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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 ...Jan 30Jan 29Jan 25Jan 21Jan 18Jan 14Jan 11Jan 8
Jan 6Dec 28Dec 20Dec 14Dec 10Dec 7Dec 4Nov 30
Nov 26Nov 23Nov 21Nov 19Nov 16Nov 12Nov 9Nov 8
Nov 6Nov 4Nov 2Oct 29Oct 26Oct 25Oct 15Oct 12

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Another cool, windy morning with skies changing from totally overcast to clear and then back and forth several times. Lake Law was about 10 percent open, with birds both on and off the ice. The highlight was five Tundra Swans (two were sleeping and I'm assuming they were Tundra's). Mixed in the large number of Canada Geese were several Cackling Geese and several Common Mergansers (all females). Main Ring Lake had a little more variety with Greater White-fronted Geese (at least four), American Black Ducks, Lesser Scaup (1 Fem), Common Goldeneye (2 Fem.), and an American Coot. A Northern Harrier zoomed low over the Main Ring Prairie then up and over the Berm toward the south end of the Lab. Only Hooded Mergansers (again females) were of interest in the Main Injector Moat. I finally found some male divers in Casey Pond which were Hooded Mergansers. The Ed Center Feeders must have been really busy recently, since I had to refill them all. The only birds of note here were several each of Fox Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows. Most of my time was spent on the west side of the Lab in my survey locations. As expected the bird count was down from the warmer weather visits and most of the birds were the expected winter residents. Highlights were one Great Horned Owl, a couple of Fox Sparrows, several White-throated Sparrows and the bird of the day a late Winter Wren. Dave

Sunday, November 16, 2014

It was another cold start today with just enough wind to increase the discomfort level another notch. The light snow did not seem to affect the birds. A.E. Sea was frozen over as was most of Lake Law (most of the birds here were on the ice). Lake Law was loaded with Canada Geese in addition to several each of Cackling Geese and Greater White-fronted Geese. The big surprise of the morning was finding 24 Sandhill Cranes on the Lake Law ice. These flushed and were later found in the North Roads area, picking up several more along the way. Several more Cackling Geese and Greater White-fronted Geese were found in Main Ring Lake. In the Main Injector area we added American Black Duck, Hooded Merganser and an American Kestrel. Casey's Pond had several each Ring-necked Ducks and American Coots. The larkspurs seen last week were nowhere to be found in the North Roads area; we ended up with just a few Horned Larks. There did appear to be an increased number of Red-tailed Hawks around the Lab today. There was a reasonable amount of activity around the Ed Center Feeders. The only highlights were a White-throated Sparrow and several Fox Sparrows. There was also a Red-tailed Hawk perched almost directly above the south feeders, but this did not seem to bother the birds feeding below. Dave

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The day started out with temps well below normal and mild winds, but the winds soon picked up and the temps started to fall. Though the activity was sparse on Lake Law the first Common Loon of the season was present. It was found joined by only a few Mallards and Canada Geese. A.E. Sea, however, was loaded with waterfowl, mostly Canada Geese. Other birds of interest there were Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, and Bufflehead. In addition, an immature Bald Eagle flushed from Owl's Nest Woods. The south end of A.E. Sea and the eastern portion of the Sparrow Hedge produced over forty Cedar Waxwings, American Tree Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows (over a dozen), and a singing White-throated Sparrow. The Garden Club's only activity was on the southwest corner due to the wind. Found in the area was an American Crow, a Yellow-rumped Warbler, and about thirty Dark-eyed Juncos. Main Ring Lake was not very active but there were three Pied-billed Grebes, a pair of Hooded Mergansers and about a dozen American Coots. There were several Gadwall and a few more American Coots on Lake Logo. Fox Sparrows were found in several locations including Main Ring Woods and the Ed Center Feeders. A pair of Great Horned Owls also flushed in a nearby woodlot. Yesterday, Peter also reported a Bald Eagle, this one by Swan Lake. Dave

