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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 ...Feb 22Feb 20Feb 19Feb 16Feb 15Feb 12Feb 11Feb 10
Feb 8Feb 5Feb 2Feb 1Jan 29Jan 26Jan 25Jan 22
Jan 18Jan 15Jan 12Jan 10Jan 8Jan 6Jan 5Jan 3
Jan 2Jan 1Dec 27Dec 21Dec 17Dec 14Dec 12Dec 11

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The morning started quite foggy and warm with a slight breeze which increased considerably late in the morning. The fog made viewing on the Eastern Lakes tough. Still about 70 Green-winged Teal and several Northern Shovelers were found on A.E. Sea. Sandhill Cranes were also heard somewhere in the northern portion of A.E. Sea. Both Song Sparrows and Swamp Sparrows were also found in this area. Waterfowl found elsewhere throughout the Lab were Gadwall, Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks, Common Goldeneyes, Hooded Mergansers, Common Mergansers and Ruddy Ducks (first of the year). A flock of approx 200 Red-winged Blackbirds along West Wilson Rd. contained several females and the first Brown-headed Cowbirds (3-4) of the year. White-breasted Nuthatches were again extremely active; this time at the Ed Center Feeders. Some of the other morning highlights were American Coots (Lake Logo), a Great Horned Owl (Big Woods), Hairy Woodpeckers, Horned Larks, Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Meadowlarks (first of the year and in many locations around the Lab) and a Common Grackle. Dave

Monday, February 20, 2017

Dave Shemanske reported seeing several groups of Sandhill Cranes flying over the Lab today. Dave

Sunday, February 19, 2017

From start to finish the weather for birding this morning was great, being sunny, warm (in the 60's) with minimal winds. It was quite noisy all morning with some of the more noticeable contributors being Red-winged Blackbirds (singing in territories just about everywhere), Canada Geese (flying and honking everywhere), Blue Jays (many locations), White-breasted Nuthatches (very active in the Big Woods), Downy Woodpeckers (drumming in many areas), Black-capped Chickadees and American Robins. Even the Song Sparrows, which were very elusive this winter, were represented. With these weather conditions, waterfowl were somewhat of a disappointment in both quantity and variety. The only new one for the year were Northern Shovelers (A.E. Sea). Others found were a Gadwall (A.E. Sea), Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks (A.E. Sea), Lesser Scaup (A.E. Sea) and the usual Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. Other new year birds were Sandhill Cranes (pr-flying west over L.Law), a Killdeer and a Lapland Longspur (both on the Lab's north side). Some other highlights for the morning were a couple of Great Blue Herons (perched in an oak in the Buffalo Savannah), a Great Horned Owl (Big Woods), a Common Grackle and several Horned Larks (North Fields). On his way home through the Lab Peter also spotted a Northern Pintail (Main Ring Lake) and a Northern Harrier. Dave

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The morning's weather was quite pleasant with above normal temps reaching the mid 40's, mostly cloudy skies and mild winds. The Lakes Region produced only several Common Mergansers and a Ring-billed Gull (yes, there were lots of Canada Geese and some Mallards also). A good number of Ring-billed Gulls were later found on Main Ring Lake, the first multiples of this species. MRL also produced a pair of Hooded Mergansers and several Common Goldeneyes. As I watched, a large group of Common Mergansers flew in increasing the total number of these on MRL to over 200. Other waterfowl found around the Lab, mostly at Lake Logo, were Gadwall, Redheads (about 20-new for year), Ring-necked Ducks (about 12) and a Lesser Scaup. Back at the Lakes Region, Red-winged Blackbirds were back singing in their territories. Other birds in the area were an adult Bald Eagle (perched at the SW corner of Lake Law), an American Crow (some were also found on the west side of the Lab), American Robins, Cedar Waxwings (15-20) and Swamp Sparrows. Song Sparrows, which have been hard to locate this winter, are now becoming more plentiful. Dave

