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Recent Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Author: Peter Kasper

See the following link information concerning the Current Status of Access to Fermilab
Entries from past years .. '99 '00 '01 '02 '03 '04 '05 '06 '07 '08 '09 '10 '12
and past months .. Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Year List: Contains the list of birds seen so far this year.
Seasonal List: The list of birds recorded on site at this time of year.
Recent entries ...Mar 29Mar 27Mar 25Mar 22Mar 21Mar 18Mar 15Mar 12
Feb 15Feb 12Feb 8Feb 5Feb 1Jan 30Jan 29Jan 25
Jan 21Jan 18Jan 14Jan 11Jan 8Jan 6Dec 28Dec 20
Dec 14Dec 10Dec 7Dec 4Nov 30Nov 26Nov 23Nov 21

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Another cool start to the morning with little improvement as the day progressed. The wind again was a major factor. The first bird of the morning was an immature Bald Eagle at the north end of Lake Law. There again appeared to be a dip in the quantity of waterfowl from a few days ago. The wind made it very uncomfortable to view birds on A.E. Sea and Lake Law, but we did manage Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Hooded Mergansers, Common Mergansers and Red-breasted Mergansers. Added inside the Ring area were Redhead, Common Goldeneye and Ruddy Duck. The bird of the day was a Common Loon spotted by Peter later on Lake Law. Some other birds found were Double-crested Cormorant, Green-winged Teal, American Kestrel, Great Horned Owl, Hairy Woodpecker, and Horned Lark. One of the more interesting sightings that I found later was a gimpy Sandhill Crane wading the north end of A.E. Sea. One of its legs appeared to be swollen at the joint causing it to limp as it walked then twitching this leg as if trying to shake free from something (possibly fish line). Dave

Friday, March 27, 2015

This morning Peter spotted the first Great Egret of the year at Swan Lake on his way to work. Sounds like there was still a good number of waterfowl around like Wednesday according to Glenn's Friday list with highlights of six Canvasbacks (again on A.E. Sea), more Greater Scaup (also on A.E. Sea) and several Red-breasted Mergansers (Lake Law). It appears Great Blue Herons are beginning to show up more regularly; Glenn had four today. Raptors were well represented with a Northern Harrier, American Kestrel and three Great Horned Owls including the female on the Buffalo Savanna nest. Dave

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

This morning it was cool, windy, and overcast with a touch of fog. Conditions did not improve throughout the morning mostly due to the wind. Lake Law had about 100 Common Mergansers, about 35 Ring-necked Ducks, 10-15 Hooded Mergansers, several Lesser Scaup and an American Coot. At the water inlet from Lake Law, A.E. Sea had a pair of Blue-winged Teal and a pair of American Black Ducks along with many Mallards. I had another pleasant hike in the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes Region. There was quite a bit of activity but again nothing remarkable. Additional waterfowl found in A.E. Sea included Gadwall and Greater Scaup. All these lakes were well above normal levels with Lake Law almost over its banks in the southeast corner and the Sea of Evanescence the highest I have ever seen it. Interestingly, Evanescence had large numbers of divers and just about no dabblers. Todays list increased by Bufflehead and Common Goldeneye here. Among the singing birds in the Sparrow Hedge were American Robins, Song Sparrows, Northern Cardinals, Red-winged Blackbirds and a lone Fox Sparrow. Some of the other birds found in the area were Hairy Woodpecker (pair in Owl Nest Woods), American Tree Sparrows (again large numbers at south end of A.E. Sea), Common Grackle (Pair), and a Brown-headed Cowbird. Main Ring Lake again had a low bird count but a Redhead added to the days waterfowl list. Several Horned Larks were nearby on Ring Road. Swenson Road horse paddock produced a male Green-winged Teal. As I approached Great Horned Owl nest 1 inside the Ring, the male flushed overhead while the female observed me from around her tail. Nothing new was found in the Injector Moats but a male American Kestrel was in the area. Indian Creek woods had several Wood Ducks, a flyover Rusty Blackbird and about ten low flying Sandhill Cranes. Glenn also added three Canvasbacks (A.E. Sea) and seven Ruddy Ducks to today's Waterfowl list. Dave