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Today was another cool and mostly cloudy early morning with increasing wind and warmth to follow for today's birding. Lake Law gave up two very clean Horned Grebes (adult nonbreeding), several Lesser Scaup, a low flyover Cooper's Hawk (first of several for the day), and several high flyover Cackling Geese. On A.E. Sea, we found Green-winged Teal, Hooded Mergansers, Ruddy Ducks and two American Crows (on stickup in the water). The Sparrow Hedge was pretty dead, but we did manage a few sparrows at the south end of A.E. Sea including American Tree Sparrows, a Song Sparrow, a Swamp Sparrow and Dark-eyed Juncos. Arguably, the bird of the day was a late Common Yellowthroat (1st November sighting ever) found on the edge of the Main Ring Moat. Previously no yellowthroats were found in the Lab between late October and the end of April. A Tundra Swan was located on Main Ring Lake along with a Pied-billed Grebe and several American Coots. Our first Northern Shrike of the season was seen near the Main Injector. A stop at Casey's Pond added some Black Ducks and Gadwall. Finally, the experience of the day was encountered along the North Roads were we found several flocks of Lapland Longspurs (totaling several hundred birds). The winds made it hard to observe any birds that landed in the mowed corn fields since the birds immediately hunkered down upon landing. Another reason may have been the two Cooper's Hawks which were patrolling the fields just a foot or two above the surface. One hawk almost flew into our open car window, veering off at the last second. Also with the longspurs were a Snow Bunting and a bunch of Horned Larks. Dave

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Glenn had some notable sightings today starting with a Tundra Swan at A.E. Sea and a Belted Kingfisher at Dusaf Pond. At the north side of the Lab, he found a Wood Duck and in Casey's Pond, a pair of American Black Ducks and a dark morph Rough-legged Hawk nearby. A flock of 28 Horned Larks and 108 Dark-eyed Juncos were found in the North Roads area. A couple of Snow Buntings were seen on Main Ring Road while a Rusty Blackbird was found near the Ed Center. Dave

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The morning was cool and cloudy but the major factor affecting the birds was the strong and gusty winds. Lake Law produced about a dozen Hooded Mergansers and a Pied-billed Grebe. A.E. Sea had about a dozen Ruddy Ducks and a large number of Green-winged Teal. Added at Dusaf Pond were Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, more Green-winged Teal and a late Greater Yellowlegs. The only birds of mention in the Garden Club were some Eastern Bluebirds. Main Ring Lake had more Gadwall and Green-winged Teal (there were more G-W Teal today than I have ever seen in the Lab). At one of the Main Ring Marshes I watched a Northern Harrier fighting the wind to hold its position above an apparent prey, but eventually it had to capitulate to the wind. The Ed Center feeders were quite popular with the birds during this windy morning, but about a dozen Fox Sparrows and a couple of White-throated Sparrows were the only birds of note. On the way out later in the afternoon there were over 75 Greater White-fronted Geese near the buffalo pens. Dave

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Merlin was spotted by Glenn and Peter later on Sunday morning, as well as several other birders in the area. A Tundra Swan was also seen Sunday, I assume it was in the Lakes Region. Monday Peter had a Snow Goose on Swan Lake. Is this becoming the next Fermi hotspot? Finally, Glenn found a Snow Bunting in the Main Ring. Dave

Sunday, November 2, 2014

It was quite cold early this morning, with a thin layer of ice on much of A.E. Sea. Waterfowl and other associated birds found in the Lakes were Canada Geese, Mallards, Green-wing Teal, Hooded Mergansers, Ruddy Ducks, Pied-billed Grebes and an American Coot. A flock of calling Lapland Longspurs flew over the area. In the Sparrow Hedge region, sparrows were much more numerous and active than earlier in the week. Sparrows found were American Tree Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, Song Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. The numbers were nowhere near what they were a couple of weeks ago with American Tree Sparrows now the most numerous species. There were a good number of Cedar Waxwings and most all of them were adults. Earlier in the season the majority of the waxwings in the area were juveniles. Also, a Belted Kingfisher was heard near A.E. Sea. The Ed Center Feeders appear to be well established after only being filled on Wednesday. Many of the expected birds were found including a handsome Hairy Woodpecker. Another Belted Kingfisher was heard in the area (not too often do we have two in one day). Found on the south feeders were the birds of the day, three Purple Finches (2 females and 1 striking male) giving us great views. The Big Woods were very quiet with only another Hairy Woodpecker and a pair of Great Horned Owl worth mention. Killdeers were found in the Swan Lake area. On the way out we again found over 40 Greater White-fronted Geese in the Buffalo Fields. Dave