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Marcia and Gail were again in the Lab this morning. It was a little windy and cooler than the past several days. The highlights of their waterfowl were the regular winter visitors both Common Goldeneye (5) and Common Mergansers (66). They found a nice mix of sparrows including American Tree Sparrows, a Fox Sparrow, a White-crowned Sparrow and several Dark-eyed Juncos. They found a Belted Kingfisher in two separate locations inside the Main Ring. We also had a Kingfisher in two separate locations several weeks ago. It is still undetermined if there is only one bird in the Lab or if a second exists. Other highlights for the morning were Blue Jays, Horned Larks and, the best bird of the day, a first-of-the-year Common Grackle. Dave

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Strong wind (gusts over 40 mph) was the major factor impacting the morning's birding today. Otherwise, the mild temps and partly cloudy skies had little effect. Nothing new or too special in the waterfowl found which included American Black Ducks, Ring-necked Ducks (pr), a Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. The two highlight birds of the morning, both found inside the Main Ring, were an adult Bald Eagle and a Great Horned Owl. The list of other highlights was not overly impressive and included Northern Harriers (2), the Belted Kingfisher (Main Injector), Eastern Bluebirds (Big Woods), a Song Sparrow and a Red-winged Blackbird. Dave

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Glenn was in the Lab today leading a DBC Field Trip specifically looking for a Northern Shrike. It was quite nice weather-wise and most importantly had minimal winds. Not only did he locate the Northern Shrike inside the Main Ring but located a grand total of 33 species for the morning - quite good for a February morning. Waterfowl highlights included a pair of Mute Swans on Lake Law (first of the year), Canvasbacks (a whopping 20 flew into Lake Law), Lesser Scaup (3-L.L.), Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. Two new Fermi year birds were included in the day's count. They were a pair of Mute Swans and Snow Buntings (4-along Main Ring Road). Other highlights for the morning were a Northern Harrier, a Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flickers (2), Blue Jays, an American Crow, Horned Larks (6-flocked with the Snow Buntings), Eastern Bluebirds (2-by Red Barn), an American Robin, a Song Sparrow and Red-winged Blackbirds (2-at Lake Law). Dave

Friday, February 10, 2017

Over the last two days Glenn made a morning trip to the Lab on Thursday and a short afternoon trip today. He duplicated some of the birds we had on Wednesday, but also added several birds needed for the week. His waterfowl highlights included Cackling Geese (a year high of 7), Ring-necked Ducks (pr), Common Goldeneyes, Common Mergansers and over 2600 Canada Geese. Other water related birds were a Pied-billed Grebe (Main Ring Lake) and a Great Blue Heron. His remaining highlights were a couple of Northern Harriers, an American Kestrel, the Belted Kingfisher, Horned Larks (3), an American Robin, a Song Sparrow and a Swamp Sparrow (both around A.E. Sea). Also, on Friday Peter found a rare Ross's Goose along Road D (not relocated on Sat. or Sun.). Dave

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

It was another cool morning in the mid 20's with not much increase throughout the morning. Skies were cloudy with occasional flurries. Marcia and Gail were also in this morning and we crossed paths and compared notes. This is a composite listing of those sightings. The only waterfowl of note in A.E. Sea was a Cackling Goose and 5 Green-winged Teal. Other waterfowl highlights found in the Ring areas were Ring-necked Ducks (pr), a Lesser Scaup (F), Common Goldeneyes, Common Mergansers and first-of-the-year pair of Hooded Mergansers (Main Ring Lake). I had a Northern Harrier on the east side of the Lab while the girls had 2 on the west side. The Belted Kingfisher was back to its apparent favorite location by the Main Injector Moats. Sparrows were represented by American Tree Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows (3), a White-crowned Sparrow and Dark-eyed Juncos. Other highlights for the morning were Hairy Woodpeckers, Blue Jays (missed all last week), Horned Larks (9), American Robins and at least 3 American Goldfinches. Dave

Sunday, February 5, 2017

It was cool to start (mid 20's) but soon warmed to the mid 30's. It was also bright and sunny with a mild wind - pretty nice overall. Still quite a bit of ice covering most waters with not much of interest on the East Lakes. Waterfowl were mostly the same as found earlier in the week, mostly in the Main Injector Moats. Found were a Cackling Goose (Lake Law), a Gadwall, a Canvasback (male), Ring-necked Ducks (2-males, 1-female), a Lesser Scaup (female), Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. We spent a lot of time (unsuccessfully) looking for a Song Sparrow, which in most years past would not have been a great challenge. This is another species, like the goldfinch, which has been hard to find this winter. There were no real standout birds for the morning but we did have the following highlights: a Great Blue Heron, a Cooper's Hawk (perched for at least an hour by Kidney Pond), an American Crow, Horned Larks (several locations), a Brown Creeper, American Robins, a Swamp Sparrow and House Finches. Dave

