A Field Guide to October 2017
October is a month of change. 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 last Monarchs fluttering southward.
Bicknell’s Thrush and the Endangered Species Act
The US Fish and Wildlife Service has chosen not to add Bicknell’s Thrush to the list of endangered species. The decision not to list Bicknell’s Thrush must not be interpreted as a sign that our job as conservationists and scientists is done. On the contrary, it reinforces the importance of the collaborative, science-based conservation work of VCE.
New VCE Study Reveals Population Health of Mountain Songbirds
A 16-year study by VCE of mountain forest songbirds across New York and New England, including thrushes, warblers and other iconic species, has documented their population changes.
Take a Time Out for Turtles: Volunteers Needed for Nesting Beach Clean Up Day
The annual spiny softshell turtle beach cleanup day is on Saturday, October 21, and Vermont Fish & Wildlife is looking for volunteers to help.
VCE Partners with BirdsCaribbean for Post-hurricane Relief
VCE is partnering with BirdsCaribbean to raise funds for humans and wildlife affected by the succession of devastating hurricanes throughout the Caribbean this season. Please join us in helping get the region back on its feet!
Outdoor Radio: Lake Fairlee Loons
Biologists Kent McFarland, Sara Zahendra and Eric Hanson headed out in canoes to take a look at the nesting sites and check on the loon chick. Join them as we learn the story of the Lake Fairlee loons and how volunteers are helping VCE and the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department conserve Vermont’s loon population.
An Emerald Discovered in Victory
Mike Blust and Josh Lincoln had a plan hatched by a fellow naturalist. Hike deep into the forest to a bog in northeast Vermont and find a rare emerald dragonfly that had never been seen in Vermont. Read about their trials and tribulations that led to elation at discovering this beautiful insect for the Vermont Damselfly and Dragonfly Atlas.
Help Us Record Painted Lady Butterflies on the Move
Painted Lady butterflies are flitting about fields, gardens, roadsides and meadows throughout eastern North America and beyond. Like Monarch butterflies,…
VCE Paper Sheds Light on Little-known Hispaniolan Endemic
VCE’s recent peer-reviewed paper on Western Chat-Tanagers from cloud forests of Hispaniola highlights non-breeding home range ecology and nocturnal roosting patterns of this rare, globally vulnerable endemic.
Down Year for Piping Plovers in New Hampshire
t was a difficult summer for the state-endangered and federally threatened Piping Plovers on Hampton and Seabrook beaches this year. This summer, three pairs nested on Hampton Beach, while on Seabrook Beach four pairs of plovers nested.
A Field Guide to September 2017
Sorry, summer is over, but autumn is spectacular here in the Northeast and wildlife is on the move. So here’s your field guide to some of life on the move in September.
A Record Year for Vermont’s Loons in 2017
This year was another great breeding season for Common Loons in Vermont. The Vermont Loon Conservation Project and it’s volunteers observed a record 97 loon nest attempts with at least 72 successful nests. Learn more…
Vermont Initiates Study of Threatened Eastern Ratsnake
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is cooperating in a three-year study of an isolated population of Eastern Ratsnakes, a species that is listed as ‘Threatened’ under the State’s endangered species law. Read more…
New Study Reveals Population Estimate and Abundance Map for Rare Bicknell’s Thrush in the U.S.
New research by the Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE) has revealed that Bicknell’s Thrush likely have one of the smallest population sizes – about 71,000 adult birds – of any migratory songbird within the contiguous U.S.
Memories of a Summer Bird Banding on Mt. Mansfield
Nate Launer, VCE’s 2017 Alexander Dickey Conservation Intern, shares his reflections on banding birds at our long-term study site on Mt. Mansfield. After five overnight field trips in July and early August, Nate gained proficiency in handling and banding small songbirds like Bicknell’s Thrush and Blackpoll Warbler.
VCE Director of Science Named Elective Member of American Ornithological Society
John Lloyd, VCE’s Director of Science, was named as an Elective Member of the American Ornithological Society during the Society’s 135th annual meeting in August. Elective Members are selected by their peers for their significant contributions to ornithology or service to the society.
