2. elokuuta 2021

July 2021 Photo-observation of the Month


A pair of Peregrine Falcons playing with their food. © Michael Sargent.

Congratulations to Michael Sargent for winning the July 2021 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist. Mike’s photo of a Peregrine Falcon pair engaged in an acrobatic aerial food transfer narrowly beat some tough competition this month to end up with the most faves of any observation in the state for July.

You might recognize Mike’s name from his many photographic contributions over the years to our blog posts from the VCE Mount Mansfield Banding Station. While a longtime photographer and friend of VCE, Mike’s only recently joined the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist, where his photo received quite the warm welcome! Peregrine Falcons are one of the most charismatic and exciting bird species in the state, and their acrobatic behaviors are thrilling to watch. This pair seems to have slightly miscalculated their aerial food transfer, with the prey item (a European Starling) tumbling below their grip. Rather than come straight in to the nest, a Peregrine Falcon returning with food will often wait for its partner to fly out, where the prey item is handed off or even dropped in midair. The quick reflexes and staggering speed and agility of Peregrine Falcons allows these transfers to go smoothly most of the time, and this behavior results in some spectacular displays of ‘passing the baton’ with any mishaps corrected by a steep dive to catch the plummeting prey before it hits the ground.


With 34,237 observations submitted by 2,201 observers in July, it was very competitive. Click on the image above to see and explore all of the amazing observations.

Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking the ‘fave’ 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!

Lähetetty 2. elokuuta 2021 16:37 käyttäjältä nsharp nsharp | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

Join the Vermont Mission Monarch Blitz (July 23-August 8)

We have extended the Vermont Mission Monarch Blitz until August 8th due to so so so much rain. It is super easy to do a survey and can take as little as 15 min. for a small patch. Help us get a snapshot of Monarch populations in Vermont! Check it out at https://val.vtecostudies.org/missions/vermont-mission-monarch-blitz and add your surveys!

Lähetetty 2. elokuuta 2021 15:56 käyttäjältä kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

26. heinäkuuta 2021

Don't Forget to Fav Photos for the July Winner!

Cast your votes and be counted! You can 'fav' any observation that you like to vote for the Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist photo-observation of the month. Located to the right of the photographs and just below the location map is a star symbol. Click on this star and you've fav'ed an observation. At the end of each month, we'll see which photo-observation has the most favs and crown them the monthly winner. Check out awesome observations and click the star for those that shine for you. Vote early and often!

Check out who is in the lead and see a list of all of this month's photo-observations.

Lähetetty 26. heinäkuuta 2021 13:11 käyttäjältä kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

22. heinäkuuta 2021

Join the Vermont Mission Monarch Blitz (July 23-August 1)

Join the Vermont Mission Monarch Blitz starting tomorrow! Our aim is to contribute a snapshot of the status of Monarch populations across Vermont each year during this critical time in their life cycle. We need your help to gather this data!

For one week, the Blitz invites people across North America to look for milkweed plants and survey them for monarch eggs, caterpillars, chrysalises and butterflies. This information helps us understand changes in breeding populations and productivity in different regions each year and to identify priority areas for Monarch conservation actions.

Mission Monarch is a community science program to gather data on Monarch and Milkweed distribution and abundance each year during the breeding season. Participants find milkweedlook for Monarchs and share their observations with us on the Mission Monarch website.

Participation is simple! Just complete one or more missions during the Blitz between July 23 through August 1 and add your observations to Mission Monarch. Conducting a mission is easy and fun! From backyards to mountain meadows, all you need is a place where milkweed is growing. Learn more at https://val.vtecostudies.org/missions/vermont-mission-monarch-blitz/

Lähetetty 22. heinäkuuta 2021 18:36 käyttäjältä kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 1 kommentti | Jätä kommentti

12. heinäkuuta 2021

Join the Vermont Moth Blitz 2021 (July 17th to 25th)