Thursday, February 2, 2017

This morning was very cold (16 deg to start) with a brisk wind from the NW. The only bright spot was the sun (sorry about that). The birds were not very active and the results proved that out. A.E. Sea was frozen over except for an area at the south end; only about 200 Canada Geese were in that area. Lake Law had a larger open area but the only addition there were several Herring Gulls. The diving duck diversity remains unchanged. Found around other parts of the Lab were a Canvasback, Ring-necked Ducks, a Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. Other birds of note for the morning were a Northern Harrier, a Belted Kingfisher (at Bulrush Pond), Horned Larks and a Swamp Sparrow. Glenn was in the Lab for some evening birding and came up with the first Gadwall (2) of the year in the Main Injector Moat. His other waterfowl was similar to what the girls and I had recently. He was able to locate 3 Northern Harriers, which is a high count for this year in the Lab (second time he pulled that off). He also found a good number of American Robins (47). They eluded me this morning. Dave

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Marcia and Gail were out in the Lab this morning and the first thing they saw, which had been elusive for quite awhile, was the sun and blue skies. Waterfowl highlights were the expected Common Goldeneyes (7) and Common Mergansers (48). The Bald Eagle was again in the Main Ring this time joined by a Northern Harrier. The Belted Kingfisher is still hanging around the Main Injector area; hopefully, it has found a permanent residence in the Lab. Some of their other highlights for the morning were Hairy Woodpeckers (2), Northern Flickers (3-only the first ones found since early Jan.), Eastern Bluebirds (2), American Tree Sparrows (2), a White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Juncos (30) and an American Goldfinch. Dave

Sunday, January 29, 2017

It was cool with occasional flurries again this morning, while the NW wind made it feel quite uncomfortable. Several Cackling Geese were mixed in with a good number of Canada Geese on A.E. Sea. Main Ring Lake area produced at least 1 Greater White-fronted Goose, the first American Coots (2) of the year and an American Crow. Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers were found in open waters throughout the Lab. A Pied-billed Grebe (first of the year) along with a Canvasback, Ring-necked Ducks (pr), and a Lesser Scaup were found in the Main Injector Moat. Nothing special was found at the Ed Center Feeders while at the Roads and Grounds Feeders we found a White-throated Sparrow, a couple of White-crowned Sparrows and an American Goldfinch among others. Other highlights of the morning were Great Blue Herons (2), American Kestrels (2), a Belted Kingfisher (possibly 2) and a Song Sparrow. Dave

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The morning started out cool and cloudy with a mild breeze. The wind increased steadily throughout the morning with occasional snow flurries. A.E. Sea was mostly about geese having Greater White-fronted Geese (over 25), Canada Geese (several hundred) and a few Cackling Geese (2-3). At least 2 of the Green-winged Teal were also back. In the meantime, Lake Law was totally devoid of any birds. Found in other areas of the Lab and rounding out a very good waterfowl morning were American Black Ducks (pr.), Mallards, a Canvasback, Ring-necked Ducks (3), a Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneyes (about a dozen) and Common Mergansers (about 50). A large flock of House Sparrows (over 50) caught my ear just north of the east entrance. In an Ag field,just behind the bushes where the sparrows were found, was a flock of European Starlings and at least 1 male Red-winged Blackbird (first of the year). A flock of over 30 Cedar Waxwings, first of the year, were found eating snow off tree branches near the entrance to the Garden Club. Other highlights of the morning were a Bald Eagle, a Belted Kingfisher, a Northern Shrike, American Robins, American Tree Sparrows, a Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrows (2), a White-crowned Sparrow and Dark-eyed Juncos. Dave

