• VCE Blog

    A Misplaced Avian Visitor from the West

    A Misplaced Avian Visitor from the West

    Most birders (present company definitely included) are shameless thrill-seekers; nothing electrifies us like the unexpected appearance of a rarity. To…

    Field Guide to October 2020

    Field Guide to October 2020

    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.

    September 2020 Photo-observation of the Month

    September 2020 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulations to Tom Norton for winning the September 2020 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist.

    A New Endeavor for the Vermont Loon Conservation Project: Necropsies

    A New Endeavor for the Vermont Loon Conservation Project: Necropsies

    In the past, the Vermont Loon Conservation Project collected all reported dead loons to send to Tufts University to determine the causes of death. Now, we’re going to learn how to perform necropsies ourselves!

    Mansfield Wrap-up: Bountiful Migrants and a Venerable Thrush

    Mansfield Wrap-up: Bountiful Migrants and a Venerable Thrush

    VCE’s 2020 wrap-up banding session on Mt. Mansfield may have been our most memorable. It yielded an impressive diversity of birds, including our first-ever Western Palm Warbler and a truly venerable 10 year-old Bicknell’s Thrush.

    Loon Departure Times

    Loon Departure Times

    Those lucky enough to still be spending time on their favorite Vermont lakes may have noticed the disappearance of their resident adult loons, even with chicks still around. When do loons take to the skies? Read on to find out.

    Mallard ducks on a pond with colorful fall leaves in the background

    Field Guide to September 2020

    One morning, you wake to a nip in the air, and notice subtle changes in the quality of the light. Suddenly, it’s September. There’s a lot going on this time of year, if you know where to look. Here is your field guide to life on the move, and some natural history tidbits to discover this fall.

    August 2020 Photo-observation of the Month

    August 2020 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulations to Joshua Lincoln for winning the August 2020 Photo-observation of the Month! His image of a perched Zebra Clubtail (Stylurus scudderi) garnered the most votes.

    A Mountain Birdwatch and Looning Adventure

    A Mountain Birdwatch and Looning Adventure

    VCE loon biologist, Eric Hanson, shares his annual Mountain Birdwatch / loon reconnaissance adventure along the Canadian border with Vermont and New Hampshire.

    Mentoring an Eagle Scout for the Loon Project

    Mentoring an Eagle Scout for the Loon Project

    This past year, Caleb Nye of Hinesburg conducted numerous activities to assist the Vermont Loon Conservation Project, and the loons on Lake Iroquois, in pursuit of becoming an Eagle Scout.

    In the Field with VCE's Bird-friendly Maple Efficacy Study–Part II

    In the Field with VCE’s Bird-friendly Maple Efficacy Study–Part II

    Sam Blair, a UVM senior and seasonal field biologist working with Steve Faccio on VCE’s Bird-friendly Maple Efficacy Study, offers his reflections from the field in this second update.

    July 2020 Photo-observation of the Month

    July 2020 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulation to Jo Ann Russo for winning the July 2020 Photo-observation of the Month. Perhaps the American Toad was looking for a moth meal, but instead it was a moth resting pad.

    Mansfield Update: YBFLs, NSWOs, and FOYs

    Mansfield Update: YBFLs, NSWOs, and FOYs

    VCE’s penultimate 2020 summer banding session on Mt. Mansfield featured another diminutive owl, several first-of-year captures, and 2 new Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, bringing our seasonal total to 14 for this species, a station record.

    Field Guide to August 2020

    Field Guide to August 2020

    In this edition of VCE’s monthly field guide, we’ll celebrate a few audacious summer insects and 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.

    Mansfield Update: Owls, Cones and Crossbills

    Mansfield Update: Owls, Cones and Crossbills

    VCE’s capture of two juvenile Northern Saw-whet Owls was the undisputed highlight of our week 7 banding session on Mt. Mansfield. This species’ occurrence in montane forests reflects a complex and fascinating ecological phenomenon related to cyclical production of balsam fir cones.

    Mansfield Update: Returning Sharpies and Thrushes

    Mansfield Update: Returning Sharpies and Thrushes

    With only three weeks before VCE’s 2020 banding season on Mt. Mansfield wraps up, free-flying juveniles, molting adults and wandering post-breeders were highlights, along with a 4+ year-old returning Sharp-shinned Hawk.

