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Northeast Kingdom
Island Pond,

Gateway to the
Silvio O. Conte
National Fish and Wildlife
Nulhegan Basin.

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Northeast Kingdom.
Northeast Kingdom, Island Pond, Vermont, Nulhegan Basin, Your Outdoor Vacation Destination in VT.
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Bird Watching
Northeast Kingdom

Nulhegan Basin (Essex County)
Extensive boreal habitat with associated forests and wetlands (26000 acres).

The Nulhegan Basin located here in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont is Vermont's largest IBA (Important Bird Area) comprising a mosaic of forest and wetland habitat types. The predominance of boreal habitats is typical of forest found further to the north and as such supports a number of species rarely found in Vermont. The IBA is centered around the Nulhegan Basin and stretches from Lewis Pond in the north to the Granby Stream and its tributaries to the south. Included in this area are the Moose, Ferdinand and the Yellow bogs. Vermont Natural community types include Lowland and Montane Spruce-Fir forests, Northern Hardwood Forest, Spruce-Fir-Tamarack and Black Spruce swamps, Dwarf Shrub and Black Spruce Woodland bogs and Intermediate Fen.

The extensive boreal habitat and associated wetlands are home to a number of rare species. Foremost is the state endangered Spruce Grouse whose largest population numbers are in this IBA. Common Loon, another state endangered species also nests on several ponds within the IBA. A number of priority species can also be found at this site including Gray Jay (S1), Cape May (S2), Wilson's (S1), Bay-breasted (S1), Palm and Tennessee (S2) warblers, Boreal Chickadee and Black-backed Woodpecker. Many of these species are found at few other locations in the state and represent a suite of birds usually found further to the north.

This IBA includes the Conte National Wildlife Refuge and Wenlock and West Mountain wildlife management areas as well as a number of other state owned lands. Much of this land was acquired through one of the largest land deals in Vermont. Controversy has revolved around management of the state lands and access to areas for timber harvesting. Surveys for Spruce Grouse are conducted every 2 years. Other issues include accidental shooting of Spruce grouse by hunters and invasive species.

Nulhegan Basin
Location: Lewis, Brighton, Ferdinand, Maidstone, Brunswick, and Bloomfield, Essex County
Bird Conservation Region: BCR 14
Latitude: 44:45
Longitude: 71:45

IBA Criteria:

Vermont Endangered and Threatened Species (Criteria 1)
Vermont High Conservation Priority Species (Criteria 2)
Single Species Concentrations (Criteria 4a)
Long-term Monitoring and/or Research
Land Ownership: Federal, state and private
Habitats: Lowland spruce-fir, bogs, peatlands
Land Use: Forestry, wildlife conservation, hunting/fishing, recreation
Threats: Timber extraction, development

Victory Bog Basin (Victory)
Extensive boreal habitat with associated forests and wetlands (1500 acres).

A large low relief basin with a mix of habitat types including large tracts of spruce-fir and northern hardwood forest, alder swamp, sedge meadow, and tamarack bog. The site contains the headwaters of the Moose River and includes Victory Basin Wildlife Management Area and Victory State Forest. Owned and managed by the State of Vermont, the site supports a number of Natural Community types including Lowland Spruce-Fir and Northern Hardwood forest, Northern White Cedar, Spruce-Fir-Tamarack and Black Spruce swamp, and Dwarf Shrub and Black Spruce Woodland bog.

The boreal forests and wetlands of Victory Bog Basin support a number of representative boreal species. High on this list are two species of special concern, Gray Jay (S1) and Black-backed Woodpecker. Other species associated with this habitat type include Boreal Chickadee, Rusty Blackbird (S3) and Lincoln's Sparrow. The various wetland habitat types support American Bittern (S3), and Virginia Rail as well as the occasional Northern Harrier (S2). Numerous warblers are seen and expected to occasionally breed here. These include Yellow-rumped, Cape May (S2), Wilson's (S2) and Bay-breasted warbler (S2). The habitat is suitable for the state endangered Spruce Grouse and this area has been suggested as a reintroduction site for this species.

This remote area has stayed largely pristine other than the forestry practices coordinated by the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife and Forest, Parks and Recreation. Long-term research on Gray Jays has been conducted along with surveys for Black-backed Woodpecker. Invasive species may become a problem in the wetland areas and recreational snowmobile use may have some impacts on resident boreal species although this has not been documented.

Victory Bog Basin
Location: Victory, Essex County
Bird Conservation Region: BCR 14
Size: 21,350 Acres
Latitude: 44:30
Longitude: 71:50

IBA Criteria:

Vermont High Conservation Priority Species (Criteria 2)
Rare, Unique or Representative Habitat (Criteria 3)
Long-term Monitoring and/or Research(Criteria 5)
Land Ownership: State
Habitats: Spruce-Fir and Northern Hardwood Forest, Swamp, Marsh
Land Use: Wildlife conservation/management, hunting, Forestry
Threats: Invasive/non-native species

South Bay Wildlife Management Area (Orleans County)
Lake and associated wetlands (1500 acres).

South Bay WMA is located at the southern end of Lake Memphremagog where both the Black and Barton rivers empty into the lake. The two rivers meander slowly through lowland forest creating numerous oxbows and sloughs and an extensive and diverse wetland complex. This IBA also contains agricultural fields and early successional forest. Vermont Natural Community types include Silver Maple-Ostrich Fern Riverine Floodplain Forest, Red Maple-Northern White Cedar, Alluvial Shrub, Sweet Gale Shoreline and Buttonbush swamp and Cattail, Deep Broadleaf, Wild Rice and Deep Bulrush marsh.

The juxtaposition of this diverse wetland ecosystem next to Lake Memphemagog make this an ideal location for breeding and migrating waterfowl. Black Duck, Mallard, Blue and Green-winged teal, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler and Gadwall have all been documented here in numbers. The marshes support a number of priority species including the only site outside of the Champlain Valley for the state threatened Black Tern. Other marsh species include Pied-billed Grebe (S2), Least Bittern (S2), Sora (S2), Common Moorhen (S2) and American Bittern (S3). Within the floodplain forest Blue-gray Gnatcatchers (S3) and Willow Flycatcher can be regularly found and on occasion Yellow-throated Vireo.

South Bay WMA is owned and managed by the state of Vermont. Both Black Terns and many of the marshbirds are monitored here through the Vermont Marshbird Monitoring Program. Threats include human disturbance primarily by fishermen, pollution from the railroad, the city of Newport and agricultural run-off, and invasive species such as Purple Loosestrife, Japanese Knotweed and Fragmites.

South Bay Wildlife Management Area
Location: Coventry and Newport, Orleans County
Bird Conservation Region: BCR 14
Size: 1641 Acres
Latitude: 44:55
Longitude: 72:12

IBA Criteria:

Vermont Endangered and Threatened Species (Criteria 1)
Vermont High Conservation Priority Species (Criteria 2)
Rare, Unique or Representative Habitat (Criteria 3)
Long-term Monitoring and/or Research(Criteria 5)
Land Ownership: State
Habitats: Floodplain forest, marsh, swamp, field
Land Use: Wildlife conservation, hunting, fishing, recreation
Threats: Invasive species, pollution, human disturbance
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