eNews | August 2022
Mount Mansfield Ridgeline © Emily Anderson
A Field Guide to August
FEAR NOT—we’ve still got plenty of summer here in Vermont and points north. So in this edition of VCE’s monthly field guide to nature, we’ll celebrate a few summer-breeding species. But we’ll also alert you to animals on the move. Yeah, the “M-word.” If you’re not quite ready for fall migration, well, sorry…too late.

Click here to read the full field guide to August.
VCE’s Bicknell’s Thrush Work Recognized with Prestigious Award

Left: Margaret Morse Nice in her field finery observing a Field Sparrow nest; photo © Al Fenn 1956. Right: Chris Rimmer at the outset of a backpacking trek into Cuba’s remote Bayamesa mountain range, February 2019.
VCE was recently recognized for its hemispheric body of work on Bicknell's Thrush, as the Wilson Ornithological Society awarded Chris Rimmer its Margaret Morse Nice Medal at the society’s annual meeting in Santa Fe, NM. This prestigious lifetime achievement award bears testament to VCE’s dedicated pursuit of the ecology and conservation of this rare, range-restricted songbird. Following Nice’s tried and true approach of examining every possible facet of BITH life history, behavior, and ecology, Rimmer and the VCE team have scoured mountaintop forests from Canada, New England, and New York to Hispaniola, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.

Read the full article here.
Non-Locals Surprise Banders on Mansfield as VCE Winds Down Season #31
Two avian surprises in VCE’s mist nets on Mt. Mansfield: our first-ever American Woodcock (left) and only our second Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flicker capture (right). 27 July 2022 © Michael Sargent
Vermont Public joined our banding team on the mountain in late July for some thrushy-fun! Unfortunately, no adult BITHs with backpacks were capturedonly a couple of juveniles. However, we had some pleasant surprises, like an American Woodcock and Northern Flicker. After one last excursion to the mountain, our 31st summer season on Mansfield will draw to a close. Thanks to everyone who reads our updates and supports our work here on Mansfield, and be on the lookout for our season wrap-up!

Click here to read the full story on our blog.

You can also support us and work like this by donating to VCE. We can't thank you all enough for your generous contributions!
No Time Like the Present:
Community Science Edition
A breakdown of observations into groups of organisms created by Mike Hallworth
The dog days of summer offer an excellent opportunity to find species you’ve never seen before! It may seem relatively quiet across Vermont right now, especially since many birds have stopped singing, but more organisms are active now than at any other time of year. The first week of August is when the greatest number of species are reported to iNaturalist and other community science platforms. Be sure to submit your observations to the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist and let us know how many species are new to you. 
VCE Biologists Co-author Updated Hispaniolan Field Guide
Cover of the updated field guide: Birds of the Dominican Republic and Haiti © National Aviary
Our very own Chris Rimmer and Kent McFarland are co-authors with Dr. Steve Latta of the recently released Field Guide to the Birds of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Originally published in 2006, this revision contains over 300 new species accounts. This guide is sure to captivate novice birders and lifelong enthusiasts alike with its detailed descriptions, updated range maps, and 150+ stunning new illustrations from artist Dana Gardner. 

Check it out here. 
VCE Hosts First Community Science
Teacher Workshop
VCE Director of Conservation Science Ryan Rebozo works with Becky Proulx and Matt Dragon on plant species richness quadrats in Hartford, VT © Ryan Rebozo
Community science has a place in just about everything VCE does, and we are proud to say that we have officially extended our reach to science teachers! We hosted our first Community Science Teacher Workshop this past month, providing local educators with the skills to help explore natural history questions in their classrooms.

Click here to read the full article.
ECO AmeriCorps Members Reflect on Their
Time at VCE
Abbie Castriotta walks along a powerline to complete pollinator surveys. © Abbie Castriotta
August is a bittersweet month for many reasons, including the end of our ECO AmeriCorps members' service terms. In this blog post, ECO members Abbie Castriotta and Julia Pupko reflect on their time at VCE. Abbie has been involved with multiple invertebrate studies and even created regional field guides for pollinators and milkweed specialist insects. Julia's work on the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas led her to survey sites across Vermont to document the state's lady beetles, resulting in several new lady beetle species discoveries. We at VCE are incredibly grateful for their creativity and hard work and wish them best of luck in their next endeavors.

Read the article here.
Photo-observation of the Month
American Mink
by hobiecat
A group of American Mink © hobiecat
Congratulations to iNaturalist user hobiecat for winning the July 2022 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! Their photo of a playful band of American Mink received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month. Visit the VCE Blog for more info and view fantastic images of the runners-up in the July 2022 Photo-observation of the Month!

Vermonters seem to have a particular fondness for the American Mink, as this is the 3rd time a photo of this charismatic species has won the photo-observation of the month contest! This series of images, which presumably shows a mink family, demonstrates how mink kits will stay with their mother until the fall. During this time, they'll often play together, and this play behavior helps them develop many skills that will be necessary when they head out on their own. Mink are aggressive carnivores seeking out prey on land and in the water. They’ll prey on muskrats, rabbits, small rodents, waterfowl, birds, crayfish, insects, and fish. They're excellent swimmers, allowing them to feed in and along rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds.

Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist, where 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!
The Vermont Center for Ecostudies promotes wildlife conservation across the Americas using the combined strength of scientific research and community engagement. Find us online at vtecostudies.org