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Again it was a cool start to the morning but this time it did not warm up. As a matter of fact the wind seemed to make it cooler throughout the morning, depending upon your location. We were unpleasantly surprised to see the waterfowl numbers well down from recent visits even though all the waters of the Lab were now open. Dusaf provided Mallards, Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, and Green-winged Teal. At Lake Law we added Common Merganser and Hooded Merganser. As we viewed the sparse birds in Main Ring Lake, a juvenile Peregrine Falcon zoomed low across the lake from over our shoulders. It was difficult to follow, as falcons can be, but it was made more difficult by the background of trees on the opposite side of the lake. It then climbed and flew up and away from us to the west. The Main Injector Moat provided an American Coot and some additional divers including Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, and Bufflehead. The north end of A.E. Sea again had a large number of Mallards and a pair of both Wood Ducks and American Black Ducks. A pair of American Kestrels were observed going in and out of a kestrel box on the northern portion of the Main Injector Ring. This area also produced a flyby Sharp-shinned Hawk. Out of a fairly large flock of blackbirds far out in a field along East Wilson Rd., only Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles could be confirmed. Eastern Meadowlarks could also be heard nearby. Denis' group added some interesting birds including Double-crested Cormorant (new), Greater Scaup, Eastern Phoebe (new), American Crow, Tree Swallow (new), Brown Creeper, and Eastern Bluebird. Dave

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Glen came up with some good birds while we were away around the beginning of the month. Here's a list of the highlights. On Feb. 27th he had an immature Bald Eagle and on March 6th a Lapland Longspur. On Mar. 8th he had an impressive list with highlights including a Peregrine Falcon (Wilson Hall area), a couple of American Kestrels (Main Ring and Injector areas) and, in the Village, a Red-breasted Nuthatch, a Brown Creeper, Cedar Waxwings and Pine Siskins. Dave

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Another morning with freezing temps to start but warming rather quickly. The minimal wind and mostly sunny start helped matters. The north end of A.E. Sea was mostly open and contained the largest group of Mallards I have seen this year. The west side of Lake Law had a fair-sized opening and contained over 50 Common Mergansers. A walk around the Sparrow Hedge and Lakes area showed a fair amount of bird activity although nothing too exciting was found. Many Red-winged Blackbirds were singing to stake their claim to a territory. A small opening on A.E. Sea produced several Ring-necked Ducks and a couple of female Buffleheads. There was a good number of Song Sparrows along the route and at the south end of A.E. Sea there were several large groups of American Tree Sparrows. This area also had several very active Killdeer. The Sea of Evanescence still had a thin layer of ice cover and no birds. A couple of American Crows called as they flew over while American Robins were well represented here and elsewhere around the Lab. Main Ring Lake was about 3/4 open. Added here were Wood Ducks (new), Gadwall, Northern Shovelers (new), Green-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, Red-breasted Mergansers (new), Ruddy Ducks and American Coots. Redheads were added at the Main Injector Moat and Common Goldeneye were added at a very small opening in Casey's Pond. Another male Northern Harrier was hunting the unburned area of the Main Ring Prairie. All woodlots visited were still quiet except for the regular woodpeckers and nuthatches and several singing Northern Cardinals. Finally, both Great Horned Owl nests were still active with both females sitting quite high most likely indicating hatched young. Marcia and Gail had much the same to report. In addition, they found some Greater Scaup (new) and Hooded Mergansers. Other new additions were Eastern Meadowlark and American Woodcock (heard). Peter also heard one recently. Dave

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The morning started at just below freezing but soon warmed into the 50's. This combined with mostly sunny skies made for a pleasant morning. Even with the recent warm weather, most ponds and lakes remain just about completely frozen over. The open waters of Main Ring Lake and the Injector Moats, however, did produce a nice selection of waterfowl (mostly divers). Main Ring Lake produced Gadwall (new), Green-winged Teal (new), American Black Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Ruddy Duck (new), and American Coot (new). Added at the Main Injector Moat was Canvasback, Redhead and Ring-necked Duck. The first Eastern Bluebird of the year was found at the Buffalo Savanna while checking out the Great Horned Owl nest. The bird of the day was a nicely marked Rough-legged Hawk along East Wilson Rd. A Red-tailed Hawk was found working on a nest but, more interestingly, a pair of Cooper's Hawks were also working on a nest (which is quite early). A brief walk through the Big Woods only produced White-breasted Nuthatches and several common woodpeckers including a Hairy Woodpecker. Some other birds found during the morning were American Kestrels (2), Killdeer, Horned Larks, Red-winged Blackbirds (everywhere), Common Grackles (new), and Brown-headed Cowbirds (new). Denis' group added Cackling Goose (new), and Greater White-fronted Goose to the days list later in the day on Main Ring Lake. He also reported lots of Sandhill Crane flyovers. Dave