Habitat Selection with a Twist: A Story of Two Opportunistic Loons
VCE summer intern Kirsti Carr recounts her unexpected discovery of a long-abandoned swimming raft that a Common Loon pair used for nesting on Chandler Pond in 2017. She and her Vermont Loon Recovery Project team rehabilitated the raft – easily Vermont’s largest – in late July and hope that the loo pair will approve of its new, improved home for continued successful nesting in 2018.
Take Your iNaturalist Photos to the Next Level
Smartphone cameras are a critical citizen science tool for documenting phenology and species presence, and the primary multimedia format submitted to iNaturalist Vermont. But smartphone cameras are notoriously poor at taking close up photos, and most of us don’t walk around with a digital SLR camera complete with a macro lens. What’s an iNaturalist to do?
July 2017 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-Observation of the Month
Congratulations to Bryan Pfeiffer ln for winning the July 2017 iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month contest. His image of a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) was the most popular photo-observation as measured by clicked ‘favs’.
A Tiger Found in Vermont
Congratulations, Vermont. You’ve got a new dragonfly — Tiger Spiketail (Cordulegaster erronea). Dale Ferland, an angler who likes to poke around rivers, snapped that photo above on Monday from the Black River in Springfield and it was posted and confirmed on iNaturalist Vermont.
SOS! Search Our Shorelines for Shells
Do you like to wander the shorelines of rivers, streams and lakes? Maybe you are a beachcomber and enjoy collecting shells. We need your help with the Vermont Freshwater Mussel Survey. It is easy and fun. Anyone can help!
I remember naively thinking it would be easy to detect a Whip-poor-will singing, with its distinctive sound. It turns out it’s not easy at all! Despite the formidable odds, I joined my colleague Sarah Carline to cross the state in search of the elusive Whip-poor-will. Read about our great adventure.
VCE begins migratory-bird conservation project in the Dominican Republic
The Vermont Center for Ecostudies announced today that it has received funding from a Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act grant to complete a strategic conservation plan for Sierra de Bahoruco National Park, one of the largest and most biodiverse areas in the West Indies and a critical wintering site for Bicknell’s Thrush.
Outdoor Radio: Bat Counts
Biologists Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra join Alyssa Bennett from the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, as well as two volunteer bat counters at Bomoseen State Park to count bats as they leave the maternity colony to forage for insects at dusk.
Humans and Songbirds Meet Up on Mt. Mansfield
VCE’s 11-12 July field trip to Mt. Mansfield featured favorable weather and plentiful mist net captures. Banding highlights included the season’s first Winter Wren (it’s astounding how tiny these birds are, given the volume of their song!) and Magnolia Warbler, and free-flying juveniles of 3 species. The human element of this trip was especially rewarding, with a 10 year-old and his grandfather, our two summer interns, and several other enthusiastic visitors.
A Mountain Birdwatch Adventure in the White Mountains
Kirsti Carr, VCE’s UVM Intern, and Nate Launer, VCE’s Alexander Dickey Conservation Intern, recently surveyed two Mountain Birdwatch routes in the White Mountains. Read about their adventures.
Freshwater Mussel Survey Needs Your Help
Freshwater mussels are recognized as the most endangered group of aquatic organisms in Vermont. Join the Vermont Freshwater Mussel Survey and help us survey waterways for these unique animals. Learn all you need to know at our workshop on July 15th at North Branch Nature Center. Read more…
Outdoor Radio: Moth Watching
Attracting, photographing, and identifying moths is a fun family activity. All you need are some lights and a sheet! Biologists Sara Zahendra and Kent McFarland went out into Kent’s backyard watch moths and talk about the important role they play with naturalist JoAnn Russo.
Saving a Loon’s Life
The phone rang on Friday afternoon and VCE loon biologist Eric Hanson had just received word of a loon entangled by fishing line. I was full of excitement; this would be my first time taking part in a loon rescue, an opportunity I hoped would present itself during my summer as VCE’s Alexander Dickey Conservation Intern.
June 2017 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-Observation of the Month
Congratulations to Joshua Lincoln for winning the June 2017 iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month contest. His Pine Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis ssp. pini) image was the most popular photo-observation as measured by clicked ‘favs’.