Journal archives for August 2018

01 August, 2018

July 2018 Photo-observation of the Month

Congratulations to Shirley Zundell for winning the July 2018 iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month. The image of an adult Peregrine Falcon in its eyrie with two chicks was the most popular photo-observation. Shirley snapped the image from a distance as she completed a nest monitoring survey.

Last year, Peregrine Falcons successfully raised at least 63 young birds, according to Audubon Vermont who monitors nesting Peregrine Falcons in partnership with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. This is similar to nesting success from previous years, though down slightly from a record high in 2016. You can view a map on Vermont eBird of Peregrine Falcon sightings from this summer and add your own.

Peregrine Falcons declined in the 20th century nationwide due to loss of habitat, disturbance to nests, and the effects of the pesticide DDT. Laws such as the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and a ban on DDT have aided in the recovery of these birds. In 2005, Peregrine Falcons were removed from Vermont’s state endangered species list following years of conservation effort.

Visit iNaturalist Vermont, and you can vote for the winner this month by clicking ‘fav’ 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!

Posted on 01 August, 2018 17:03 by kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 0 comments | Leave a comment

03 August, 2018

Vermont Naturalists Find Over 370 Species During National Moth Week

Volunteer naturalists from across Vermont uploaded over 1,200 images of moths comprising more than 370 species during National Moth Week. This year's count was bolstered by the Montpelier Bioblitz 2018, which kicked off the week. Moth experts Hugh McGuinness, Michael Sabourin, Joanne Russo, and others on the bioblitz team recorded nearly 320 moth species in Montpelier during the first two days. Nearly 130 volunteers added moth observations during the week. The number of species will likely continue to rise as experts pore over the data in coming weeks.

National Moth Week celebrates the beauty, life cycles, and habitats of moths. Held worldwide during the last full week of July, National Moth Week offers everyone, everywhere a unique opportunity to become a citizen scientist and contribute information about moths. Through partnerships with major online biological data depositories, like the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist, participants help map moth distribution and provide needed information on other life history aspects around the globe.

The fun doesn't begin and end with National Moth Week. Here at VCE, with the aid of many volunteers across Vermont, we map moth distribution throughout the year. Since 2013, professional biologists and volunteer naturalists have contributed moth observations to the Vermont Atlas of Life through our iNaturalist project. Many of us turn on special lights in our backyards on summer nights to find hundreds of moths and other insects gathering on white sheets, hunt fields and forest for day-flying moths, and place rotten fruit bait out to attract other moths. Many of these moths can be identified from good photographs (although some are impossible without dissection and examination under a microscope). With today’s amazing digital photography technology, coupled with the newer Peterson’s Field Guide to Northeastern Moths and web sites like iNaturalistBugGuideMoth Photographers Group, or Moths of Eastern North America Facebook Group, moth watching (aka mothing) has become increasingly popular.

Moth watchers here in Vermont have added nearly 100 new species to the Vermont checklist via the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist and have documented 1,248 species across the state so far. What’s even more amazing is that we’ve recorded over 32,000 observations, which help to understand their phenology, habitat use and range in Vermont like never before.

Since the 1995 landmark publication Moths and Butterflies of Vermont: A Faunal Checklist, nearly 400 new moth species have been found in Vermont thanks to the tireless efforts of both professional and amateur lepidopterists. Preliminary results show us that there are now over 2,200 species of moths known from Vermont. And, there are likely many more awaiting our discovery.

We encourage you to add your photographs of moths too. Finding moths can be as simple as finding them flying about during the day or leaving a porch light on and checking it after dark. Serious moth aficionados use special lights and baits to attract them. Check out this short introduction on how to start mothing. Its easy and fun!

Read this post on the VCE Blog to see a table with links to all the great data!

Posted on 03 August, 2018 20:43 by kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 0 comments | Leave a comment

31 August, 2018

August 2018 Photo-observation of the Month

Congratulations to Kyle Tansley for winning the August 2018 Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist photo-observation of the month. The images of a Pileated Woodpecker feeding recently fledged young was the most popular photo-observation.

Assuming the Ivory-billed Woodpecker to be extinct, the Pileated is North America's largest woodpecker. The Pileated has increased in numbers markedly in the last 50 years according to the Breeding Bird Survey and the Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas. Following the extensive logging of the eastern forests in the 1800s, this bird became quite scarce. The Pileated Woodpecker can most easily be located by the loud calls and drumming that it gives frequently during the spring and early summer. It is a surprisingly silent bird at other times of the year. The hammering it makes when feeding is louder and carries farther than that of other woodpeckers. The presence of Pileated Woodpeckers in an area is often revealed by their distinctive rectangular feeding holes with a pile of fresh chips usually found below. Check out the live map of sightings at Vermont eBird and submit yours too.

Visit iNaturalist Vermont, and you can vote for the winner this month by clicking ‘fav’ 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!

Posted on 31 August, 2018 20:46 by kpmcfarland kpmcfarland | 0 comments | Leave a comment