Highlights from the 40th Vermont Bird Records Committee Report
The Vermont Bird Records Committee (VBRC) held its 40th annual meeting in November 2020. Each year, this panel of experienced birders meets to discuss rare bird reports, out-of-season reports, and rare nesting reports submitted by birders from across the state.
A Tiny, Displaced Vireo Makes a First-ever Vermont Appearance
Vermont’s first-ever Bell’s Vireo made an unexpected appearance in Woodstock during mid-October, initially fooling a couple of experienced birders, then remaining for 9 days to delight 30 or more enthusiasts, many of whom were thrilled to count it as a “lifer”.
October 2021 Photo-observation of the Month
Congratulations to Craig Hunt for winning the October 2021 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! His photo of a Hairy Woodpecker with a bill deformity appearing to ponder its reflection in a pane of glass received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.
Birder Broker 2021 Update
After a COVID-canceled field season in the summer of 2020, Birder Broker volunteers were eager to get together for their three bird monitoring walks this past June and July. With 100 species documented—including 50+ confirmed or probable breeders—the season was ripe with exciting encounters.
Field Guide to November 2021
As the days shorten and the temperature drops, wildlife scrambles to use the final available fall food sources before winter sets in. From hibernacula to gut microbiota, a chilly change is in the air. Read all about it in this month’s field guide.
Nighthawks Light up Late Summer Evening Skies: an October Reminiscence
The annual southward passage of Common Nighthawks is a spectacle not be missed. Despite the species’ declining numbers across North America, impressive late summer concentrations still occur—Westminster Station on the Connecticut River is far and away Vermont’s most noteworthy site. The 2021 flight proved to be the best on record.
A New Tool for Exploring Vermont Birding Hotspots
A few years ago on a long family drive, I remember stopping at a small rest area off an Ohio highway and submitting a quick eBird checklist of the House Sparrows and European Starlings around the parking lot and the Red-tailed Hawks and Turkey Vultures soaring above the Interstate.
Leaf it Be — ditch the rake this fall to promote insect populations around your home
This autumn, consider opting for less intensive yard maintenance practices to foster more biodiversity in your yard this season and beyond. By planting native late-blooming plants, leaving leaves where they fall, and preserving standing rigid vegetation, you will be providing winter homes and food sources for invertebrates, birds, and other winter residents.
September 2021 Photo-observation of the Month
Congratulations to iNaturalist user Coleen Lawlor for winning the September 2021 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist. Her photos of a handsome and uncommon Upland Sandpiper roaming the grassy plains of the William H. Morse State Airport in Bennington received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.
Field Guide to October 2021
October is a month of change. The forested hills fade from green to a kaleidoscope of red and gold that dazzles the eyes. Here’s your field guide to some moments that you might not otherwise notice during these few precious weeks that feature colored hills beneath a deep blue sky, with the calls of migrating geese high overhead and the last Monarchs gliding silently southward.
Kinglets Rain on Mansfield Ridgeline as VCE Wraps Season #30
Tiny feathered gems–Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets–filled VCE’s mist nets and ushered in the autumnal equinox on Mt. Mansfield to conclude our 30th field season on the ridgeline. Among 222 birds captured and banded over 3 days, kinglets accounted for 101, but they weren’t the only notable migrants we encountered.
Birds, Bees, and Trees: A Summer Working for VCE
From long days spent in wooded hillsides to early mornings on top of Mt. Mansfield, it was a busy—but exciting—summer for VCE’s 2021 Alexander Dickey Conservation Intern.
A Record Year for Loon Nesting in Vermont
This year proved a highly successful one for Vermont’s breeding loons—a record, in fact! However, every loon breeding season is more than just numbers. It’s also about the stories of difficult moments and the experiences of our hardworking volunteers who make everything we accomplish possible.
Field Guide to September 2021
September is a month of transition—birds, butterflies, dragonflies, and more are beginning their southward migration while some bees and other species are emerging for the first time all summer. To the curious eye this month offers a lot of excitement and the happenings featured in this field guide are just the tip of the iceberg!
August 2021 Photo-observation of the Month
Congratulations to iNaturalist user @myco_mama_vt for winning the August 2021 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life…
Non-locals Light Up VCE Nets on Mansfield
VCE’s final summer banding session on Mt. Mansfield featured a striking–and puzzling–absence of locally-breeding birds but a strong showing by non-local warblers and our first-ever Northern Flicker.
Field Guide to August 2021
The dog days of August are here. Insects are buzzing and summer’s bounty is plentiful. But migration is underway alerting us to the coming changes. Read all about them in this Field Guide to August.
July 2021 Photo-observation of the Month
Congratulations to Michael Sargent for winning the July 2021 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on…
Mount Mansfield Week 9 – Quality Over Quantity
With Chris Rimmer on vacation celebrating the marriage of his daughter, the VCE banding team carried on in his absence,…
(At Least It’s Not) All Quiet on the Western Front: Eluded by Whip-poor-wills in Windham County
Despite numerous survey locations and some new robotic helpers, this year’s Windham County whip-poor-will survey team had a quiet season. However, historic hotspots in other regions of Vermont reported their usual noisy numbers of this nocturnal species.
A Deluge of Juncos and a Surprise Boreal Visitor on Mansfield
Week 7 of VCE’s 2021 banding season on Mt. Mansfield featured a plethora of juvenile juncos and an unexpected, dapper male Bay-breasted Warbler.
Seasonal Changes Emerging on Mt. Mansfield
Free-flying juveniles. Molting adults. Regressing brood patches. Subdued, sporadic song. Seasonal changes that signal summer’s inevitable transition were in evidence during VCE’s Week 6 banding session on Mt. Mansfield.
June 2021 Photo-observations of the Month
Congratulations to Tom Norton and Sarina for winning the June 2021 Photo-observations of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of…
July Updates from the Loon Conservation Team
July is here and Vermont’s lakes and ponds are bustling with loon-related activity, keeping VCE biologists and volunteers quite busy. This month’s loon update shares news of new nesting pairs and opportunities for getting involved.
Field Guide to July 2021
The dawn bird chorus now fades from northern woodlands as the hills erupt in the sparkle and drama of summer insects. Here are some July happenings to kick off your month.
A Bicknell’s Thrush Storm on Mansfield
Mansfield’s breeding birds proved far hardier than the ornithologists studying them during VCE’s Week 4 banding session on Mt. Mansfield. Despite challenging weather, mist captures were solid, and Bicknell’s Thrushes dominated, with a single-visit record of 17 individuals.
Mansfield Ridgeline Quiet During VCE Week 3 Visit
VCE’s third banding session of 2021 on Mt. Mansfield was quieter than normal for mid-June, but featured a veteran female Bicknell’s Thrush (possibly the oldest on record) and a feisty Sharp-shinned Hawk.
Heavy Lifting for the Loons
The first loon update is here and with it come tales of great strength. From flipping rafts to hauling signs, the loon conservation team has been hard at work preparing for this year’s nesting pairs.
A Veteran Bicknell’s Thrush Helps Launch New VCE Study
VCE’s second 2021 banding session on Mt. Mansfield netted a record-tying veteran 11 year-old Bicknell’s Thrush, who now wears a tiny GPS tag that will help elucidate late winter, pre-migratory movements on the species’ Caribbean wintering grounds.
Blackpolls Abound as VCE Launches Year #30 on Mansfield
VCE’s first 2021 foray to Mt. Mansfield marks our 30th year of monitoring the ridgeline’s montane forest breeding birds. Banding highlights included a bounty of Blackpoll Warblers, 7 Bicknell’s Thrushes (5 from previous years), and our first-ever Veery capture.