Congratulations to Kyle Tansley for winning the September 2019 Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist photo-observation of the month. The image of jousting Great Egrets in flight garnered the most votes. With a whopping 15,640 photo-observations submitted by more than 1,200 observers this month, it was incredibly competitive. But this scuffle in blue skies over Delta Park on Lake Champlain captured the most attention.
Great Egrets have been observed with increasing regularity in Vermont, especially during late summer and fall as they disperse after breeding. They were first confirmed breeding in 2004 and again in 2010 at Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge in Vermont. The recovery of Great Egret populations are a conservation success story. Their white, dazzling breeding plumage made it a popular target during the 19th-century by plume hunters, who supplied purveyors of the latest ladies’ fashions at the time, causing their populations to drop by more than 90 percent. Today, thanks to legal protection during the last century, their populations have rebounded.
Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking the ‘fav’ star on your favorite photo-observation. Make sure you get outdoors and record the biodiversity around you, then submit your discoveries and you could be a winner!