Members Reflect on Their Time at VCE

    ECO Americorps members Abbie Castriotta and Julia Pupko reflect on their term here at VCE. Abbie has been involved with multiple invertebrate studies, and has even created regional field guides for VCE. Julia has been working on the Lady Beetle Atlas project, surveying the entire state. She has even discovered several new species of Lady Beetle during her time here.

    Field Guide to August 2022

    Field Guide to August 2022

    FEAR NOT— we’ve still got plenty of summer here in Vermont and points north. So in this edition of VCE’s monthly field guide to nature, we’ll celebrate a few summer-breeding species. 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.

    Non-Locals Surprise Banders on Mansfield as VCE Winds Down Season #31

    Non-Locals Surprise Banders on Mansfield as VCE Winds Down Season #31

    The Mansfield ridgeline may be a far quieter place than it was a month ago, but there is never a shortage of avian surprises to be found. As VCE wraps up its 31st consecutive field season on the mountain, our mist nets produced more than one unexpected capture.

    Mansfield Update: A Bird in the Bag is Worth Two in the Net

    Mansfield Update: A Bird in the Bag is Worth Two in the Net

    It was a slow night on Mansfield this week, that turned into an incredibly foggy but productive morning. Click to read the first-hand account from our communications assistant, who joined us this week.

    VCE's Bicknell's Thrush Work Recognized with Prestigious Award

    VCE’s Bicknell’s Thrush Work Recognized with Prestigious Award

    VCE’s 30+ years of Bicknell’s Thrush work was recently recognized by the Wilson Ornithological Society, which awarded us the prestigious Margaret Morse Nice Medal at its annual meeting in Santa Fe, NM. Nice’s pioneering studies of Song Sparrows in her Ohio backyard during the 1930s set the benchmark for “longitudinal” avian population research, an approach VCE has embodied through our hemispheric work on Bicknell’s Thrush.

    Biologists and Bicknell's Both Tote Backpacks on Mansfield

    Biologists and Bicknell’s Both Tote Backpacks on Mansfield

    The VCE banding crew donned backpacks on July 6 for its ascent up Mt. Mansfield, following the toll road’s closure from a heavy rain wash-out. We gained a new appreciation for backpack-toting Bicknell’s Thrushes, and we recaptured a third GPS-tagged female, our 17th tag recovery overall. Two mist-netted Northern Saw-whet Owls were crowd pleasers.

    June 2022 Photo-observation of the Month

    June 2022 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulations to Levi Smith for winning the June 2022 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! His photo of a charmingly-patterned lady beetle received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.

    Loon Update July 2022

    Loon Update July 2022

    We’re absolutely wailing that loon season is halfway over already, but so much has happened since we started monitoring our lakes this spring.  As of June 30, we have confirmed 96 nests, 34 successful nests, 14 failed nests, and 47 chicks in the state.

    Evolution in Spatial Tracking of Bicknell's Thrush

    Evolution in Spatial Tracking of Bicknell’s Thrush

    In VCE’s 30+ years of Bicknell’s Thrush (BITH) research, we’ve used many different methods to unlock the species’ ecological secrets….

    Field Guide to July 2022

    Field Guide to July 2022

    ‘Tis the season for summer foraging! June has passed, with its delicious wild strawberries and serviceberries. July is ushered in, bringing wild blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, along with some non-berry foraging opportunities–true Chanterelles (Cantharellus sp.). Start the month here.

    Predicting the Forests of Tomorrow with the Observations of Today

    Predicting the Forests of Tomorrow with the Observations of Today

    Michael T. Hallworth Nearly 14,000 different species have been observed in Vermont, and with new ones being reported almost daily…

    Fairy Shrimp Survey Results in New Species for Vermont

    Fairy Shrimp Survey Results in New Species for Vermont

    Results from our pilot Fairy Shrimp survey this spring doubled the number of species known in Vermont…from one to two….

    Tags Keep Coming on Mansfield, and from Quebec

    Tags Keep Coming on Mansfield, and from Quebec

    VCE’s ground-breaking study of GPS-tagged Bicknell’s Thrush yielded more exciting results on 14-15 June, with the recovery of an additional 5 backpacks from Mt. Mansfield, and the addition of 3 tags retrieved in Quebec.

    Field Guide to June 2022

    Field Guide to June 2022

    Spring ephemerals have begun to fade, and baby critters abound—June has arrived, and summer is hot on its heels. Across the landscape, wildlife dramas large and small unfold. Warm breezes carry away the last memories of winter frost. June has much to offer, from tapeworms using mind-control to Eastern Cottonwoods shedding their downy seeds. Start the month off here.

    Backpacking Thrushes Return to Mansfield

    Backpacking Thrushes Return to Mansfield

    VCE’s first Mansfield banding session of 2022 exceeded all expectations, as we recovered 5 of 36 GPS tags that we affixed to adult Bicknell’s Thrush last summer. Preliminary data from these birds–all males–show that 4 individuals overwintered in the Dominican Republic, 1 on Cuba, and that 3 birds undertook early spring movements of 25-185 km prior to northward migration.

    May 2022 Photo-observation of the Month

    May 2022 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulations for the second month in a row to Craig Hunt for winning the May 2022 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! His stunning portrait of an American Black Bear received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.

    A Birding Quest and Tribute Unlike Any Other: Fred Pratt's Big Year

    A Birding Quest and Tribute Unlike Any Other: Fred Pratt’s Big Year

    Fred Pratt’s delightful and deeply personal new book, “My Big Year—A Search for Birds and Peace of Mind”, recounts the final year of his impassioned quest to become the first birder to document 150 species in all of Vermont’s 14 counties, each within a single calendar year. Fred’s tale movingly weaves together his many memorable (and often humorous) encounters with birds, his attempt to find closure and solace in the wake of losing his beloved wife Chris in 2017, and a deeply abiding love for his life (and birding) partner.

    Field Guide to May 2022

    Field Guide to May 2022

    Trees are leafing out, and newly arrived migrant birds are dripping from branches. Insects are emerging and pollinating blossoming flowers. Discover all the sights May has to offer with our Field Guide.

    VCE Selected as 2022 First: Earth Summer Series Recipient

    VCE Selected as 2022 First: Earth Summer Series Recipient

    Do you love nature and the performing arts? If your answer is “heck yes,” it’s time to start marking your calendar for First: Earth’s summer performance series. Each year, First: Earth chooses an environmental nonprofit to receive proceeds from ticket sales, and VCE is honored to have been selected.

    April 2022 Photo-observation of the Month

    April 2022 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulations to Craig Hunt for winning the April 2022 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! His photo of a pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers attempting to remove a European Starling from their nest cavity received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.