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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 ...Aug 14Aug 10Aug 7Aug 4Aug 3Jul 31Jul 27Jul 24
Jul 23Jul 10Jul 7Jul 4Jul 3Jun 29Jun 26Jun 23
Jun 21Jun 14Jun 12Jun 8Jun 5Jun 3Jun 2Jun 1
May 29May 25May 24May 22May 21Apr 18Apr 17Apr 13

Sunday, August 14, 2016

It was cooler than most recent mornings with quite a bit of sun and mosquitoes. Sandhill Cranes are still being seen and heard around the village area. The waters were slightly lower than Wednesday at A.E. Sea. This provided a little more habitat, though, still muddy. Birds found at the north end were a Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpipers, Solitary Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers, Pectoral Sandpipers, a Stilt Sandpiper (Juvenile) and a Short-billed Dowitcher. Again, several Soras were seen at the edges of the cattails, one being quite young causing a change in breeding status to Possible on the Fermi Bird Pages. Some of the other birds found in the area were Wood Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets (again, a good number wading in A.E. Sea), Green Herons, a Caspian Tern, a Bell's Vireo (heard) and Cedar Waxwings. A couple fuddles on the north side produced a small number of some of the above-mentioned birds in addition to Greater Yellowlegs (2). The Osprey count for the morning was six; two on Nest 2, two near Nest 1 and two near Nest 3 (though it's hard to know who's who in the Nest1-Nest3 area due to their close proximity). The bird of the morning was a Belted Kingfisher in the main Injector, the first of the year. Some other birds of interest for the morning were Cooper's Hawks (2), an American Kestrel (strafing a perched Red-tailed Hawk), Horned Larks, a Savannah Sparrow, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, several Baltimore Orioles and a surprise Dickcissel along Eola Road. Dave

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

It was warm to start and got warmer throughout the morning. The mosquitoes were back in force after being suppressed for the last several weeks. Today, there was a pair of Caspian Terns hunting over Lake Law. One of the pairs of Sandhill Cranes was calling again east of A.E. Sea. A walk around the Sparrow Hedge area was very quiet and did not produce much. Eastern Kingbirds were still bickering while a couple of Gray Catbirds chatted away. Everything else was more common. The highlight of the morning was that A.E. Sea is starting to show some shorebird habitat. The south end was just starting to show some flats even though no birds were present when I was there. The north end was hard to access but did produce the following: Killdeer, Solitary Sandpipers (3), Greater Yellowlegs (2), Lesser Yellowlegs (10-15), Semipalmated Sandpipers (2), Least Sandpipers (over 20), Stilt Sandpipers (2) and a Short-billed Dowitcher. There were also a couple of Soras scooting in and out of the cattails. One fuddle on the north end of the Lab did also produce several shorebirds including Solitary Sandpipers (2), a Lesser Yellowlegs and Least Sandpipers (8-10). Several Henslow's Sparrows were singing in the Arbor Day area and Sedge Wrens in a couple of other areas. The two juvenile Osprey were in the area of Nest 1. Nest 2 had 1 to 3 occupants present during the morning, from early to mid to late morning. These birds seem to be using the nest as a resting spot more often than the Nest 1 birds did. Marcia and Gail were also in the Lab this morning. They too had both Sedge Wrens and Henslow's Sparrows singing, theirs were inside the Main Ring at Betz Prairie. Some of the other birds they found during the morning's heat and mosquito infestation were Wood Ducks (2), a Green Heron, a Spotted Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpipers (2), Lesser Yellowlegs (2), a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, American Kestrels (2), Eastern Kingbird (13 - in two family units), an Eastern Phoebe and Eastern Bluebirds (2). Dave

Sunday, August 7, 2016

We had an abbreviated birding session in the Lab this morning. Weather was perfect for an August morning (mostly sunny but cool with only a moderate wind). Both pairs of Sandhill Cranes were in the Village area momentarily. Denis saw one pair fly in and I saw one fly out going south over A.E. Sea. Shorebirds were a disappointment due to both the high waters at A.E. Sea and the drying up of many of the fuddles. Found were only Killdeer, several Solitary Sandpipers and a Spotted Sandpiper. Osprey Nest 2 had three birds on the platform. Looking into the sun it was hard to determine their age. We also found one Osprey near both Nest 1 and Nest 3. Both appeared to be adults, but it would be hard to assess their origin (Nest 1 or 3). Dave