    Mid-July Loon Update

    Mid-July Loon Update

    It’s mid-July, height of “loon season,” and just a few days away from Vermont’s 38th annual LoonWatch Day on Saturday, July 18. VCE’s loon biologist, Eric Hanson, gives us an update from Vermont’s lakes and ponds (with photos you won’t want to miss).

    Join the Vermont Moth Blitz During National Moth Week July 18-26

    Join the Vermont Moth Blitz During National Moth Week July 18-26

    National Moth Week offers everyone, everywhere a unique opportunity to become a citizen scientist and contribute information about moths. You can help map moth species distribution. Just find a moth, snap a photo, and add it to the Vermont Moth Blitz project on iNaturalist!

    The Masked Banders of Mansfield

    The Masked Banders of Mansfield

    VCE’s 29th year of banding birds on the Mt. Mansfield ridgeline now finds staff and visitors sporting masks, a concession to safety in the COVID era. Our enthusiasm remains undiminished.

    Field Guide to July 2020

    Field Guide to July 2020

    As the dawn bird chorus now fades from northern forests, summer erupts in the sparkle and drama of insects. Here’s a short guide to July’s natural history.

    In the Field with VCE's Bird-friendly Maple Efficacy Study

    In the Field with VCE’s Bird-friendly Maple Efficacy Study

    Here’s an update from the field (with amazing photos) from Sam Blair, a UVM senior and seasonal field biologist working with Steve Faccio on VCE’s Bird-friendly Maple Efficacy Study.

    June 2020 Photo-observation of the Month

    June 2020 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulation to Charlotte Bill for winning the June 2020 Photo-observation of the Month. Charlotte discovered the cocoon on April 28 and was fortunate enough to see the Cecropia Moth emerged on June 5th.

    Sharpies, PUFI and Blackpolls: Week 3 on Mt. Mansfield

    Sharpies, PUFI and Blackpolls: Week 3 on Mt. Mansfield

    VCE’s third weekly banding session of 2020 on Mt. Mansfield featured a Sharp-shinned Hawk, a ‘PUFIgeddon’ of Purple Finches, several non-locally breeding warblers, and a resurgence in Blackpoll Warbler numbers. And, transport via ATVs appears to have been relegated to a memory.

    Vermont Loon Conservation Project Off to A Successful Start

    Vermont Loon Conservation Project Off to A Successful Start

    16 territories visited, 30 loons observed, eight nests confirmed – all in one day. It helps to know where the loon nests are located when visiting so many ponds. I even spotted two birds sitting on nests from my truck window.

    VCE's Action Plan for Diversity and Equality

    VCE’s Action Plan for Diversity and Equality

    We at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies value diversity, equity, and inclusion; we are committed to action and creating change, both within our organization and our broader sphere of influence.

    VCE's 29th Season on Mansfield off to an Unusual Start

    VCE’s 29th Season on Mansfield off to an Unusual Start

    ATVs, sleeping in a parking lot at 3900-ft elevation under the full moon, and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers. These and more highlighted an unusual start to VCE’s 29th consecutive field season of studying birds on Mt. Mansfield’s ridgeline.

    VCE Staff "Bird in Place" for Backyard Bird Quest 2020

    VCE Staff “Bird in Place” for Backyard Bird Quest 2020

    VCE’s annual Birdathon took on a new form this spring, as the Green Mountain Goatsuckers “birded in place” for Backyard Bird Quest 2020. Sallying forth individually from our home bases—some even outside Vermont—we collectively found 134 species during the day, raising crucial funds for VCE’s wildlife conservation work.

    Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas Finds Lost Species

    Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas Finds Lost Species

    On May 15th the weekend long Vermont Backyard Lady Beetle Blitz had just kicked off. VCE biologist Spencer Hardy was…

    Field Guide to June

    Field Guide to June

    Here in Vermont, we dream of June during the darkest winter days. Its days last forever. Here’s just a few of the natural history wonders for the month.

    May 2020 Photo-observation of the Month

    May 2020 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulation to Kyle Tansley for winning the May 2020 Photo-observation of the Month. He captured this American Mink moving her kits from one den to another.