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The morning started out mildly cool but warmed quickly to above the normal range of temps. Mild winds and sunny skies added to the pleasant morning. Searching for the shrike near Lake Law was unsuccessful but a singing Northern Cardinal and several Red-winged Blackbirds (new) were found in its place. The recent mild temps still have not opened most of the lakes. All the waterfowl still remain in Main Ring Lake and the Injector Moats. Main Ring Lake, still with only a small open area, produced Common Goldeneye (75- 80), Common Mergansers (15-20), Lesser Scaup (new - about 20) and a fly-in Trumpeter Swan. Added at the Main Injector Moat were Canvasbacks (2), Redheads (about 12) and Ring-necked Ducks (12). In the Garden Club the House Sparrows were staking claims for openings in the bird houses. More singing Northern Cardinals were joined by several singing American Robins and a flyover Killdeer (new) also in the Garden Club. The woodlots are still not showing much activity except for more singing cardinals and a fair number of White- breasted Nuthatches. Some Horned Larks still are along the roads in a few areas. The Great Horned Owl nest inside the Main Ring is still active with the female quite alert while the male was nearby. The second Great Horned Owl nest of the year is the old standby inside the Buffalo Savanna. The owls have not used it for a few years. Sandhill Cranes were reported by a couple of the restoration volunteers over the last two days. Dave

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Extremely cold conditions this morning (about 20 deg below normal) limited our birding activity. Luckily the wind was not at the gale forces of yesterday. The "East Side" Northern Shrike was again in the area of Owl's Nest Woods, but the "West Side" bird was not found in the Main Injector Area. Main Ring Lake's ice was once again zipped up leaving no waterfowl habitat. There was a nice mix, though small, of divers on the Main Injector Moat including two Canvasbacks, about fifteen Redheads, and a few each Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. Both groups of feeders again had the typical mix of winter birds. In addition, the Roads and Grounds feeders had four White-throated Sparrows (a record count for the year). Leaving these feeders we found an American Kestrel across from the Fire Station. We noted that the Horned Larks, in many instances, are breaking up into smaller groups and, in many cases, starting to pair up. Hopefully, this is a sign of approaching spring-like conditions. Denis' crew had a Rough-legged Hawk again in the Main Ring and a Sharp-shinned Hawk in the pines near Roads and Grounds. They also found the first Wilson's Snipe of the year and actually the first for the winter. Actually, Marcia and Gail came up with the first Canvasbacks on Thursday along with 20 Redheads during their monitoring session. Dave

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Weather conditions were quite nice this morning. It was overcast with normal temps and moderate winds that did not have much negative effect. The highlight of the morning was the confirmation of two Northern Shrikes in the Lab. The first was the Lakes Region one seen just south of Lake Law. Later the second was found north of the Main Injector area. We thought there were two but could never find both in the same day. Main Ring Lake, though having a larger open area, only had a half dozen Common Mergansers within. A couple of small flocks (less than 20 each) of Horned Larks were again found along the Ring and Injector roads. The Main Injector Moat produced 17 Redheads in a group. The Great Horned Owl nest inside the Ring is looking good with the female sitting higher due to the warmer weather. The male was again nearby. A third Great Horned Owl was found in another nearby woodlot. Most woodlots visited were very quiet except for woodpeckers, most being Red-bellied Woodpeckers, with several Downy Woodpeckers and two Hairy Woodpeckers. The Ed Center Feeders still had seed and were quite active with the typical winter feeder birds. The only highlights were a White-throated Sparrow and a Fox Sparrow. Martin from Roads and Grounds also reported an adult Bald Eagle inside the Main Ring. Dave

Sunday, February 8, 2015

It was quite a good morning for birding today with good weather (average temps, cloudy skies and minimal winds) and some good birds. Starting at Main Ring Lake, which opened with the current thaw, we found 5 Greater White-fronted Geese, about 400 Common Goldeneye, 2 male Hooded Mergansers and about 20 Common Mergansers. There was also an immature Northern Harrier hunting the area west of the lake. The Main Injector moat had a dozen Redheads and an American Coot. Bulrush Pond produced a Great Blue Heron and a pair of copulating American Black Ducks. Several flocks of twenty or more Horned Larks were found feeding along the roads at various locations. Within several minutes of each other, we found both an immature Bald Eagle and a Rough-legged Hawk inside the Main Ring. Other birds of interest were a Northern Shrike (Main Injector area), an American Crow, American Robins and a White-throated Sparrow (feeders). Dave