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Today was quite warm, though not unbearable, for most of the morning, but the early afternoon became quite hot. The Sparrow Hedge area did not produce much while A.E. Sea still has high waters. In the area were a Caspian Tern, a Spotted Sandpiper, Marsh Wrens (singing in several locations) and several Cedar Waxwings. Osprey Nest 2 had only two occupants in the early morning (could not determine age), but later in the afternoon the three juveniles and one adult were present. Only one Osprey was found around Nest 1. Several fuddles produced 40-50 shorebirds including Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs and Solitary Sandpipers. Also Sedge Wrens were still present and singing in many locations, a couple of Henslow's Sparrows were heard and several Eastern Meadowlarks were flushed. Some of the other birds we found during our morning were Wood Ducks, a Turkey Vulture, Green Herons, American Kestrels, a Great Horned Owl, Eastern Wood-Pewees, American Crows, Eastern Towhees, Field Sparrows and Indigo Buntings. Dave

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Marcia and Gail were in the Lab this morning doing their typical monitoring route. Being quite hot and sunny it was a typical August morning of birding. They found only 1 Osprey at Nest 1. Some of the other birds they found were American Kestrels (3-sitting together on a wire), Eastern Wood-Pewees (2), Sedge Wrens (2-inside the Main Ring), Eastern Towhees (3), Field Sparrows (2), a Chipping Sparrow, Indigo Buntings (6) and an Eastern Meadowlark. Dave

Sunday, July 31, 2016

It was an exceptional morning for birding in the Lab with cool (for the season) temps, little to no winds and partly cloudy skies. The mosquitoes are still almost a non-factor in most locations. The 3 Osprey chicks in Nest 2 were up and pacing the nest platform, looking to be on the brink of fledging. Three of the Nest 1 Osprey (could not confirm their ages) were in their nest area. Quite obvious was the number of robins, the majority of which were juveniles, throughout the Lab. Most were found foraging in freshly mowed fields; also many of the fuddles contained a fair number searching for food. Most of the area fuddles were barren of shorebirds, but we did manage to find one containing several each of Killdeer, Solitary Sandpipers, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, and a Spotted Sandpiper. Sedge Wrens were still singing in multiple grassland locations. Also heard were a couple each of Henslow's Sparrows and Eastern Meadowlarks. Other birds of note for the morning were a Pied-billed Grebe (first in over a month), American Kestrels, Sandhill Cranes (a pair again in the village), Willow Flycatchers (singing and chipping), a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Baltimore Orioles. Dave

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Today was warm again but not unbearable; even the mosquitoes were not as bad as they were several weeks ago. There is still no shorebird habitat at A.E. Sea due to the high water, but Great Egrets (32) were still foraging along the shores. Sandhill Cranes are still around the Village and the East Entrance. One of the guards said they were becoming a nuisance to traffic and occasionally standing in the middle of the road. Osprey Nest 2 was quite crowded and active with the three chicks getting large and roaming the nest. They were feeding while one of the adults watched from the edge of the platform. At times the adult and one of the chicks would make adjustments to the nest, moving the branches around. These chicks should be fledging any time now. Osprey Nest 1 was barren although there was one adult and one juvenile close by. In the Osprey Nest 3 area one of the adults was perched on the perch above the nest platform. As expected they had given up on the reconstruction of last year's nest since there was not enough support for it. Of the several fuddles on the north side of the Lab, only three shorebirds were found - one Spotted Sandpiper and two Solitary Sandpipers. A quite large blackbird flock was also found in the area (mostly Red-winged Blackbirds and European Starlings). About the only grassland bird singing in multiple locations were Sedge Wrens. Some of the other birds found were a Green Heron, Eastern Wood-Pewees, Willow Flycatchers, Eastern Bluebirds, Cedar Waxwings and a Baltimore Oriole. Marcia and Gail were also in the Lab this morning with most of the same results. They did have one of the pairs of Sandhill Cranes in the Village as they passed by. They also spotted, what I think were, the other 2 Ospreys (1 adult and 1 juvenile) from Nest 1 near the middle of the Main Ring. Additional highlights of their morning were a Wood Duck, Osprey (probably all 4 Nest 1 birds), Marsh Wrens, Indigo Buntings and an Eastern Meadowlark. Dave

