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And closer to sea level...a little more than 97ft above sea level, 3 Common Terns back at Popasquash Island and 17 on Rock Island as of Friday. A little balmier conditions on the lake with...sun and 60 degrees in St. Albans Bay.

-----Original Message-----
From: Vermont Birds [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Chris Rimmer
Sent: Friday, April 29, 2016 10:31 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [VTBIRD] Mansfield

Kent McFarland, John Loyd and I spent yesterday on the Mt. Mansfield ridgeline, prepping for our upcoming field season. With the toll road not yet open and a pile of gear to transport up there, we were whisked up the ski trails on a monster Snowcat, courtesy of the Stowe Mountain Resort.
Snow conditions on the ridgeline are at what might be an historic low for the date, with only 24" at the fabled snow stake <http://www.uvm.edu/skivt-l/?Page=depths.php> and patches of bare ground in more exposed areas.

Our goal was to place 10 automated recording devices (ARDs) and 3 time-lapse cameras (phenocams) at 200-250 yard intervals across the ridgeline, in advance of the main arrival of migrants, of which there were precious few yesterday. Despite relatively mild temperatures that approached 40F degrees and light NW winds, we encountered only 3 recent arrivals - 2 Winter Wrens that sang briefly along the Amherst Trail and a single junco in the uppermost parking lot. Pine Siskins were the most common species, with several groups of 2-5 individuals. Two individual flyover Bohemian Waxwings were a surprise - our first in 25 years studying Mansfield's birds (though we're typically only there May-September...). We had more evidence of mammalian than avian life on the ridgeline, with tracks of snowshoe hare, bobcat, moose, red squirrel, and red-backed vole.

The ARDs and phenocams are a new element of VCE's long-term studies on Mansfield, as we seek to investigate the impacts of climate change on the mountain's breeding bird populations. The ARDs will document the arrival of each species and the build-up of numbers, while phenocams will document snowmelt and leaf-out of heartleaf paper birch and mountain ash. We'll also sample the emergence of insects and spiders, and correlate all of this with nesting phenology, which we'll measure via the breeding condition of birds we capture in our mist nets. Our overall goal is to determine whether 'phenological mismatches' occur, in 2016 and/or in years to come, as the timing of avian breeding and arthropod prey abundance become (as preliminary evidence indicates elsewhere) increasingly misaligned.

We hope to get an early start on our annual mist netting in two weeks. If Bicknell's Thrush are back by then, it will be an all-time early record.
I'm putting the chances at < 50:50.

Chris

________________________

Chris Rimmer
Vermont Center for Ecostudies
PO Box 420 | Norwich, Vermont 05055
802.649.1431 x1
http://vtecostudies.org/

<http://vtecostudies.org/>