• VCE Blog

    September 2023 Photo-observation of the Month

    September 2023 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulations to Joshua Phillips for winning the September 2023 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! His photo of an unexpected bird house occupant received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.

    Field Guide to September 2023

    Field Guide to September 2023

    It can happen almost anywhere. On a cool, foggy morning, when fall warblers drop from their nocturnal migratory flights into your backyard. Or on a hilltop when the Broad-winged Hawks circling above and Monarchs gliding southward convince you that summer is indeed coming to a close. Here is your field guide to some life on the move in September.

    August 2023 Photo-observation of the Month

    August 2023 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulations to Erin Talmage for winning the August 2023 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! Her adorable photo of a young Gray Treefrog (or perhaps Treefroglet?) received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.

    2023 Marks the Second Successful Community Science Teacher Workshop

    2023 Marks the Second Successful Community Science Teacher Workshop

    Vermont and New Hampshire educators alike joined to explore field methods and focus on enhancing science in their curriculums. Our goals for the workshop aimed to give teachers the toolkit to engage students in the outdoors and develop place-based community science that addresses both local and regional conservation issues.

    Vermont eBird Volunteer Data Experts Retire

    Vermont eBird Volunteer Data Experts Retire

    After more than a decade of service, two of the first-ever Vermont eBird volunteer data experts are hanging up their keyboards. Ian Worley and Craig Provost first joined the project in 2010. Over the past 13 years, they have reviewed tens of thousands of records submitted by bird watchers and have been outreach champions for Vermont eBird.

    Bumblebee Photographed in Backyard is a New Species for Vermont

    Bumblebee Photographed in Backyard is a New Species for Vermont

    It took a photo, a drawing, a naturalist’s boundless curiosity, and bee experts from across the nation for Vermont to claim a new bumblebee species for the state last week.

    Field Guide to August 2023

    Field Guide to August 2023

    The dog days of summer are here, hot and sultry. The Romans referred to this time of year as the days of the dog star, when Sirius appears in the sky just before the sun and marks the hottest days of summer. Read all about August’s natural wonders in this month’s field guide.

    Mansfield Update: VCE Interns Reflect on a Summer on the Mountain

    Mansfield Update: VCE Interns Reflect on a Summer on the Mountain

    An essay on our summer interns’ final trip to Mount Mansfield, written by two of the interns themselves, Emily Marple and Julia Stahl.

    Maximizing the Value of Your eBird Checklists from the Mountains

    Maximizing the Value of Your eBird Checklists from the Mountains

    There are several easy steps you can take to complete bird checklists that are helpful to scientists when you’re in the mountains.

    July 2023 Photo-observation of the Month

    July 2023 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulations to Spencer Hardy for winning the July 2023 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! His exciting record of a rare bee species received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.

    Join the 7th Annual Monarch Blitz

    Join the 7th Annual Monarch Blitz

    The International Monarch Monitoring Blitz is back for a 7th edition! From July 28 to August 6, 2023, join thousands of volunteers across Canada, the United States and Mexico in supporting conservation of the monarch butterfly.

    Dodging Downpours on Mansfield

    Dodging Downpours on Mansfield

    Dodging downpours and sitting out showers has become routine for VCE’s Mansfield banding team this summer. Yet, astonishing discoveries keep on coming, most recently via a GPS-tagged female Bicknell’s Thrush who returned to the exact same territory In Cuba’s remote cloud forest in consecutive winters.

    The Road (that Used to Be) Less Traveled: Off-trail Hiking, The Catskills and Montane Birds

    The Road (that Used to Be) Less Traveled: Off-trail Hiking, The Catskills and Montane Birds

    Historically, bushwhackers had to be highly skilled at backcountry orienteering to summit trailless peaks. In the age of the internet however, the hurdles to bushwhacking are considerably lower, and there are many websites with accessible step-by-step route instructions for anyone with a smartphone to use. This is all too obvious in the nearby Catskill Mountains.

    Egg Dumping: A Firsthand Account

    Egg Dumping: A Firsthand Account

    Egg dumping can be a common occurrence among cavity-nesting waterfowl like Wood Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, and Common Mergansers. This happens when a female of one species (often a first-year breeder) lays her eggs in a neighbor’s nest (usually of the same species).