Sunday, July 24, 2016

It was very warm and muggy to start and the heat increased throughout the morning. On the way into the Lab, at the East Entrance, 2 pairs of Sandhill Cranes were found one inside and one outside the Lab. The rains of yesterday raised the level of A.E. Sea enough to engulf all shorebird habitat. A Caspian Tern was patrolling the sea while Great Egrets (about 30) and Great Blue Herons (about 12) waded the west shore. An adult Bald Eagle was perched in a tree at the south end of the sea. All three chicks and both parent Ospreys were found at Nest 2. At least one of the juvenile Ospreys from Nest 1 fledged and was on the power pole next to the nest. Later, both juveniles were found on the nest. Finally, one of the Nest 3 Osprey was seen carrying nest materials, then surprisingly landed on the power pole which held their original nest from last year. One of the cross members on this pole was removed, to greatly reduce the chance of the nest being rebuilt. Although several sticks are in place on the pole, there is not enough space for a stable nest. Additional birds found included a Blue-winged Teal, Green Herons (3), American Kestrels, Willow Flycatchers (several singing), a Cliff Swallow, Sedge Wrens (singing), Savannah Sparrows and a Dickcissel (singing). Dave

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Having been away for over a week I will just consolidate the reports I received during my absence. Marcia and Gail braved the heat twice. The highlights of their July 13th trip were Ospreys (3), a Cooper's Hawk, American Kestrels (3 - sitting together on a wire), Sandhill Cranes (2 pairs), a Spotted Sandpiper, a Caspian Tern, Willow Flycatchers (3), Sedge Wrens (2), Cedar Waxwings (2), a Chipping Sparrow and Eastern Meadowlarks (4). On their second trip, July 20th, the highlights were a Green Heron, Double Crested Cormorants (9), Osprey (4 at Nest 1, 2 immature and 2 adults, 1 at the Nest 3 platform), Red-tailed Hawks (5 - one of which was a begging young bird), Caspian Terns (3), American Kestrels (3), a Willow Flycatcher, a Sedge Wren (singing), Eastern Bluebirds (2), Indigo Buntings (5) and Eastern Meadowlarks (3). Last Sunday Peter and the crew had a fair number of shorebirds at A.E. Sea. Birds found there were Semipalmated Plovers, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpipers, Solitary Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers and a Short-billed Sandpiper. Peter also reported Cliff Swallows and Bank Swallows over the Buffalo Wallow. Finally, Dave Shemanske reported both Nest 3 Ospreys atop the new nest platform that they rejected early in the season (but, hold that thought for the next post). Dave

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Seasonal weather conditions provided a reasonable morning for birding. A.E. Sea provided a few shorebirds in several different locations. Birds found there were Lesser Yellowlegs, Greater Yellowlegs, a Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpipers and, of course, several Killdeer. Other birds found in the Lakes-Sparrow Hedge area were a Hooded Merganser, a female Wood Duck with chicks, Green Herons (2), Caspian Terns (2), a Bell's Vireo and a Baltimore Oriole. We contacted all the typical summer flycatchers today including Eastern Wood-Pewees, Willow Flycatchers, an Eastern Phoebe, a Great Crested Flycatcher and Eastern Kingbirds. Late in the breeding season this can be a challenge due to the reduced vocalizations of some of these birds. Some other birds of interest during the morning were an American Kestrel (hunting), a Warbling Vireo (singing), Horned Larks (flock of about 6), Savannah Sparrows and a Vesper Sparrow. Ten of the Lab's eleven Ospreys were found with one of the chicks on Nest 1 now as large as its mother. Strangely, the one Nest 3 Osprey found today was standing on the nest platform that they had rejected earlier in the breeding season. Dave