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Marcia was out in the Lab this morning monitoring and found 22 species, a very good start to week 4 of our new survey period. She had the Adult Bald Eagle that Glenn found last week in the same area of Main Ring Lake. The Belted Kingfisher was again found in the Main Injector area. Also located was the American Kestrel near the Bison Barn. Her other highlights were a Common Goldeneye, Common Mergansers (65), a Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gulls, Blue Jays (2), American Tree Sparrows, a White-throated Sparrow, a Song Sparrow and an American Goldfinch. Dave

Sunday, January 22, 2017

It was quite foggy to start, but this cleared out rather quickly. Then the above average temps, overcast skies and windless conditions produced a very rewarding morning of birding. A.E. Sea had only several hundred Canada Geese while Lake Law had about 60 Common Mergansers and 3 Common Goldeneye. There was a lot of open water around the Lab with more mergansers and goldeneyes being the most common finds, but the Injector moats added a nice male Canvasback, a Ring-necked Duck and a Lesser Scaup. The Ed Center Feeders were quite active, but the only bird of note was an adult White-crowned Sparrow. This activity was interrupted when all the birds scattered as a Cooper's Hawk swooped down but was too late for breakfast. Other highlights spread throughout the Lab were a Great Blue Heron, an American Kestrel, a Great Horned Owl, a Long-eared Owl, a Belted Kingfisher (Main Injector), Hairy Woodpeckers, a Northern Shrike (Main Ring), Blue Jays (active in several locations) American Robins (active in several locations), a Song Sparrow and several American Goldfinches (Roads and Grounds Feeders). At the end of last week Glenn added 2 new year birds: a Bald Eagle hunting over Lake Law and a Cackling Goose in Main Ring Lake. In addition, he found 2 Wilson's Snipe in the Main Ring that were needed for the week. Dave

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

March-like weather in January produced only fair birding with no exciting finds. A fog existed throughout the morning with an occasional light mist and temps in the mid 30's. A now larger area of open water at A. E. Sea produced only Canada Geese (about 80). Lake Law had about 30 Common Mergansers and a Common Goldeneye in addition to a Ring-billed Gull and a couple of Herring Gulls. Other birds in these areas were an American Crow, a Swamp Sparrow and American Tree Sparrows. A small number of highlights were found elsewhere throughout the Lab including an American Black Duck, several Hairy Woodpeckers, a flock of American Robins (20 plus) and a couple of American Goldfinches (only my first of the year). Marcia and Gail were in the Lab late in the afternoon and had several more interesting birds during their visit in addition to many of the same expected species I found in the morning. They relocated the Belted Kingfisher in the Main Injector area and also added a Great Blue Heron, an American Kestrel and a White-crowned Sparrow. They were also privy to some of the returning Common Mergansers (212) and Common Goldeneye (24) which usually spend the night in the Lab's open waters. Dave

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The weather this morning was very good being overcast, calm and cool but warming to about freezing (32 deg) by the time we left the Lab. Bird activity was at a minimum throughout most of the Lab. The still open patches of water did not produce much. A.E Sea had the same 4 Green-winged Teal and nothing else. The only other waterfowl of note were small numbers of Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers found throughout the Lab's open waters. Even the still fairly full feeders showed minimal activity and nothing out of the ordinary. Some of the birds of note were an American Kestrel, a Hairy Woodpecker and an American Robin. The two highlights of the morning were a rarely seen (over the last several years) Belted Kingfisher and a first of the year, Northern Shrike found by Joe. Dav

Thursday, January 12, 2017

It was cool (mid 20's) and overcast but pleasant enough for a mid-winter morning of birding. A sliver of open water on the north end of A.E. Sea held about two dozen Canada Geese and 4 Green-winged Teal (probably the same ones seen there on New Year's Day). A fairly large patch of open water on Lake Law contained several Common Mergansers and a Common Goldeneye. Also found in the area were an American Crow, a Swamp Sparrow and several Downy Woodpeckers (7 or 8 in the cattails). The Ed Center Feeders were very active with lots of Dark-eyed Juncos and more Black-capped Chickadees than I have seen together in quite awhile (15-20). Other birds of note at the feeders were a Red-bellied Woodpecker, a Fox Sparrow and American Tree Sparrows. A mammal of note there was a Gray Squirrel, popping its head out of the top fill hole of one of the feeders, watching me while I watched the birds. Other birds found around the Lab today were a pair of American Black Ducks, a Great Blue Heron, a Northern Harrier (hunting inside the Main Ring), Hairy Woodpeckers (Big Woods), a Blue Jay, Horned Larks (Bison Feeders), a White-throated Sparrow and House Finches. Marcia and Gail were in the Lab a little later in the morning. They added several birds for the new period's week totals including a Cooper's Hawk, Rock Pigeon (yes, I missed this one), an American Kestrel, a White-crowned Sparrow and an American Goldfinch (What has happened to this species lately, their numbers are way down in the Lab?). They also found a second Northern Harrier. Dave

