Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Vermont Bald Eagles Nest in Record Numbers in 2016

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Bald eagles had a record year for nesting in Vermont thanks to a mild spring.  Photo by John Hall, Vt Fish & Wildlife Dept.
MONTPELIER, Vt. – Bald eagles produced 34 successful young in Vermont in 2016, smashing the most recent record of 26 in 2013 according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.  The birds remain on the list of species protected under Vermont’s state endangered species law, but this strong year has conservationists hopeful for their continued recovery.   
This year also saw record nesting success for several other bird species monitored by biologists and volunteers in Vermont.  Peregrine falcons successfully raised at least 81 young birds in 2016, breaking the previous state record of 67, according to Audubon Vermont who monitors nesting peregrine falcons in partnership with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.
Vermont also welcomed 80 new birds to the state’s loon population, breaking the previous record of 69.  The Vermont Center for Ecostudies monitors the state’s nesting loons. 
The mild weather this spring likely helped boost numbers of all three birds, according to John Buck, migratory bird biologist with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.  “The cooperative weather provided a bump to many species this year, but the continued recovery of these species is the result of a long-term effort by our department and our partners to conserve the habitat these birds need to thrive,” said Buck.
Peregrine falcons and bald eagles declined in the Twentieth 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. Loons similarly faced dramatic declines as a result of shoreline development and human disturbance of their habitat. 
In 2005, peregrine falcons, loons, and osprey were removed from Vermont’s state endangered species list following years of conservation effort.  Bald eagles have recovered in most of the contental U.S. and have been removed from the federal endangered species list, but remain on Vermont’s state endangered species list as they continue to recover locally. 
“Vermonters have played a huge role in the recovery of these species,” said Margaret Fowle, biologist with Audubon Vermont.  “We work with a large number of citizen volunteers who help monitor nests, while the general public has aided in recovery efforts by maintaining a respectful distance from these birds during the critical nesting season.  Paddlers have been keeping away from nesting loons, and the climbing community has been helpful by respecting cliff closures and getting the word out about where the birds are.”
Vermonters can help researchers in their effort to conserve birds by donating online to the nongame wildlife fund at www.vtfishandwildlife.com or by purchasing a conservation license plate, including the new loon design plate

Monday, October 24, 2016

Vermont’s Moose Hunt Preliminary Total is 73

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. – The Vermont Fish &Wildlife Department says a preliminary count reveals hunters took 73 moose in this year’s regulated hunting seasons.
“A preliminary count on October 24 showed that hunters had reported 9 moose being taken by 27 hunters in the October 1-7 archery season and 64 moose taken by 141 hunters in the October 15-20 regular season,” said Cedric Alexander, Vermont’s moose project leader.  He said a few additional reports may still be sent in from other reporting agents.
Permits were issued for bulls-only in most of the 16 Wildlife Management Units open to moose hunting with a goal of increasing population growth.  Only in northern Vermont were hunters able to take moose of either sex.
The overall regular season hunter success rate reported to date is 45 percent, down slightly from 47 percent last year.  Either-sex permit holders enjoyed a 60 percent success rate while hunters restricted to harvesting only bulls averaged a much lower success rate of 37 percent.
A final report on Vermont’s moose hunting season will be available in January when all of the 2016 data have been received and reviewed.

New York: Salmon River Flow Returns to Normal

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

The temporary reduced water releases to the Salmon River from the Salmon River Reservoir by Brookfield Renewable in collaboration with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) were successful and the flows have been restored.

This has prompted DEC to open fishing in the Lower Fly Area in the Salmon River today as flows have been returned to 335 cubic feet for second (cfs), the regulated base flow level.

"DEC's fish hatchery system is a vital part of New York State's effort to sustain our popular and economically important recreational fisheries," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "The reduced water flows and closure helped ensure that adequate numbers of salmon entered the Salmon River Hatchery in order to provide eggs for salmon stocking that support Lake Ontario and tributary fisheries."

Drought conditions in the Salmon River watershed forced Brookfield Renewable in collaboration with DEC to reduce the amount of water released from the Salmon River Reservoir on September 29. In addition, DEC closed the Lower Fly Fishing Area on the Salmon River.