Explore Vermont's astounding moth diversity! By participating in our annual Vermont Moth Blitz, you will help the Vermont Moth Atlas develop a better understanding of the moths that call the Green Mountain State home. Join our project at https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/vermont-moth-blitz-2021. Over 2,200 moth species have been documented in Vermont with new species being found all the time. Who knows, maybe you will find one! We encourage everyone, from experts to amateur enthusiasts, to find, photograph, and share their moth discoveries with the Vermont Moth Blitz during National Moth Week (July 17th-25th). Can we beat last years' tally? Check it out at https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/vermont-moth-blitz-2020. The Vermont Moth Atlas is a project of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies' Vermont Atlas of Life.

Lähetetty 12. heinäkuuta 2021 17:40 käyttäjältä kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

1. heinäkuuta 2021

June 2021 Photo-observations of the Month


On left, Enchrysa dissectella, a new moth for the state of Vermont! © Sarina. On right, a Walking Fern spreads across a mossy boulder. © Tom Norton.

Congratulations to Tom Norton and Sarina for winning the June 2021 Photo-observations of the Month for Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist. Sarina’s photo of Vermont’s first record of a moth called Enchrysa dissectella and Tom’s photo of a large patch of Walking Fern tied for the two most-faved observations in Vermont this month.

The moth known as Enchrysa dissectella has no common name and is known to range from southern Canada to North Carolina. Little else is known about this species besides its identifying markings, which most noticeably include two curved orangey stripes on the outer half of the wings. This is the first time this moth species has ever been documented in Vermont, contributing to the vast and ever-expanding Vermont Moth Atlas which includes more than 2,200 different species. Interestingly, Sarina returned a few days later to the site where the moth was first spotted and encountered the same moth species, perhaps even the same individual!

Tom Norton, better known to many iNaturalist users as simply ‘tsn’, is an identifying machine. He has provided more iNaturalist identifications than any other Vermonter, and his nearly 65,000 iNaturalist identifications in Vermont alone have helped out just about anyone who has submitted an observation to the Vermont Atlas of Life. No slouch, Tom also submits many iNaturalist observations himself, including his winning photograph of a Walking Fern spreading across a glacial erratic boulder covered in lush moss. Walking Fern is often found on mossy boulders or rocky hillsides and has a fascinating way of spreading across a patch of suitable substrate, as seen in Tom’s photo. By rooting anywhere the tip of a frond touches moist soil, new ‘children’ can begin to grow in an expanding circle around the original ‘parent’ plant. These tufts of ferns “walk” across boulders and hillsides slowly but steadily, and this unique style of growing gives them their name.


With 29,048 observations submitted by 1,900 observers in June, it was very competitive. Click on the image above to see and explore all of the amazing observations.

Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking the ‘fave’ 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!

Lähetetty 1. heinäkuuta 2021 21:36 käyttäjältä nsharp nsharp | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

18. kesäkuuta 2021

The Vermont Lady Beetle BioBlitz was a Success!

Last week over 60 volunteers searched from backyards to mountaintops as part of the weeklong Vermont Lady Beetle BioBlitz to help find and photograph as many of these charming beetles as possible. The event kicked off the summer survey season for the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas, a project that aims to find and map the distribution of more than 35 species, including 12 native species that have not been seen for decades. During the one-week event, volunteers visited all 14 of Vermont’s counties and reported 138 lady beetle observations representing a dozen different species.

“This was a great way to kick off the lady beetle season,” said Julia Pupko, VCE ECO AmeriCorps member and Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas Project Coordinator. “Whether it was the drought or extremely hot weather at the beginning of the season, I have been having trouble finding beetles this year. Locating over 12 species in one week was awesome!”

Nearly a third of the species reported were introduced, non-native lady beetles, including a species many of us are familiar with when they invade buildings each fall, the Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia axyridis). Nearly 50% of the observations reported were Asian Lady Beetles, which are likely more prevalent near homes. The decline of native lady beetles may be linked to the introduction of these non-native species.