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The wind and rain this afternoon did not leave many birding opportunities during a short trip to the Lab. Actually, the highlight of my stay was watching an opossum feeding on seed under the Roads and Grounds Feeders. The only birds worth mentioning were over 200 Common Merganser and several Common Goldeneye in a fairly large opening in Main Ring Lake. Also, the Lesser Scaup still is in the Main Injector Moat. Dave

Sunday, January 8, 2017

It was very cold to start the morning with little warmth added during our stay. The birding was quite unremarkable with no exciting finds to be had. Our highlights were a Lesser Scaup, several Common Goldeneyes, several Common Mergansers, a Hairy Woodpecker (feeders), a Horned Lark (one or more heard in a bare Ag field), a flyover American Robin and a White-throated Sparrow (feeders). Dave

Friday, January 6, 2017

Glenn was in the Lab yesterday and today. He did well with raptors finding 3 Northern Harriers, several Red-tailed Hawks, an American Kestrel and 6 Great Horned Owls. Waterfowl highlights he found were American Black Ducks, a Ring-necked Duck, a Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. Dave

Thursday, January 5, 2017

It was very cold to start and, although the temps increased throughout the morning, the winds which started by mid morning made conditions even less desirable. Also, the sun came and went during the morning. Just about everything except Main Injector Moats are again frozen over. The cold and later wind did limit bird activity. The feeders were quite active. Beyond the expected winter birds, the highlight birds were a Northern Flicker, Fox Sparrows (3), White-throated Sparrows (2) and White-crowned Sparrows (2). Interesting waterfowl found in the Main Injector Moats were a Lesser Scaup and several each Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. Other birds of note for the morning were Herring Gulls, Great Horned Owls (2-Big Woods), Hairy Woodpeckers (Big Woods), Blue Jays and several Horned Larks (Bison Feeder area). The most interesting experience for the morning occurred at the feeders. It started last week while I was filling them. I noticed a couple of the bulbous hoppers atop the feeders had gnaw marks from squirrels around the top opening. Sunday I put clamps on the covers over these openings. When I pulled down one of the feeders today, I noticed it being a little on the heavy side. I looked inside and saw a bunch of fur. Tipping the feeder over thinking the critter (squirrel) would crawl out did not produce any movement. In the end I had to take the feeder apart and have a short ceremony. Dave

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Peter reported sighting a Belted Kingfisher along the west side Main Injector Moat this morning. Dave

Monday, January 2, 2017

Denis was in the Lab this morning and added some birds to list of those found yesterday. In addition to finding many of the same birds found on Sunday he added a Northern Harrier, a Wilson's Snipe, Rock Pigeons, Horned Larks, a Song Sparrow, a White-throated Sparrow and a White-crowned Sparrow. Dave

Sunday, January 1, 2017

It was quite cool to start (low 20's) but the sun was bright and the winds calm. This combination provided some good birding and a substantial list of birds to start 2017 and a new 5 year Survey Period for the Fermilab Bird List. First we filled and checked the Ed Center Feeders finding Mourning Doves, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpeckers, a Hairy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches, a Brown Creeper, Dark-eyed Juncos and Northern Cardinals. There was still a sizable opening in A.E. Sea. There we found several hundred Canada Geese and 4 Green-winged Teal (only the second January sighting in the Lab). Waterfowl found in the Main Injector Moats were a Ring-neck Duck, a Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. Other birds found in other areas throughout the Lab were American Black Ducks, Mallards, a Great Blue Heron, a Cooper's Hawk, Red-tailed Hawks, an American Kestrel, Herring Gulls, a Northern Flicker, Eastern Bluebirds (about 6), American Robins, European Starlings, American Tree Sparrows (very few), House Finches and House Sparrows. Gail was also in the Lab today and, in addition to many of the birds above, she added a Northern Pintail, an American Crow and American Goldfinches. All in all this was a very good start to Fermilab's 7th, 5-year Bird Survey Period. Dave