Flows are being increased due to this weekend's anticipated rainfall and its effect on reservoir water levels. Further, the Lower Fly Area is being reopened because the base flow can now be sustained and Salmon River Hatchery egg-take operations for Chinook salmon are complete.

The quarter-mile section of the Salmon River that comprises the Lower Fly Fishing Area is located immediately downstream of the Salmon River Hatchery and upstream of the County Rt. 52 Bridge in Altmar. The upper boundary of the area is downstream from Beaverdam Brook. This location is a staging area for various species of fish, including Chinook and Coho salmon, as they prepare to enter the hatchery via Beaverdam Brook. A 2007 study estimated the value of these fisheries to New York State's economy at $12.9 million.

Further information on these actions can be obtained by contacting the DEC Fisheries Unit in Cortland at fwfish7@dec.ny.gov or by phone at (607) 753-3095.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Through a Naturalist's Eyes

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Tides, Solunar Table, Fishing and Hunting Reports, Events Calendar and we take live e-mail too at waynewnri@yahoo.com

Tentatively Scheduled for 9:10am will be Author Michael J.Caduto to talk about his new Book !

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Enjoy some Stocked Pheasant Hunting

Posted by Wayne G. Barber
Small game hunting season is opens now !

Looking Back at Our History... the first recorded release of ring-necked pheasants took place in 1908. Pheasants, which could be produced on game farms, were brought into Connecticut to reduce hunting pressure on native gamebirds, which were declining due to population cycles and changing land uses. Today's pheasant program focuses on the release of adult birds during the fall hunting season and is funded solely by the sale of resident game bird conservation stamps and hunting licenses. Source: Conn. Deep

Take Advantage of this Great Weather

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

What a stretch of weather- We hope you were able to do some fishing. We would love to see some pics of your fishing trips and catches. This beauty of a striped bass (34") was caught on a tube and worm yesterday out of a kayak and released to become the next state record. Source: Conn. Deep

Lynx Spotted in Southern Vermont

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

LONDONDERRY, Vt – A lone Canada lynx was photographed in the southern Vermont town of Londonderry this June, marking the first confirmed evidence of lynx in Vermont outside the Northeast Kingdom in decades. Lynx are listed as 'threatened' under the federal Endangered Species Act and 'endangered' in the state of Vermont.

The lynx was photographed in the back yard of a rural Londonderry home. Biologists with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department confirmed the identification of the animal from the photos and visited the site to confirm the location of the photos.

Since that time, a wildlife camera photo has emerged that biologists suspect is also of a lynx in nearby Searsburg, Vermont. The photo was taken in May shortly before the Londonderry sighting, but was only recently noticed by the University of Vermont student who had set the camera trap out as part of her wildlife research. The animal was photographed while it was passing under Route 9 using a wildlife underpass created in partnership with Vermont Fish & Wildlife and VTrans.

"This was very exciting news for Vermont," said Chris Bernier, a wildlife biologist for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department who is in charge of lynx conservation. "The fact that this animal chose to travel such a long distance demonstrates why it is vitally important to maintain healthy and well-connected habitat in Vermont. We were thrilled to see the animal using a wildlife underpass that was created for the express purpose of allowing animals to pass safely under the road."

Male lynx are known to disperse long distances, so Bernier believes that there is a strong chance this may be the same lynx in both sightings. Biologists regularly monitor lynx habitat in the area and have not picked up other evidence of the animals locally, indicating that it is unlikely that lynx have established a resident population in southern Vermont. Lynx are strongly tied to large, unbroken forests of spruce and fir trees with high numbers of snowshoe hares, their primary prey species. Forests of this type are mostly found in Vermont in Essex County, and are less common elsewhere in the state.

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department actively monitors for lynx in the Nulheegan Basin of Conte National Wildlife Refuge and at the Bill Sladyk and Victory Basin Wildlife Management Areas in partnership with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Plum Creek Timber Co. Survey work in 2016 was unable to detect a resident population anywhere in Vermont despite increased survey efforts.

"Vermont has never had a large or stable lynx population. Records of lynx in Vermont were extremely rare even at the time of the earliest colonists, and have remained infrequent," said Bernier. "We believe lynx may have dispersed into Vermont following a boom in Maine's lynx population in the early 1990s. Maintaining appropriate habitat is vital to ensuring that lynx can exist in this state, even if only as transients."