A Field Guide to April 2017
April leaves none of our senses void. The smell of earth, the sound of birds, the sight of wildflowers. Here’s our guide to some of the joys of April.
Cuba Next on VCE’s Horizon
Cuba is on VCE’s horizon, as Chris Rimmer and John Lloyd venture this week to the island’s eastern tip, in search of overwintering Bicknell’s Thrush. Backpacking to cloud forests of Sierra Maestra, where Fidel Castro famously hid out in the 1950s, and then venturing east to the serpentine forests of Humboldt National Park, they expect to find some thrushes, and a good number of Cuba’s 26 endemic birds.
Outdoor Radio: Peering Into A Porcupine Den
VCE biologists Kent McFarland, Sara Zahendra and Steve Faccio ventured into the woods on a blustery day to see a porcupine den that was big enough for a human to fit in – but not someplace you’d want to venture!
A Field Guide to March
March is a month of battles between warm and cold, between winter’s refusal to leave and spring’s insistence on coming. So, heralding the sun’s arrival, here’s a Field Guide to March.
February 2017 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-Observation of the Month
Congratulations to JoAnne Russo for winning the February 2017 iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month contest. Her image of a Red Fox starring the camera down on a winter day was the most popular photo-observation as measured by clicked ‘favs’.
New Publication Available: Guidelines for Managing Bicknell’s Thrush Habitat in the United States
A new resource for planning the management and conservation of Bicknell’s Thrush habitat in the United States is now available at the International Bicknell’s Thrush Conservation Group web site.
Outdoor Radio: The Elusive Lynx
Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra traveled by snowmobile into the wilderness of the Northeast Kingdom with biologists from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department in hopes of spotting a Canada lynx or lynx tracks.
Stand Up for Science!
All of us, scientists and non-scientists alike, who believe in rationality, who believe that science can and should contribute to good decision-making and public policy, need to stand up and make our voices heard.
A Field Guide to February 2017
This month, wildlife and the rest of us here in New England will cross a threshold – arbitrary yet not insignificant: 10 hours of daylight. You can sense it when you head out in the morning: woodpeckers are starting to drum. Even though we’ve got lots more winter, we’ve also have change. So here’s a Field Guide to February to help get your hopes up, no matter what that groundhog predicted.
January 2017 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-observation of the Month
Congratulations to Charlotte Bill for winning the January 2017 iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month contest. Bald Eagle populations have been slowly rising for decades in the Northeast and winter provides a great opportunity to see these majestic birds.
The Galapagos Gang: An Unusual Bobolink Stopover
What on earth are Bobolinks doing in the Galapagos Islands each autumn? In a somewhat risky mission to find out more, VCE and other biologists ventured to the island of San Cristóbal in an attempt to intercept migrating Bobolinks to find out more. Learn more about what they found on these isolated islands.
Farewell and Thanks to a Tireless Caribbean Conservationist
After 5+ years as VCE’s Caribbean Bird Conservation Coordinator, Juan Carlos Martinez-Sanchez is moving on to new adventures. All of us at VCE wish him well and offer him our profound thanks for a job extraordinarily well done. The personal energy and commitment that Juan Carlos poured into every aspect of his work were nothing short of remarkable.
Outdoor Radio: Crows Come Home to Roost
With the sun dropping below the hills the chase was on. We followed them as best we could, zig-zagging through traffic and city streets, as they streamed from the pre-roost towards their final destination. With the light fading fast, we found them. Thousands of crows, with more arriving by the second, gathered in the trees.
The 2016 Vermont eBird County Quest Awards
From a Great Horned Owl on Snake Mountain on January 1st, to Long-tailed Ducks at the South Hero Causeway on December 31st, Vermont birders attempted to discover as many species as possible during the 6th annual Vermont eBird County Quest in 2016.
Once Common in Vermont, Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Now Federally Endangered
Just 20 years ago, the rusty patched bumble bee was a common sight, so ordinary that it went almost unnoticed…
The Mount Mansfield Phenology Project
The Mansfield Phenology Project is a new effort by VCE to track variation in the phenology of a mountain ecosystem and to understand how changes in the timing of key biological events affects the plants and animals that call this place home. Watch a short video and learn more.
A Field Guide to January 2017
Although the days are slowly growing longer, life in the Northeast now finds itself in the coldest depths of winter. January is about survival. Wildlife that doesn’t migrate adapts instead in order to make it to spring. Here’s a few tidbits of natural history happening outdoors this month around you.
A Climate Ride Benefits VCE Interns
In September Akshata Nayak embarked on the longest bicycle trip of her life. Until that day, her riding had been limited to an afternoon on a bike path or a ride around her hometown. But she heard about an organization called Climate Ride and inspiration struck.
Public Meeting to be Held on Conserved Lands in Northeast Kingdom
The meeting will discuss the proposed long-range management plan for Victory Basin Wildlife Management Area, Victory State Forest, and Darling State Park on Tuesday, January 10 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Burke Mountain Room at Lyndon State College.
iNaturalist Vermont Becomes Biodiversity Big Data in 2016
With over 122,000 observations of nearly 5,000 species contributed by 1,321 citizen scientists, in just four years iNaturalist Vermont, a project of the Vermont Atlas of Life, has become a big data biodiversity source in the Green Mountain State.
Bird Watchers Post Big Data to Vermont eBird in 2016
This year marks the 14 year anniversary of Vermont eBird, the first state portal for eBird. In just a decade-and-a-half, the bird checklists that bird watchers have shared have helped make Vermont eBird, a project of the Vermont Atlas of Life, the largest citizen science biodiversity project in the state and around the world.
December 2016 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-observation of the Month
Congratulations to Dean and Susan Greenberg for winning the December 2016 iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month contest. Their image of a Bobcat (Lynx rufus) looking…
Happy New Year and Thank You
Threatened species update
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species includes 742 new species of birds. One of these newly recognized species is the Western Chat-tanager, an Hispaniolan endemic that we’ve been studying for many years.
Volunteers Help Loons to Another Record Breeding Season in 2016
It was a banner year for Common Loons breeding in Vermont. Volunteers helped us monitor 93 nesting pairs around the state, a record number since monitoring began four decades ago.
Field Guide to December 2016
Fear not, during these short days and long nights of December, we’re still finding plenty of life. Once we pass the winter solstice, more light will begin to creep back into our lives. Until then, here’s some wintry natural history to keep you going.
November 2016 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-observation of the Month
Congratulations to Ron Payne for winning the November 2016 iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month contest. His image of an American Beaver’s incredible woodworking skills was the most popular photo-observation as measured by clicked ‘favs’.
Spiders in Winter
Spiders are “poikilothermic,” meaning their body temperatures vary significantly, more or less tracking that of their environment. The chief challenge of winter for spiders in the temperate zone, then, is dealing with the cold.
Outdoor Radio: Deer and Data
Biologists Sara Zahendra and Kent McFarland visited a deer reporting station in Barre during Youth Hunting Weekend. They talked…
Two Mountain Birdwatchers Receive the 2016 Julie Nicholson Citizen Scientist Award
This year’s citizen science awardees, Mike Zimmerman and Steve Chorvas, have climbed peak after peak, year after year, helping to conserve montane birds.