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It was quite cool and windy early with little improvement throughout the morning. A quick stop at Lake Law produced only several Pied-billed Grebes, a Double-crested Cormorant, and a bunch of Canada Geese. Several Eastern Bluebirds were heard overhead. From the berm, I scoped A.E. Sea and only added more Pied-billed Grebes, several Ruddy Ducks and an American Coot. Green-winged Teal were added at Dusaf Pond. The Garden Club again had noticeably less birds than recent trips. Sparrow season is waning as witnessed by the increased number of American Tree Sparrows. The only other birds of note in this area were a flock of 8-10 Eastern Bluebirds, Dark-eyed Juncos (quite a large number have moved in since Sunday), and several Fox Sparrows. Most of my morning was spent on the west side of the Lab, with little to show for my time. The highlight was another flock of Fox Sparrows (about 10), some singing. Peter mentioned a Cackling Goose on Swan Lake and I later found it still there. There were over forty Greater White-fronted Geese in the Buffalo Fields with about the same number of Canada Geese. Marcia and Gail did quite well in the Main Ring and Main Injector adding Wood Duck, Gadwall, Ring-necked Duck, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Cedar Waxwing (an impressive 170 birds), Yellow-rumped Warbler, White-throated Sparrow and Purple Finch (with a bunch of House Finches, probably the same female found last week). Lastly, Ryan reported an adult Bald Eagle over A.E. Sea early in the afternoon. Dave

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The morning started with a chill and not a cloud in the sky. Again, it warmed quickly. Waterfowl are slowly starting to take center stage for birding opportunities. Found in the Lakes region were increased numbers of Canada Geese, a Cackling Goose, American Wigeons, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaups, Hooded Mergansers, and Ruddy Ducks. Other water associated birds were Pied-billed Grebe, American Coot and Wilson's Snipe (several flushed along A.E. Sea). We ended up with nine species of sparrows on the east side of the Lab, but numbers appear to rapidly diminishing. Found were American Tree Sparrows (our first of the season), Chipping Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows (most abundant species), White-throated Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows (all in immature plumage), and Dark-eyed Juncos. Other birds of note for the morning were Sharp-shinned Hawks (2 flybys), American Crows (8-9 around the Garden Club), a Nashville Warbler (late migrant) and Rusty Blackbirds. Dave

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Here's a quick review of some of the highlight birds found last week in my absence. Marcia and Gail again reported both a Northern Harrier and an American Kestrel inside the Main Ring. Also found there were American Crow, Hermit Thrush, Eastern Towhee and Lincoln's Sparrow. In the Main Injector area they found an Eastern Phoebe, Yellow-rumped Warbler and a female Purple Finch (always a tough one and a first for the season). Some of the highlights Peter reported from last Sunday were Greater White-fronted Geese (in Buffalo Fields), American White Pelican (a flyover), Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (still by Swan Lake), and a Nelson's Sparrow (a tough find this year). Dave

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It was overcast and warm with a slight breeze early but, after about an hour, a mist mixed with light showers began and continued throughout the remainder of the morning. This did not appear to affect the birds at all. Sparrows especially were quite active on the entire east side of the Lab. The north end of A.E. Sea was the least active; only Swamp Sparrows were found. The bird of the day was an American Bittern found, oddly enough, in the grass near the first intersection on the path toward the Sparrow Hedge. It flushed and flew into A.E. Sea marsh area. Interestingly, when I returned about two hours later it or another bittern was in the same location and flushed again. The whole south end of A.E. Sea and most of the Sparrow Hedge area was very active with sparrows. While Swamp Sparrows were still the most abundant, both Song Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows were a close second. There were also good numbers of White-crowned Sparrows. In addition, there were Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warblers and an Orange-crowned Warbler. A.E. Sea was totally covered by water but there was not much not variety in the waterfowl. Found here were Gadwall, Mallards, Northern Shoveler and Green-winged Teal. Lake Law held only Ruddy Ducks and a lone Pied-billed Grebe. As I drove into the Garden Club, two Red-tailed Hawks and a Cooper's Hawk flushed from the north end. This did not appear to affect the sparrow activity in the area. Among the many sparrows found were Chipping Sparrow (by far the most abundant), Field Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Lincoln's Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. Another Orange-crowned Sparrow was found here among several Yellow-rumped Warblers. Dave

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Quite chilly and sunny to start, but again, it warmed fast. We covered the A.E. Sea/Sparrow Hedge area very extensively. There was not a lot of variety in waterfowl in this area. Found were Gadwall, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, and in Lake Law Lesser Scaup and Ruddy Duck. A Pied-billed Grebe was also on Lake Law. There was still a good number of Killdeer on the A.E. Sea flats. Also found were a Dunlin, a Wilson's Snipe (flushed from north end of A.E. Sea), and, the bird of the day, a Red-necked Phalarope. Swamp Sparrows again topped the list of sparrows in the area. Other sparrows found were Field Sparrow, Nelson's Sparrow (south end of A.E. Sea), Song Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow and White-crowned Sparrow. Additional birds found here and other eastern Lab locations were Cooper's Hawk, Greater Yellowlegs, Eastern Phoebe, both Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Golden-crowned Kinglet, Cedar Waxwing, Orange-crowned Warbler and Magnolia Warbler. Peter also mentioned he again had the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron on Friday, good for another survey week. Dave

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