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The conditions for birding today were mostly cloudy, very warm with only a slight breeze. The sun showed itself early which boosted the humidity to an uncomfortable level. The south end of A.E. Sea had a Solitary Sandpiper and several Least Sandpipers (4). The most interesting observation in the area was watching a Great Blue Heron delicately maneuver a 6-8" bullhead (sometimes holding it by one of its pectoral spines) into the required head-first position before swallowing. A Bell's Vireo was singing along the central path to the Sparrow Hedge. Other breeding indicators found in the area were a young Eastern Kingbird, a Common Yellowthroat carrying food and a large group of juvenile Red-winged Blackbirds. All 11 Ospreys were accounted for today. At Nest 2 an adult was watching the three chicks when the other adult flew in with a fish and the feeding frenzy began. At Nest 1, one adult, at the nest, watched the 2 chicks feeding themselves. (The chicks on Nest 1 are larger than those on Nest 2.) The other adult was two power poles away. Finally, one Nest 3 adult was again to the side of the nest with the other on the next power pole down. The Sandhill Crane pair on the north side stepped out of a cornfield, crossed the road, then began foraging in a bean field. Also found on the north side were a couple of Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpipers (11), a couple of Spotted Sandpipers and a number of Killdeer including an adult with a juvenile. A second pair of Sandhill Cranes were found on the far south end of the Lab foraging in a bean field fuddle. A few birds missed on Monday were found including an Eastern Wood-Pewee, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and a Baltimore Oriole. Dave

Monday, July 4, 2016

This morning the 2016 Grassland Breeding Bird Survey was completed with a post-breeding count. The results were not good since each of the 12 points except 1 were below, some well below, the 12 year average. The birds of interest found at the survey points included Sedge Wrens (11), Henslow's Sparrows (8), Dickcissels (4), Bobolinks (12) and Eastern Meadowlarks (9). The weather conditions were very good being cool to warm and cloudy with mild winds. Nine of the lab's eleven Ospreys were found including all five chicks. Other birds of interest found during the morning were a Cooper's Hawk, an American Kestrel, a Spotted Sandpiper, a Greater Yellowlegs, Least Sandpipers (4), Bell's Vireos (2), a Horned Lark, Sedge Wrens (6), Cedar Waxwings (2), a Vesper Sparrow, a Henslow's Sparrow, a Swamp Sparrow, Dickcissels (2), and an Eastern Meadowlark. Dave

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Another, out of the ordinary, comfortable morning greeted us today with cool temps, mild winds and partly sunny skies. A trip through the Sparrow Hedge area provided some interesting finds. First, the fall migration has begun with the sighting of about a half dozen Least Sandpipers at the south end of A. E. Sea. Also in that area, at the Sea of Evanescence, there were at least 38 Great Egrets and over 18 Great Blue Herons. We also heard, then spotted, a pair of Sandhill Cranes flying very low over A.E. Sea from north to south (this may be the pair we've been spotting on the north end of the Lab recently). We later heard them south of the Sea of Evanescence. Denis heard a third crane. The Sparrow Hedge area also produced Singing Bell's Vireos (2) and at least one Caspian Tern (we did see a tern over all three lakes during our walk). All five Osprey chicks were accounted for this morning. The west side of the Lab did provide some Green Herons (2), Cedar Waxwings and a singing Swamp Sparrow. Dave

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

For a late June morning the weather was great for birding today. There were mostly sunny skies, cool temps (to start with and only a moderate increase) and moderate winds. An early visit to Osprey Nest 2 was very quiet with only an adult seen atop it. Later, over Lake Law, I watched an Osprey circle for about 5 min then fly over toward A.E. Sea. Much later, again over by Nest 2, the female Osprey was busy feeding 3 hungry chicks with a fish (most likely from A.E, Sea) while the male looked down from the perch above. All 3 chicks were equally aggressive, which is a good sign. Interestingly a Red-tailed Hawk was perched atop the new Chimney Swift Tower near the Red Barn. In the Sparrow Hedge area there were many singing Gray Catbirds and a Bell's Vireo carrying food. While pishing the area, I attracted a young coyote. As it stepped out of the hedge it saw me, turned tail, and ran. It was another 11 Osprey morning, starting with the 5 birds from Nest 2, then the 4 birds from Nest 1 and finally the pair from the unsuccessful Nest 3. The Nest 1 chicks, seen late in the morning, were just casually stretching their wings and moving about the nest. The pair of Sandhill Cranes were again observed together on the north side of the Lab. Other highlight birds of note seen during the morning were a pair of Wood Ducks, a Red-tailed Hawk flying off with a small snake, a couple of American Kestrels, a Great Crested Flycatcher, singing Sedge Wrens, Cedar Waxwings, several Bobolinks (one carrying food) and a pair of Baltimore Orioles. Marcia and Gail also found the cranes this morning in the same area. They had all the same birds as me this morning and added Blue-gray Gnatcatchers (2) and an Orchard Oriole. Dave

