eNews | September 2020
Mallards in fall / © K.P. McFarland
A Field Guide to September
One morning, you wake to a nip in the air, and notice subtle changes in the quality of the light. Suddenly, it’s September. High in the sky, Broad-winged Hawks kettle and Common Nighthawks peent as they whirl southward. And high in the trees, Fall Webworms busily build their sticky hammocks and munch on late-summer leaves. Down at eye-level, butterflies like Monarchs and Painted Ladies glide by on their way to warmer climes. There's a lot going on this time of year, if you know where to look. Here is your field guide to life on the move, and some natural history tidbits to discover this fall.
Vermont Vernal Pool Monitoring Program
(VPMon) 2020 Post-season Report
This is but one of many infographics you'll find in the 2020 VPMon Post-season Report
The results are in! VPMon Coordinator Kevin Tolan presents the 2020 VPMon end-of-season report in an interesting, interactive story map. Scroll through to find GIS base maps embedded with actual data, beautiful images from the field, and graphics chock-full of information. Click here to view the report.
Meadows Abloom:
Fall Wildflowers and Their Pollinators
September 10, 2020 | 12-1 p.m.
Bombus terricola nectaring Joe-Pye Weed / © K.P. McFarland
In late summer and early fall, meadows come alive with wildflowers and insects. From graceful pink Joe-Pye Weed that blooms in mid-August to New England Aster, one of the last spectacles of the year, there is so much to see and enjoy in the fields near your home–maybe even right in your own backyard. Liz Thompson of Vermont Land Trust and VCE's Kent McFarland will introduce you to the flowers and insects of late summer, and the fascinating interactions between them–from pollination to the nurturing of young to predation. They’ll also share tips for making your own yard a more pollinator-friendly place. Mills Riverside Park in Jericho, a site rich with wildflowers, will be a featured locality. Follow the link below for more information and to sign up!
Bird-Friendly Maple Study
An Update from the Sugarbushes
Peaceful stream running through a sugarbush on the flank of Mt. Mansfield / © Sam Blair
"Today has been a rainy, wet day. The late-summer sound of a single grasshopper singing to the evening is faint through the patter and drip of raindrops on the roof. I’m sitting in bed, much cozier and happier than I would have been out in the field, reflecting on what has been a summer full of growth and meaningful work. The question I’m asking myself is this: what can I say about the work of VCE, and the Bird-friendly Maple Efficacy Study in particular, that I wouldn’t have been able to say at the beginning of this summer?"

Thus begins Sam Blair's second update as a seasonal field biologist helping Steve Faccio with VCE’s Bird-friendly Maple Efficacy Study. VCE is collaborating with Audubon Vermont to study the effectiveness of their Bird-friendly Maple Project (BFM), a market-based conservation program which seeks to promote maple syrup producers who make forest management decisions with birds in mind. Additionally, this study will be part of a larger project by University of Vermont professors Brendan Fisher, Tony D’Amato, and Rachelle Gould–and former VCE staffer-turned-UVM-grad-student Liza Morse–who will not only investigate how the intensity of maple sugar production affects biodiversity, but will assess its impact on ecosystem services (such as carbon sequestration and resistance to invasive species) while investigating the socio-economic outcomes of maple production at different scales. Learn more about the project and see photos from the field in Sam's blog.
For the Love of Loons
© Lee Cordner
Common Loon / © Lee Cordner
Soon, this summer's loon chicks (in Vermont, that's 75 and counting!) will take to the skies on their first migratory flight to the Atlantic Ocean. As all of "our" beloved loons prepare for their annual fall voyage, VCE staff and volunteers continue to monitor and rescue them from an array of hazards like fishing line entanglements, crash landings–and in the coming months–dangerous lake ice strandings. Your support will help us continue our work with these iconic birds to ensure a future filled with yodels, tremolos, hoots, and wails. Please contribute to the Vermont Loon Conservation Project today.

You can donate securely online (dedicate your gift to "Loons") or send a check to:
VCE, PO Box 420, Norwich, VT 05055
Thank you!
Outdoor Radio:
Little Bee on a White Flower
Andrena parnassiae is a rare species of bee that only feeds on one plant, fen grass-of-Parnassus / © K.P. McFarland
In this episode of Outdoor Radio, hosts Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra are in Strafford, Vermont looking for a tiny, rare species of bee–and the only plant that it feeds on, which is equally rare in this state–with VCE's Spencer Hardy (Vermont Wild Bee Survey coordinator and biologist). Listen in to learn about this fascinating fen grass-of-Parnassus specialist (for example, adults of this species don't emerge from their underground chambers until its host plant blooms!). Listen to the show and view a slideshow of incredible photos on VPR's website.

VCE and Vermont Public Radio unite the sounds and science of nature in our monthly feature aired on the 3rd Wednesday of every month at 6:20 PM, and again on Thursday at 7:50 AM. You can also listen to every episode online on VCE's website. Frogs and ferns, finches and fishanything is fair game for co-hosts Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra. Join us to explore and uncover some of the mysteries of our natural world.
Photo-observation of the Month
Zebra Clubtail by Joshua Lincoln
Zebra Clubtail / © Joshua Lincoln (iNaturalist) licensed under CC-BY-NC
Congratulations to Joshua Lincoln for winning the August 2020 Photo-observation of the Month! His image of a perched Zebra Clubtail (Stylurus scudderi) garnered the most votes. A robust dragonfly up to two and a half inches long, it is named after the striped body and well-developed club at the end of its tail. Thanks to efforts by the Vermont Damselfly and Dragonfly Atlas, this dragonfly is turning out to be more common in Vermont than once believed. Its scattered distribution includes rivers or streams with abundant sandy or silty bottoms.

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 discoveriesand you could be a winner!
The Vermont Center for Ecostudies promotes wildlife conservation across the Americas using the combined strength of scientific research and citizen engagement. Find us online at: vtecostudies.org