Volunteers documented 9 native species during the event. The bright red colored Spotted Lady Beetle and the shiny Ursine Spurleg Lady Beetle were the most observed species. The relatively uncommon Bigeminate Sigil Lady Beetle (Hyperaspis bigeminata) was photographed on the ridgelines of Mt. Mansfield and Camel’s Hump, adding 3 more observations to the mere 5 observations of this species previously reported on iNaturalist in Vermont.

“A big thank you to all the participants of the Vermont Lady Beetle BioBlitz,” said Pupko. “We hope many of you will continue to record lady beetles that you find this summer and help us with the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas.”

You can find out more about the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas at the Vermont Atlas of Life website - https://val.vtecostudies.org/projects/lady-beetle-atlas/

Lähetetty 18. kesäkuuta 2021 14:15 käyttäjältä jpupko jpupko | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

2. kesäkuuta 2021

Join the Vermont Lady Beetle BioBlitz (June 5-12, 2021)

With their multitude of colors and patterns, lady beetles catch the eye of even the most insect-averse. Lady beetles have also captured the attention of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies’ Vermont Atlas of Life team, after they discovered that many Vermont native lady beetle species have not been seen for decades. In response, the team has launched the Vermont Lady Beetle BioBlitz that will run June 5 to June 12, 2021, and they are looking for volunteers from all over the state to help rediscover these beautiful beetles.

A BioBlitz is a community science effort to record all the species within a designated area over a short time period. Anyone with a willingness to explore nearby habitats to find and photograph lady beetles is encouraged to join. No experience is necessary! The week-long survey will use iNaturalist.org to collect data. To participate, volunteers simply need to download the free iNaturalist smartphone app and join the project at https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/vermont-lady-beetle-bioblitz. Data collected from the Vermont Lady Beetle BioBlitz will be included in the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas, a statewide survey focused on rediscovering Vermont’s long lost lady beetle species.

“We had an old document which provided a snapshot of lady beetle life prior to 1976 and we quickly realized that many of the beetles reported hadn’t been seen in decades,” said VCE biologist Kent McFarland.

Alarm bells started ringing and the team went to work, sifting through historic lady beetle collections from the University of Vermont Zadock Thompson Natural History Collection, Middlebury College, Fairbanks Museum, and the Vermont Forest, Parks, and Recreation collection, as well as modern records from the Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist project and the Lost Ladybug Project at Cornell University. As the pieces fell into place, they realized that 12 of Vermont’s 35 native lady beetle species have been missing for decades.

This may come as a surprise to anyone who has watched armies of bright red and orange beetles invade their windowsills once the autumn wind catches a chill. However, most of these winter roommates are in fact an invasive species—the Asian Lady Beetle—thought to be partly responsible for the decline of native species.

Although it may appear that Asian Lady Beetles are all there is to see, a closer look will reveal other lady beetle species that often blend in. A friend to farmers and gardeners alike, these tiny insects feed primarily on aphids and other pests who can destroy crops. Healthy, diverse lady beetle populations keep these pests in check, making the decline and disappearance of some native species quite concerning.

The Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas was created to find answers to the questions regarding these missing species’ whereabouts. The Atlas’s main objective is to collect information about Vermont’s lady beetle species by conducting field surveys and revisiting older records in order to develop a deeper understanding of how they are faring. However, VCE cannot undertake this endeavor alone.

Lady beetles are tiny needles in the vast haystack of Vermont’s woods, fields, and gardens, making it difficult for a handful of biologists to successfully search alone. Following the lead of the Lost Ladybug Project, VCE is asking community scientists for help in searching for the missing species. Volunteers can search for lady beetles in gardens and potted plants, among weeds and shrubs, on tree trunks, and even on the outside of homes and outbuildings. The goal of the seven-day Bioblitz is to add as many photo-observations of lady beetles as possible to the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas.

While volunteers can start looking for lady beetles anytime, the official kick-off event is the bioblitz from June 5 - 12, 2021. Every lady beetle counts!