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Not too much to report from an abbreviated birding session in the Lab this morning. Even though the skies were threatening throughout the morning, not much more than a few showers were the result. The highlight of the morning was finding, most likely, the same pair of Sandhill Cranes Marcia and Gail observed on Thursday. They showed no courtship actions, but appeared closely bonded. Osprey Nest 1's two chicks were active while Nest 2's chicks appeared to be resting and not all were visible. Other than that we only had a female Wood Duck and a female American Kestrel of note. Dave

Thursday, June 23, 2016

There have been two reports of Sandhill Crane activity recently that could eventually lead to their nesting in the Lab. First, on Tuesday, Dave Shemanske reported a Sandhill Crane in a bean field in the south end of the Lab. Next Marcia and Gail today reported a pair of Sandhill Cranes performing a courtship ritual consisting of dancing, calling, and stick tossing. This could tie into the occasional crane traffic we have witnessed, during the spring, of cranes (typically flying low) heading both in north and south directions. Time will tell. Marcia and Gail also reported some other sightings of interest this morning. The highlights were Green Herons (2), Turkey Vultures (2), Spotted Sandpipers (an adult with 2 young), a Henslow's Sparrow, Dickcissel (6) and a Bobolink (only one - it's not been a good year for this species). Dave

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

It was another beautiful summer morning for monitoring grassland birds; sunny, warm (not hot) with minimal winds early. The trend of diminishing Dickcissels (13 in survey areas) and Bobolinks (16) continues over the last several years. Sedge Wrens (5) were up over the last 5 years but down from 6 and 7 years ago. Henslow's Sparrows (11) and Eastern Meadowlarks (13) remain fairly flat. No Grasshopper Sparrows were found today. There is now a record 11 Ospreys in the Lab. Osprey Nest 1 contains 2 chicks and Nest 2 contains 3 chicks. Osprey Nest 3 appears to be like the Cubs of old and "waiting until next year." Interestingly, one of the Osprey was alongside Nest 3 when a Red-tailed Hawk swooped down and flushed the Osprey from the nest area. We have recently witnessed at least one other Osprey/ Red-tailed Hawk interaction in this area. This may be another factor affecting the success of this nest since the nest is in a longtime Red-tail territory. Also found this morning were a Bald Eagle, two Turkey Vultures and four American Kestrels. Dave

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A walk around the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes Region did not produce much of significance. Several Chimney Swifts were flying over the Lake Law Berm, but showed no interest in the tower installed last year. Cedar Waxwings are showing up in increasing numbers as are Great Egrets (9 on A.E. Sea). Also found was a Wood Duck, a Bell's Vireo (singing near the west end of the Hedge) and an Orchard Oriole. The grasslands on the southwest of the Sparrow Hedge did produce most of the desired grassland birds including many Bobolinks (10-15), some Dickcissels (3-4), Field Sparrows (2), Henslow's Sparrows (2), and Eastern Meadowlarks (4). Early in the morning the female Osprey on Nest 2 was feeding in the nest but did not appear to be feeding any young. There did appear to be some movement in the bottom of the nest however. Much later in the morning at least one chick was confirmed. A much larger chick was seen on Nest 1, being quite active as the mother preened alongside. Osprey Nest 3 is becoming quite an enigma, as the female once again appeared to be brooding on the nest. I watched, for several minutes, a coyote was working the edge of a freshly mowed field quite close to the mower. Some of the other birds found during the morning were American Kestrels (3), both Sedge Wrens and Marsh Wrens and a Vesper Sparrow. Dave