Thursday, February 5, 2015

An extremely cold start to the morning combined with the over 17 inches of snow cover made for tough birding. Main Ring Lake was completely sealed off and birdless. The Main Injector Moats were sparsely populated with small numbers of Canada Geese, Mallards, Common Goldeneye and Common Mergansers but there was also several Redheads and a American Coot (both new for the year). Again, the empty Ed Center Feeders were populated immediately after being filled. The clientele were the expected Mourning Doves, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpeckers, Black-capped Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches, American Tree Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, Northern Cardinals and a White-throated Sparrow. Walking in the woods was a chore but very pretty. The only highlights were a Great Horned Owl and a Hairy Woodpecker. There were quite a few flocks of birds feeding along the roads containing mostly American Tree Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. One flock also included about 25 Horned Larks. Finally, last evening a couple of X-C Ski runs around the northeast quadrant of the Main Ring Grassland did not produce the hoped for Short-eared Owl but two beautiful male Northern Harriers were found. Dave

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Conditions early this morning were very bad with 6-8 inches of snow (and it only got worse as time wore on). It was hard to tell the exact amount because of all the blowing. In addition, many of the roads in the Lab were not plowed making driving tedious even with my four wheel drive. Birding was just as bad as the weather. There were several hundred Canada Geese in Main Ring Lake. There could have been other species mixed in but the limited visibility eliminated any chance to separate them in the compact group they formed around the open water. Several Common Goldeneye were swimming in the open water. Common Mergansers and Mallards were added in the Main Injector Moats. That's it for my morning. Denis' class added an American Kestrel. Like he said he could not figure out why the kestrel would be out in those conditions. Finally, last night I was inside the Main Ring hoping to view the Short-eared Owl found earlier in the week. The best I could come up with was a Northern Harrier. Also, there were 4-5 hundred Common Goldeneye on Main Ring Lake making courtship calls and displays. Dave

Friday, January 30, 2015

Except for a little wind it was a very pleasant day for birding with sunny skies and seasonal temps. Again a quick stop at the Red Barn produced a large hawk in the area of Owls Nest Woods. The bright sun made it hard to confirm its identity so I went east from the parking lot to reduce glare and scope the bird and, as I thought, it was only a Red-tailed Hawk (no intent to slight red-tails). But on the positive side, I did spot a Northern Shrike perched atop a tree down by the Sea of Evanescence that I likely would have missed from the parking lot. After all the geese by Main Ring Lake last Sunday, today there were only two ; however, there were several each of Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. I did search for Long-eared Owls inside the Ring after yesterday's Short-eared Owl report but only came up with a single chickadee. The first Great Horned Owl nest of the year was located inside the Main Ring with the male nearby. The waterfowl highlights of the day were the first Bufflehead (a female on an Injector Moat) and a Snow Goose (Blue - on Kidney Pond with several hundred Canada Geese). The Ed Center Feeders were barren of both seed and birds. After filling them, several Black-capped Chickadees were on them before I reached the car. They were soon joined by Mourning Doves, Downy Woodpeckers, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, a White-breasted Nuthatch and several brilliant Northern Cardinals all in less than three minutes. Finally, while looking for a second owl's nest, I flushed another Great Horned Owl which was soon mobbed by a record number (over the last few years) of 22 American Crows. Dave

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Roads and Grounds personal located a Short-eared Owl in the Main Ring grassland today, this is the first one for the year. Dave

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Strong winds made the seasonable temps and light snow quite miserable, especially when facing into the wind without glasses. Main Ring Lake had about a couple of thousand Canada Geese on the ice and in the water. Thirteen Greater White-fronted Geese flushed and flew west. Later, a lone Snow Goose took off with a group of Canada Geese. There was also a small number of both Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers in the open water. Nothing new was found in the Main Injector Moats, but we did have good looks at a Sharp-shinned Hawk and also an American Kestrel in the area. Not a lot of activity at the Ed Center Feeders, but we did find a Fox Sparrow and a White-throated Sparrow. Another White-throated Sparrow and a Song Sparrow were found at the Roads and Grounds Feeders. The first American Black Ducks (5) of the year were found in Kress Creek. Finally, a couple of Lapland Longspurs were found among several dozen Horned Larks in the North Roads area. Dave

