VCE Spirits Remain High: COVID Update for May
VCE staff may not be physically together, but our spirits remain high as we continue working hard on behalf of wildlife and eagerly anticipate our approaching field season.
Field Guide to May 2020
The month of May is a show-off. Grass glows green under blue skies. Woodland wildflowers break out of the ground and demand attention. Trees flower and leaves burst from long-dormant buds. Songbirds arrive on southern night winds and liven the dawn with a chorus of song. May shouts of life and rejuvenation. Here’s a few bits of natural history for your May days.
From Panama to the Arctic, a New eButterfly Takes Flight
An international team of biologists and software engineers, including VCE’s Vermont Atlas of Life, has collaborated on an ambitious expansion of the eButterfly platform, offering scientists and naturalists powerful new tools to track and help conserve butterflies from Central America to the far reaches of the Arctic.
Outdoor Radio: Red-winged Blackbirds Signal the Arrival of Spring
In this episode of Outdoor Radio, on a cold spring day as they listen to songs and calls of male Red-winged Blackbirds setting up and guarding their breeding territories. Learn about their interesting mating system and other natural history and then get out and watch them near you.
April 2020 Photo-observation of the Month: American Woodcock
Congratulations to Roy Pilcher for winning the April 2020 Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist photo-observation of the month.
Join the Vermont Spring Backyard BioBlitz on iNaturalist
Discover the natural world right at home! Though we may be physically distanced this season, we’re still a united community of curious nature lovers and naturalists. From April 20th through May 20th, we invite you to join the Vermont Spring Backyard BioBlitz!
Discover the Bees in Your Backyard this Spring
Spencer Hardy, VCE’s Vermont Wild Bee Survey Project Coordinator, shares a video from the field, and how you can get involved in the Vermont Wild Bee Survey.
Ready and Waiting for Grassland Birds
VCE’s Grassland Bird Outreach team is ready and waiting for the return of grassland birds this spring.
Join Our Spring Wildflower Phenology Annotation Blitz!
Long-term flowering records initiated by Henry David Thoreau in 1852 have been used in Massachusetts to monitor phenological changes. You can be like Thoreau right from home! There are thousands of images of plants that observers like you have added to the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist. But, they have not been annotated so that we can easily track phenology.
Updated for 2020: State of the Mountain Birds Report
The 2020 State of the Mountains Bird Report has landed… on the web. With this evolving report, we try to answer one seemingly simple question: What is the state of the mountain birds of the northeastern United States? Read on to find out.
Checking in: April Update on VCE’s COVID-19 Response
VCE’s Executive Director Chris Rimmer checks in with a COVID-19 operational update.
March 2020 Photo-observation of the Month
Congratulations to coleen61 for winning the March 2020 Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist photo-observation of the month. The image of the rare Crested Caracara that made an appearance this month in Woodstock, Vermont won the adoration of naturalists this month.
Field Guide to April
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 of April.
Outdoor Radio: Hoarding Blue Jays
In this episode of Outdoor Radio, we begin on a carriage road in middle of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park looking and listening for Blue Jays in stand of Red Oak trees. Join us for the hunt and learn about Blue Jay behavior.
Vermont Center for Ecostudies Operations Update in Response to COVID-19
In light of the current public health crisis, we at VCE want to update you on our evolving operational changes, and let you know about steps we are taking to keep our staff, volunteers, and communities safe and healthy.
Rare Crested Caracara Visits Vermont
On March 23, 2018 Mark Bessette surprised the Vermont iNaturalist community. Mark had snapped some photographs of an unusual-looking bird that he dubbed, “Elvis, the juvenile bald eagle.” The bird appeared to have a black wig that reminded Mark of the “King of Rock and Roll,” Elvis Presley. The iNaturalist community was quick to weigh in on the real identity of this bird. To seasoned birders, it easily stood out as a misplaced Crested Caracara.
Narrowing Down the Whereabouts of Bicknell’s Thrush in Cuba
VCE’s 2020 field trip to eastern Cuba yielded many avian treasures, but no new Bicknell’s Thrush records. After four years, it is clear that the species specializes on cloud forests in Cuba, and that conservation efforts must continue to focus on core Hispaniolan winter habitats.
February 2020 Photo-observation of the Month
Congratulations to killamfarm for winning the February 2020 Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist photo-observation of the month. The image of a Common Raccoon (Procyon lotor) sleeping soundly under a blue sky captured the most attention by voters.
Field Guide to March 2020
March is a month of battles between warm and cold, between winter’s refusal to leave and spring’s insistence on coming. So, here are some signs of spring to look out for in this Field Guide to March.
VCE Colleague Yolanda León Receives Prestigious Conservation Award
Longtime VCE conservation partner and Advisory Council member Yolanda León recently made us all proud by receiving the prestigious 2019 Partners in Flight Individual Leadership Award.
A Serendipitous Orchard Oriole Extravaganza
A casual dusk bird walk during a layover in Panama City provided Chris Rimmer with an unforgettable birding experience, as he intercepted an unprecedented concentration of Orchard Orioles heading to a communal nighttime roost.
Outdoor Radio: The Annual January Thaw – Real or Fantasy?
In this episode of Outdoor Radio, Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra begin inside the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium in St. Johnsbury to talk with meteorologist Mark Breen about whether or not a January thaw exists. Spoiler alert…maybe?
January 2020 Photo-observation of the Month
Congratulations to Madison Alderman for winning the January 2020 Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist photo-observation of the month. The image of a Short-tailed Weasel cloaked in white and peering from a hole in a tree in Rutland, Vermont garnered the most votes.
Field Guide to February 2020
February marks an important turning point. Although winter may continue to grip us for a little while longer, the landscape is preparing for change. So here’s a Field Guide to February to keep your spirits up.
Vermont eBirders Gather Big Bird Data During County Quest
From day one when eBirders reported an incredible 73 bird species on a cold winter day to a Say’s Phoebe, a rare visitor found in late November, Vermont birders scoured the state to discover as many bird species as possible during the 9th annual Vermont eBird County Quest, and set some records along the way.
2019 Norwich Bird Quest Racks up 177 Species
Birders rose to the challenge in 2019, as the inaugural Norwich Bird Quest eclipsed its goal of 175 species found within town borders in a single year. Over 1,300 eBird checklists by 17 birders generated an impressive total of 177 species, with numerous surprises. The 2020 Quest is now underway, with even more ambitious goals!
Of Birds and Buckets: Nocturnal Flight Call Recordings Shine A Light on Migration Timing
Most of our knowledge regarding the migration timing of songbirds comes from birding observations made during the day, even though much of the actual migration occurs at night. Is this a problem? As it turns out, it might be.
Volunteers Help the Vermont Atlas of Life Build Biodiversity Big Data in 2019
From the first observation of 2019, a Barred Owl sitting on a deck, to a Christmas Fern laying on snow on the last day of the year, naturalists added over 100,000 biodiversity records to our rapidly growing database of life in Vermont.
Field Guide to January 2020
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.
December 2019 Photo-observation of the Month
Congratulations to Craig Hunt for winning the December 2019 Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist photo-observation of the month.