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Cooler temps brought relief from the heat of the last couple of days. This had no affect on the mosquitoes, however, which were vicious except if you were in the direct wind. Both Osprey Nests 1 %26 2 still remain either in the late stages of brooding or with hatchlings which were being sheltered by an adult sitting on the nest. Nest 3 appears to be a failure again this year. Both adults were in the area but neither on or at the nest. Four Great Egrets were perched together in a small dead tree on the edge of DUSAF Pond. Peter has been monitoring a Pine Warbler (sometimes 2) on and off since before the Spring Bird Count. Today's contact was not only the first June sighting in the Lab, but also makes it a likely breeder. Some of the other notable birds found during the morning were Sedge Wrens, Cedar Waxwings, Henslow's Sparrows, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak and an Orchard Oriole. Dave

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

This morning's weather was perfect for monitoring grassland birds with cool temps, sunny skies and calm winds. The only deterrent was the large amounts of water I had to keep pouring out of my boots due to the large amount of (cold) dew on the grassland plants. All the desired grassland birds were represented in the monitored areas. Included and compared with early June surveys were Sedge Wrens (11-up from the last several years), Savannah Sparrow (only 1-down, though never many at monitor the points), Grasshopper Sparrows (2-above average), Henslow's Sparrows (13-a typical count), Dickcissels (14-well below average), Bobolinks (12-less than half of previous years) and Eastern Meadowlarks (18-about average). Most of these species were also located in other locations of the Lab thru the morning. Some other birds worth mentioning were a Green Heron, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, a Bell's Vireo and an Orchard Oriole. It appears Osprey Nest 1 has young. The female Osprey appeared to be tending to them. Brooding still appears to continue at Nest 2 with the loyal mate standing watch from above. At Nest 3 one Osprey was on the side when I passed on the way to a monitor point. When leaving this monitor point, an Osprey was seen flying, carrying a fish, from offsite (west) toward Nest 3. Both birds were then together on the nest. The observation of the day was watching a Great Blue Heron fighting with a 3 foot plus Garter Snake. First shaking it, then trying to drown it and finally swallowing it. Marcia and Gail were also in today and had most the same birds as I had, of note were a Spotted Sandpiper and 2 Warbling Vireos, both of which I missed. They also noticed that both Dickcissels and Bobolinks seem to be in short supply so far this season. As far as other grassland species go they had a Sedge Wren, Savannah Sparrows (4), Henslow's Sparrows (2) and Eastern Meadowlarks (3). Dave

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Except for a brisk breeze and the mosquitoes (when you were out of the wind), it was a beautiful morning for birding with continually changing conditions between being sunny to being overcast. Both Osprey Nests 1 and 2 continue to be brooded, but Nest 3 seems to be in an undetermined state. One of the Ospreys was flying near the nest while the other was standing next to the nest. Returning a little later one bird was feeding on a fish about 200 yards away while the other bird was still standing next to the nest. We found a female American Kestrel on the nest box at the end of Swenson Road. It flew to their favorite perching tree about 100 yards away while the male was hovering over a Great Horned Owl in a different tree about 100 yards away in a different direction. Later the female returned to the top of the nest box. Other birds of interest found during the morning were a Pied-billed Grebe, Wood Ducks (9-all flying), Green Herons (2) and a Turkey Vulture. Dave

Friday, June 3, 2016

Mark Donnelly today observed interactions between 3 flying Ospreys in the area of Osprey Nest 1, meanwhile the brooding Osprey on Nest 1 watched and made alarm calls. One of the flying birds approached Nest 1 but was chased off by what was probably the brooding Osprey's mate. This was a very interesting observation by Mark. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to ID who is who in these situations. I made a similar observation last year. My feeling is that the bird (not the mate) trying to approach the nest is a past offspring from that nest. Again impossible to tell for sure. Dave