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Weather was quite nice this morning; cloudy, temps above freezing and almost no wind. The intermittent snow flurries had no effect. That being said the birding was quite poor. The first bird of the day was again the best, a Northern Shrike in the fields between Lake Law and A.E. Sea. Unfortunately, with the recent mild weather, the House Sparrows have returned to the Garden Club. There was not much other activity in that area. Main Ring Lake has opened up a little more providing habitat for a couple hundred Canada Geese, several Mallards, several Common Mergansers and a Common Goldeneye. Most areas were very quiet with the majority of passerine activity along the roads although the only birds found were American Tree Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. Of the several woodpeckers found, one was a Hairy Woodpecker. Dave

Sunday, January 18, 2015

This morning it was quite warm (in the mid 30's) and cloudy with the sun peaking through later. Although waterfowl remain disappointing with just one Common Goldeneye in the Main Injector Moat, we did score a first of the year male Hooded Merganser at Bulrush Pond. There was a Northern Shrike back in the Main Injector area along with an American Kestrel. We also found a Rough-legged Hawk in the Main Ring. When we visited the Ed Center Feeders, they still had seed but no birds were seen. It was strange because we heard birds close by but did not see any; there seemed to have been a Cooper's Hawk flyby that scattered the birds. Slowly, after awhile, the birds started to reappear but nothing really special showed up. After this we came up with a flyover Great Blue Heron, an American Crow (on the west side of the Lab), several Horned Larks and a White-throated Sparrow. Dave

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Another cold morning today. It starting near zero but increased to about twenty degrees by noontime. The first bird of the morning was the best - it was a Northern Shrike perched in a tree in the land between Lake Law and A.E. Sea. The Garden Club had a fair amount of activity but nothing too significant including Red-tailed Hawk (pair), Mourning Doves, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, White-breasted Nuthatches, European Starlings, American Tree Sparrows, a Song Sparrow and Northern Cardinals. Most of the remainder of the morning was spent in several woodlots. Most were not too active while others showed more bird activity than from the last month or so. Mostly the typical winter birds were found, like those listed above, although I did find a pair of Great Horned Owls inside the Main Ring. The only waterfowl found were 9 Common Goldeneyes in the Main Injector Moat. Nearby, a small flock of Horned Larks were feeding at the edge of the road. Finally, a couple of Swamp Sparrows were found along the edge of Lake Logo. Dave

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Temperatures were in the upper 20's this morning; this was a pleasant change from recent mornings. The only open water remains the Main Injector Moats. The only waterfowl sightings worth mentioning were several Common Goldeneyes and a Common Merganser. Again in the Main Injector area were 20-25 Lapland Longspurs feeding along the road shoulders. A very nice orangey breasted juvenile Northern Harrier was also found in this area. Several flocks of birds feeding along East Wilson Road contained Horned Larks, American Tree Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. Nothing of significance was found at the Ed Center Feeders, while the more active Roads and Grounds feeders produced three White-throated Sparrows and several Oregon-looking Dark-eyed Juncos. Also found was the first American Kestrel of the year. Finally, we observed a couple of nice Rough-legged Hawks as they interacted just north of Casey's Pond. This appeared to be a hunting territory dispute as one hawk flew off while the other settled into a treetop. Dave

Thursday, January 8, 2015

While at the Lab late this morning I had a few minutes free before a meeting so I took a trip around the Main Ring and Injector areas and was rewarded with two flocks of Lapland Longspurs (40 in MR and 12 in Inj. area). Dave

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The new fallen snow was a pleasant change from our nearly snowless December, with the sunny skies adding to its beauty. Unfortunately, the near zero temps helped neutralize the situation. Bird wise it was another very quiet morning in most locations of the Lab. Waterfowl were only found in the Main Injector Moats. Found were the usual Canada Geese, Mallards, Common Goldeneye and Common Mergansers, all but the geese were in small numbers. The Garden Club had some activity which only included Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Black-capped Chickadees and Northern Cardinals. The only raptors were a couple of Red-tailed Hawks. Other expected birds found in various woodlots were Mourning Doves, a Great Horned Owl, Downy Woodpeckers, a White-breasted Nuthatch, American Robins, American Tree Sparrows, a White-throated Sparrow (Roads and Grounds Feeders), Dark-eyed Juncos and House Sparrows. Peter had much of the same on Sunday in addition to a couple of Lesser Scaup. Dave