    Ten Years of Bumble Bees

    Ten Years of Bumble Bees

    The summer after I graduated high school, I found a dream job. Kent Mcfarland had just launched the Vermont Bumble Bee Atlas and needed help tracking down Bumble Bees throughout the state.

    The Caretakers: Reflections from 40 Years of Loon Volunteers

    The Caretakers: Reflections from 40 Years of Loon Volunteers

    Loon conservation in Vermont is as much a story of people as it is of birds. From the most disheartening days of the state’s loon census in the 1980s through the incredible recovery we’re witnessing today, VCE volunteers on the Vermont Loon Conservation Project have been the beating heart of the stewardship effort.

    Baby Birds and Bicknell’s Backpacks

    Baby Birds and Bicknell’s Backpacks

    This week marked the beginning of a very exciting time of the summer–when we start catching fledgling baby birds!

    Field Guide to July 2023

    Field Guide to July 2023

    The avian breeding season is winding down. Even a few southbound shorebirds will trickle through the region this month on their “fall” migration. But as the dawn bird chorus fades from 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 now on the wing.

    June 2023 Photo-observation of the Month

    June 2023 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulations to Craig Hunt for winning the June 2023 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! His photo of a rare Prothonotary Warbler perched on his truck’s windshield received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.

    Mansfield Continues to Provide New Experiences, New Surprises, and New Research!

    Mansfield Continues to Provide New Experiences, New Surprises, and New Research!

    This week Mansfield provided beautiful weather and cooperative birds for week four. A crew of myself, Chris Rimmer, Melory Brandao, Kevin Tolan, Nathaniel Sharp, and Chris Hansen trekked up the mountain for two days. We were joined by new VCE intern Natalie DeVito, who is joining us for the summer between her semesters at Brown University.

    New Report Uses Big Data to Establish Vermont Biodiversity Baseline

    New Report Uses Big Data to Establish Vermont Biodiversity Baseline

    By 2100, Vermont is estimated to experience a net loss of 386 species (or 6%), under the current carbon emission scenario. This comes among several key findings outlined in a new report from VCE. It marks the 10th Anniversary of the Vermont Atlas of Life, an ambitious project that harnesses the power of community science and professional biologists to discover, document, and map Vermont’s biodiversity.

    Field Guide to June 2023

    Field Guide to June 2023

    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 here. Its days last forever.

    Mansfield's Ridgeline Lures VCE Back for Season #32

    Mansfield’s Ridgeline Lures VCE Back for Season #32

    One could argue that after 31 years of studying Mt. Mansfield’s ridgeline breeding birds, the time has come to seek new horizons. Well, sorry, that’s just not the VCE way. We launched season #32 on May 31, taking advantage of unseasonably summerlike weather to capture a total of 58 birds.

    May 2023 Photo-observation of the Month

    May 2023 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulations to Bernie Paquette (aka bugeyedbernie) for winning the May 2023 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! His photo of an unusual insect pair received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.

    After Two Decades of Searching, Biologist Discovers Rare Butterfly in Vermont

    After Two Decades of Searching, Biologist Discovers Rare Butterfly in Vermont

    A rare and elusive butterfly has been discovered for the first time in Vermont, flying this spring at one of the state’s protected natural areas. Bog elfin, patterned in brown and rust, and no bigger than a penny, had eluded detection in the state until one flew past a Vermont field biologist who had been searching for it for two decades.

    Global Launch of eButterfly

    Global Launch of eButterfly

    The Vermont Center for Ecostudies, Espace pour la vie in Montréal, and the University of Ottawa are proud to announce…

    Field Guide to May 2023

    Field Guide to May 2023

    The month of May is a show-off. Grass glows green under the deep blue sky. Woodland wildflowers jump out of the ground. Trees flower, and leaves burst from long-dormant buds. Birds arrive on southern night winds and liven the dawn with their chorus. May shouts of life and rejuvenation. Here’s your monthly guide to some of this month’s delights.

    April 2023 Photo-observation of the Month

    April 2023 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulations to iNaturalist user linxlookin for winning the April 2023 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! Their photo of a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, a Vermont rarity, received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.

    Gardening for Bees

    Gardening for Bees

    A guide this spring, for the do’s and don’ts of backyard gardening if you want to attract native bees.

    Field Guide to April 2023

    Field Guide to April 2023

    In April, the northern forest is laid bare with cold desire, and our long-dormant senses awaken. Here’s our guide to some of the joys this month brings.