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Weather was great, but no exciting bird sightings were made. I could not relocate the Grasshopper Sparrows found while monitoring last week. Most other important grassland species were found including Sedge Wrens, Dickcissels (showing up in larger numbers on each trip to the Lab), Savannah Sparrows, Bobolinks and Eastern Meadowlarks. Maybe it's me, but it seems that the number of House Wrens and Great Crested Flycatchers is above average this year. A Cooper's hawk was seen flying near the edge of the Big Woods. Both Osprey Nests 1 and 2 appear to be status quo with brooding in progress. As the girls mentioned yesterday, Nest 3 (the newly made nest this year, but most likely the same pair as last year) was also being brooded. To clarify, last year Osprey pair number 3 showed up late in the season (late May) and made a nest on a pole in a future Fermi construction site. Over the winter a platform was erected (identical to Nest 2) and the original nest materials were placed atop. Even though the Ospreys originally seemed to adopt this new site, it was found that they had made a new nest nearby (in a more secluded location) atop a different power pole. This new location is what we will refer to as Osprey Nest 3. This nesting is about a month behind Nests 1 and 2. It will be interesting if it succeeds. Dave

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Marcia and Gail were out monitoring today, but were hampered by rain early in the morning. Some of their sightings were Turkey Vultures (6), a Hairy Woodpecker, an Eastern Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatchers, a Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbirds, a Warbling Vireo, a Sedge Wren, a Savannah Sparrow, Indigo Buntings and Dickcissels. Their most significant sighting was finding the female Osprey brooding on Nest 3 again. Dave

Sunday, May 29, 2016

It was windy this morning but that was only a minor factor compared to the mosquitoes -- they dictated many of our birding locations. The bird of the day was a soaring adult Bald Eagle being harassed by blackbirds. A Sandhill Crane flew low over the Sparrow Hedge heading north. Some of the other highlights were Wood Ducks, an American Kestrel (hovering high near the Main Injector), Caspian Terns, a Hairy Woodpecker, a Least Flycatcher, Great-crested Flycatchers (found in many areas), Sedge Wrens, Cedar Waxwings, a Tennessee Warbler, Dickcissels (are returning in increasing numbers) and Orchard Orioles. Osprey Nests 1 %26 2 were still being brooded while their respective mates were nearby. Nest 3, however, was empty on our first pass with one of the pair nearby. Later, both birds were found standing on the nest. Dave

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Although Marcia and Gail's morning monitoring consisted of mostly the expected summer resident birds, they did come up with one real winner - an Olive-sided Flycatcher. This was only the second sighting in the Lab over the last 10 years. Other highlights for the morning were an American Kestrel, a Spotted Sandpiper, Warbling Vireos (2), Red-eyed Vireos (2), Sedge Wrens (4), Cedar Waxwings (3 - to my knowledge the first of the year), a Chestnut-sided Warbler (again only one migrant warbler), Henslow's Sparrows (3), a Savannah Sparrow, Bobolinks (2) and an Orchard Oriole. Dave

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Conditions were great for a grassland, pre-season monitoring session this morning, being sunny, warm with mild winds. To start out I passed Osprey Nest 3 and found an Osprey nestled into brooding position deep in the nest. About the only highlights of the monitor session were a higher than normal (for this early in the season) of Sedge Wrens (10) and a couple of Grasshopper Sparrows. Also found were Savannah Sparrows (6), Henslow's Sparrows (3), Dickcissels (1 pair), Bobolinks (27) and Eastern Meadowlarks (16). The only transient bird found was a Tennessee Warbler after the monitoring session. Dave

Sunday, May 22, 2016

This morning was beautiful weather-wise, warm with mild winds. Unfortunately, the birding was not as pleasing. The Western Flycatcher reported earlier in the week was not relocated today. The only migrant warblers found, mostly in single numbers, were Tennessee Warblers, a Black-throated Green Warbler and an American Redstart. Osprey Nest 2 was being brooded, while we observed a change of brooding responsibilities at Nest 1. Osprey Nest 3 on the other hand has proved more interesting. Roads and Grounds put up a new platform almost identical to the Nest 2 platform being used the last several years. Unfortunately, for some reason, the pair at Nest 3 chose to rebuild a nest on a different power pole about 1/4 mile away from the new platform. On Sunday the pair were found just standing on this new nest. The only waterfowl of note were a pair of Wood Ducks in a tree and a Ruddy Duck. A Caspian Tern flew over Lake Law. All other birds found were expected summer breeders. Dave