Sunday, December 28, 2014

We had a very unremarkable morning of birding in the Lab today. The usual Common Mergansers were still being found in fairly good numbers in most of the open water areas. There were also several Common Goldeneyes in a few of these areas and a couple of Lesser Scaup on Lake Law. An American Kestrel was in the Main Injector area. The Ed Center Feeders were empty of both seed and birds, but soon came alive as the seed was replaced (nothing of significance was found here). Birds were hard to come by in most other locations. The only real highlight of the morning was a single Snow Bunting feeding along Main Ring Road. Dave

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Today was our Christmas Bird Count day, and we had some of the best weather for a count in recent years. Temps were at or just below freezing throughout the day with mostly calm wind conditions for most of the morning and only increasing slightly in the afternoon. Unfortunately, these great conditions did not produce a great variety of birds. We ended up with only 43 species within the Lab. This is the lowest number in thirteen years. Our overall number of birds was not that bad with 3336 seen, but last year we tallied 5822 and our average over the last 10 years is 4780. This is not to say we did not have some good birds. The best birds were a Black-crowned Night-Heron and two Ruby-crowned Kinglets (both were first CBC finds for the Lab). Some of the other more notable sightings were a Northern Shrike (only one found in the entire count circle), a Red-winged Blackbird (usually only found during half of our recent CBC's), a Purple Finch (only seen on 2 previous CBC's) and two Pine Siskins (only seen in 5 previous CBC's). We had a good number of Raptors including Northern Harriers (11, previous high was 9), a Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawks (2), Red-tailed Hawks (16) and American Kestrels (3). Some of the expected birds that had interesting numbers were Common Merganser (280 found, previous high 118), Mourning Dove (215 found, highest in 8 years), American Crow (2 found; these still remain low over the last 12 years), Horned Lark (1 found, lowest in 10 years) and Swamp Sparrow (20 found; tied highest number from 25 years ago). Some of the notable misses that helped keep our total species count low were Wilson's Snipe, Eastern Screech-Owl, Eastern Bluebird, Cedar Waxwing and White-throated Sparrow. Dave

Sunday, December 14, 2014

It was very warm and quite foggy early, and these conditions did not change throughout the morning. The now largely open waters of the Lab provided habitat for more waterfowl than in recent visits. Starting with Lake Law among the expected Canada Geese and Mallards were several Cackling Geese, a Ring-necked Duck, and a number of Common Mergansers. A Northern Harrier was seen hunting the fields west of L.Law. Only a Great Blue Heron was of interest at Dusaf Pond. Sleeping on some of the remaining ice at Main Ring Lake was a Snow Goose (Blue). Also found there were more Cackling Geese, a Gadwall, some American Black Duck and lots of Common Mergansers (95 counted by Glenn). A Bald Eagle was spotted while filling the Ed Center Feeders and was later found patrolling Swan Lake then perched along its western shore. The Northern Shrike was again found along the southern edge of the Main Injector area with several Northern Flickers nearby. Another large group of Common Mergansers and several Common Goldeneye were found on Casey's Pond. The Roads and Grounds feeders were more active than the empty Ed Center Feeders. Most of the expected winter birds were found here in addition to a White-throated Sparrow. Finally, a striking male Northern Harrier was observed hunting along the east side of South Eola Road. Dave

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A very late afternoon, early evening trip to the lab today was a bust. Primarily, it was an owling trip looking for both Short-eared Owls and Screech Owls. I missed on both species. I wouldn't even mention it but this is, after all, a diary and we must report both the good and the bad. Dave

Sunday, December 7, 2014

This morning was cloudy and mild with the moderate wind being the only downside. Aside from Canada Geese and Mallards, Lake Law only had several Common Mergansers and American Crows (on the ice). The Main Injector Moat had more Common Mergansers and several Common Goldeneye. We fared much better in the remainder of the Injector area by finding a pair of interacting Red-tailed Hawks, a Northern Harrier (it buzzed the hawks after they perched), an American Kestrel, a Northern Shrike and several Pine Siskins. Of the birds at the Ed Center Feeders only a Hairy Woodpecker was of interest while the Roads and Grounds Feeders had several more Pine Siskins. Interestingly, a pair of American Black Ducks were going through the motions of mating at Casey's Pond. A walk along Kress Creek produced about 10 American Black Ducks, a Cooper's Hawk, a Great Horned Owl, another late Ruby-crowned Kinglet (I had several on Nov, 26; this bird tied our latest sighting), several American Robins and several Red-winged Blackbirds. Also interesting, we found abnormally large numbers of Mourning Doves (in flocks) at several locations throughout the morning. Dave

