On March 23, 2018 Mark Bessette surprised the Vermont iNaturalist community. Mark had snapped some photographs of an unusual-looking bird that he dubbed, “Elvis, the juvenile bald eagle.” The bird appeared to have a black wig that reminded Mark of the “King of Rock and Roll,” Elvis Presley. The iNaturalist community was quick to weigh in on the real identity of this bird. To seasoned birders, it easily stood out as a misplaced Crested Caracara.
From day one when eBirders reported an incredible 73 bird species on a cold winter day to a Say’s Phoebe, a rare visitor found in late November, Vermont birders scoured the state to discover as many bird species as possible during the 9th annual Vermont eBird County Quest, and set some records along the way.
Fred (Pat) Pratt of Team Pipit completed an extraordinary birding feat on November 25, notching his 150th species of 2019 in Bennington County, with a pair of Northern Shovelers. This discovery earned Pat the 14th Star Award, as the first birder ever to record 150 species in all 14 Vermont counties during a single calendar year. Congratulations to Team Pipit for a truly inspiring accomplishment!