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Being gone for several weeks, including the height of the spring migration, I don't have the time to produce comprehensive entries for this period. I will try, however, to list as many of the highlights for this period from information given to me by Marcia Nye, Gail Chastain, Dave Shemanske, Mark Donnelly, Glenn Perricone and Peter Kasper. My impression is that again Fermi had a relatively poor and narrow migration for warblers and other passerines. Shorebirds have also been unremarkable. The Spring Bird Count was on the low side with 91 species for the day. On the other hand Peter and Glenn produced over 100 species on the Sunday morning of the following week. Here is a list of the highlights for the last weeks: Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Hooded Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Virginia Rail, Sora, American Coot, Sandhill Crane, Spotted Sandpipers (seen in past breeding area), Black-bellied Plover, Solitary Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, American Woodcock, Caspian Tern, Black-billed Cuckoo, Barred Owl, Common Nighthawk, Chimney Swift, Red-headed Woodpecker (only one sighting to my knowledge), Alder Flycatcher, Bell's Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, Purple Martin, Tufted Titmouse, Sedge Wren, Marsh Wren, Veery, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Wood Thrush, Northern Mockingbird (several sightings in different locations), American Pipit, Northern Waterthrush, Golden-winged Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Cape May Warbler, Northern Parula, Magnolia Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Palm Warbler, Pine Warbler (numerous reports), Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Henslow's Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Dickcissel and Orchard Oriole. Dave

Monday, April 18, 2016

This morning the mate to Osprey Nest 3 had returned, one was on the new platform while the other was on the perch above. That makes all three Osprey nests now occupied by a pair of birds. The only other bird worthy of note this morning was a flyover Sharp-shinned Hawk. Dave

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Weather-wise the morning was just about perfect being sunny, with warm temps and very little wind. Bird numbers again seemed to be low, but the variety was quite nice. American White Pelicans still remain in the Lakes Region with one on Lake Law and about 70 on A.E. Sea. Waterfowl showed a little more variety than on Wednesday with Wood Ducks, Gadwall, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Hooded Mergansers (Sea of Evanescence) and Ruddy Ducks (Lake Law). Shorebirds appear to be on the move. Found around A.E. Sea were a Solitary Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs (4), a Lesser Yellowlegs and several Wilson's Snipe. The snipe were found in several locations including a wetland on the south end of the Lab which is not birded regularly. Another two new year birds were found in the Lakes Region. First a Caspian Tern was seen over A.E. Sea and then, on our return to the Red Barn, several Mute Swans were at the north end of Lake Law. Other birds of interest for the morning were a Pied-billed Grebe (Lake Law), a Sandhill Crane (heard), a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (new for year), Brown Thrashers, Chipping Sparrows (now around in force), Field Sparrows (most numerous sparrow), a Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, and a White-throated Sparrow. During the week Peter added Northern Rough-winged Swallows (also new for the year). Dave

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

It was a very pleasant morning for birding at the Lab - cool but comfortable to start, with mild winds and partly cloudy skies. Through the morning the winds picked up just a little, while temps warmed nicely. Thrashers (first of the year) were singing in the Sparrow Hedge Area as were Swamp Sparrows. A.E. Sea was loaded with American White Pelicans (60 plus), while quite a few Wilson's Snipe were flushing from along its shoreline. An adult Bald Eagle flushed from Owl's Nest Woods, then while flying south, flushed an immature Bald Eagle about 100 yards away. The only waterfowl found during the morning were Wood Ducks, Gadwall, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers and Green-winged Teal. Other new birds for the year were a Great Egret, House Wrens, a Winter Wren (Big Woods) and Field Sparrows (many locations). There was still a good number of American Coots and a singing Pied-billed Grebe at Lake Logo. Other birds of note found during the morning were Turkey Vultures, Great Horned Owls (now up to 4 owlets on 2 nests) Eastern Phoebes, Brown Creepers, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Ruby-crowned Kinglets and a singing Fox Sparrow. The only change on the Osprey front was the return of the second bird to Nest 2. In addition, the single bird at Nest 3 is showing more loyalty to the new nest box. Yesterday, Peter added Double-crested Cormorant as a new, year bird. Dave

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