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Although the temps were still below the average, it was quite a pleasant morning for birding at the Lab. The mostly sunny skies early and mild winds had a lot to do with it. Lake Law had more open water than last week, but besides the Canada Geese and Mallards there was only one male Common Goldeneye. The Garden Club was dead except for a Blue Jay, a Horned Lark (field on north side), and several Northern Cardinals. Only a couple Common Mergansers were added at Main Ring Lake. The Main Injector Moats added more Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. I walked around five different woodlots (including the Big Woods) and could find small numbers of the typical winter residents including Red-tailed Hawks (edges of woods), Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, Black-capped Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches and a Great Horned Owl. Marcia and Gail fared much better first with two immature Bald Eagles and a Cooper's Hawk in the Main Injector area. Then in the Main Ring they found a Northern Harrier, American Kestrel and American Crow. There was also a second American Kestrel at the Bison Fields. Dave

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Peter had a mini "Hawk Watch" on Sunday finding a Northern Harrier, a Sharp-shinned Hawk, a Cooper's Hawk, several Red-tailed Hawks and a Rough-legged Hawk. A Swamp Sparrow, always a tough bird in cold weather, was found along Indian Creek. The Ed Center Feeders produced probably the same Fox Sparrows and White-throated Sparrow that have been seen for weeks. Hopefully, these will stick around for the Christmas Bird Count. There was also a surprise Red-winged Blackbird feeding along with these sparrows. Dave

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It was another cold and cloudy morning to start the day. On the plus side the winds were mild, the clouds parted somewhat and temps did rise a little. This early season cold has closed most bodies of water; therefore, waterfowl were hard to come by. Lake Law had one pool-size opening with only Canada Geese and Mallards nearby. Main Ring Lake had three very small openings, with only two Hooded Mergansers using one. Only the Main Injector Moat had a large amount of open water but, other than a good number of geese, there were only several each Common Goldeneye, Common Mergansers and American Coots. Also in this area was an American Kestrel and an intently hunting Northern Harrier. There was a nice mixed flock of birds in the Garden Club area including lots of Black-capped Chickadees, Northern Cardinals, and American Goldfinches. There were also five to six each of American Tree Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. There was also the remains (fur and blood) of one of the last remaining rabbits in the Lab. In the snow were wing marks from a raptor (probably a resident red-tail) and a coyote. It's hard to tell what really happened, but the rabbit obviously lost the battle. Finally, I spent a good amount of time walking through wood lots, mostly pine areas. In one lot there was a flock of Black-capped Chickadees with several, quite late, Ruby-crowned Kinglets tagging along. Another surprise here was a Brown Creeper. Dave

Sunday, November 23, 2014

This morning it was warmer than recent visits, but the light rain did hamper most of our field birding. Still lots of Canada Geese around most open water areas and any surrounding ice. Lake Law also held several Common Goldeneye, and Common Mergansers and a Lesser Scaup. Some Cackling Geese were found on Main Ring Lake along with quite a few Greater White-fronted Geese and several Hooded Mergansers. Again, a Northern Harrier was patrolling the fields nearby. The only bird of interest in the Main Injector area was an American Kestrel. Probably due to the warmer temps, there were not as many birds around the Ed Center feeders. We did find, however, both a Fox Sparrow and a White-throated Sparrow. Some Canvasbacks were asleep on Casey's Pond when we passed by. A Cooper's hawk appeared to be patrolling the fields in the North Roads area. In addition, the bird of the day, a Peregrine Falcon was spotted on one of the tall power poles in that area. It appeared to be casing the joint. Then, on our return, the falcon was found several poles from its initial location ripping apart a blackbird. Dave

Friday, November 21, 2014

Marcia and Gail had some interesting sightings today while enjoying a warmer sunny day (at least compared with our recent cold wave). The Main Injector Moat had a couple Gadwall, a dozen Common Goldeneye, and a couple of Hooded Mergansers. There was also a Belted Kingfisher in the area. Finally, they found a Northern Shrike in the Main Ring (Bett's) Prairie. Dave

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