Anyone interested in learning more about the atlas should visit the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas website at http://val.vtecostudies.org/projects/lady-beetle-atlas/. For questions related to the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas, please contact Julia Pupko at jpupko@vtecostudies.org.

Lähetetty 2. kesäkuuta 2021 19:26 käyttäjältä kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

1. kesäkuuta 2021

May 2021 Photo-observation of the Month


A singing male Cerulean Warbler in Ira, VT. © Susan Elliott

Congratulations to Sue Elliott for winning the May 2021 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist. Sue’s photograph and audio recording of a sky-blue male Cerulean Warbler singing from a perch garnered the most faves this month.

This appropriately named and stunningly blue warbler is a rare breeder in northwestern Vermont with a buzzy, rising song that can sound quite similar to the much more common Black-throated Blue Warbler. Cerulean Warblers require mature deciduous forests with breaks in the canopy to breed, and are at the northern extent of their breeding range in Vermont. Further south in the core of their breeding range, this species has experienced startling population declines due in large part to habitat fragmentation from mountaintop removal mining operations and other forms of development and deforestation. Similar land-use changes on the Cerulean Warbler’s South American wintering grounds have occurred in recent decades, and this species is one of the many resident and migrant birds that benefit from shade-grown coffee shade-grown coffee plantations. When we are lucky enough to be graced by these bright blue world travelers in spring and summer, they often remain high up in the canopy, where their colors can’t be fully appreciated. This makes Sue’s photos all the more remarkable for their nearly eye-level perspective of this handsome singing male Cerulean Warbler!


With 25,481 observations submitted by 1,838 observers in May, it was very competitive. Click on the image above to see and explore all of the amazing observations.

Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking the ‘fave’ 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!

Lähetetty 1. kesäkuuta 2021 16:53 käyttäjältä nsharp nsharp | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

14. toukokuuta 2021

Join the West Virginia White Watch (April 1-June 6)

Spring is changing. The snow is melting earlier, wildflowers are blooming sooner, and trees are leafing out faster. How are West Virginia White butterflies faring? Join the West Virginia White Watch (April 1 - June 6)!

Help us monitor them here in Vermont. During spring, find a patch of rich, hardwood forest, count all the butterflies you find, and report them to eButterfly. Even if you don’t find any butterflies, zeros are important to report too! Can you break the early or late record for a West Virginia White sighting? Who will have the highest count? Can we find them in places they’ve never been recorded? We can’t wait to find out!

Steps for Monitoring West Virginia Whites

  1. Find a patch(es) of rich, hardwood forest.
  2. Beginning in April, visit your patch(es) and count all the West Virginia White butterflies you find. Photograph some as vouchers too. You count can be a walked transect or loop or an area. Record your start time and end time. Measure the approximate distance you walked or area you thoroughly searched. The more you visit your patches the better, but even once is helpful!
  3. Back home, log into our site called eButterfly and report your findings. Even if you don’t find any butterflies, zeros are important to report too! Please put your checklists in eButterfly where the location, your effort, and your counts can all be added to the data.

So far the checklists submitted with West Virginia White counts are all from Bennington County. There are some counts completed in the Champlain Islands with zeros reported. Reporting zeros is important too when you were hunting for them in what seemed like the right habitat.

See the data on eButterfly so far at: https://www.e-butterfly.org/ebapp/en/observations/explore?limit=100&page=1&location=Vermont%2C%20USA&province_id=58&start_date=2021-04-01&end_date=2021-05-14&species=Pieris%20virginiensis&view=observations&subview=list&sw_lat=42.72684993530946&sw_lng=-73.43790497922724&ne_lat=45.01665799286757&ne_lng=-71.46503895202369&center_lat=44.5588028&center_lng=-72.57784149999999&political=administrative_area_level_1&hasphoto=false

It looks like the weather is going to be perfect over the next few days so I hope many of you can get out and survey some forests!

Lähetetty 14. toukokuuta 2021 14:02 käyttäjältä kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 2 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

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