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

It was cool to start and if it warmed-up you could not tell because the increasing wind more than cancelled any increase in temperature. The warming trend over the last several days opened a small hole in Lake Law which attracted 8 to 10 Herring Gulls during my visit. A much larger opening was created in A.E. Sea on the north end where Lake Law empties into it. This attracted well over a thousand Canada Geese and 3 Common Mergansers. No other species of geese were detected as all the birds eventually flushed. A walk around the Sparrow Hedge area was not very productive with only a Blue Jay, a bunch of Black-capped Chickadees, a couple of American Robins, and a group of approx. 20 American Tree Sparrows being found. A circuit of the Big Woods produced only a pair of Great Horned Owls of note. The Main Injector Moats produced an American Black Duck, a Lesser Scaup, a pair of Common Goldeneyes, Common Mergansers (10) and a Ruddy Duck. Checking out both Main Ring Woods produced nothing of interest although an American Crow was found along Ring Road. Main Ring Lake added more Common Mergansers (14), a Ring-billed Gull and 2 more Herring Gulls. Even though there was still plenty of seed in the Ed Center Feeders, only a small number of the commonly expected winter birds were in the area. Dave

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The feeders were all filled with great care, in hopes that some birds soon would be there. Sorry, I guess the Christmas spirit has got to me. There were a good number of birds at the feeders, the best being a Hairy Woodpecker and a nice adult White-crowned Sparrow. The other common species were Mourning Doves, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpeckers, Black-capped Chickadees (lots), White-breasted Nuthatch, American Tree Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos (lots), Northern Cardinals and American Goldfinches. Added at the Roads and Grounds feeders were a Fox Sparrow, a White-throated Sparrow and House Sparrows. Among several Canada Geese and Mallards in the Main Injector Moat were several American Black Ducks, a sleeping Ruddy Duck and 2 fly-in male Canvasbacks. Added in the Main Ring was a Great Horned Owl and a couple of Song Sparrows. Ryan Frantzen of Facilities Engineering showed me a picture of a dead Great Blue Heron, apparently struck by a vehicle along A1 Road. Marcia and Gail were also in the Lab this morning and beyond finding most of the birds I had listed above, they added some other interesting sightings. Some of their key birds were a Common Merganser, American Coots (2), American Kestrels (2), an American Crow, a fair number of Horned Larks (12) and a House Finch. Dave

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Here is a review of the 2016 Christmas Bird Count (CBC) held today Sat. Dec. 17, 2016. The weather turned out to be much better than first expected with overcast skies, temps in the low 20's, fairly moderate winds and snow on the ground but none falling. Here I will only be referring to the birds found inside Fermilab's boundaries. We found 45 species, a considerable drop from our record count of last year (2015) of 62 species. This year's numbers are above the average (overall 1976-2015) for the Lab of 41 species but below the average for the last 10 years of 51 species. This number of species (45) was still better than we had anticipated in the days leading up to this year's CBC. Most of our low expectations were due to the diminishing bird populations over the last several weeks, the lack of open water and the predicted weather conditions. There were 6 species of waterfowl found, not bad considering the conditions. The waterfowl found included Canada Geese (386-quite low), Gadwall (1), American Black Ducks (2), Mallards (194), Canvasback (3-new Lab high) and Common Goldeneye (145-about average). Raptors were well represented with Northern Harriers (5), a Sharp-shinned Hawk, a Cooper's Hawk, Red-tailed Hawks (14), a Rough-legged Hawk and American Kestrels (6-a high over the last several years). The raptor numbers are even more impressive if you include the owls: Great Horned Owls (9), Short-eared Owls (2) and a Barred Owl. All the expected woodpeckers were found in moderate numbers, only Northern Flickers (2) were notably low. Sparrows were fairly well represented with 7 species including American Tree Sparrows (167-below avg.), Fox Sparrows (6-above avg.), Song Sparrows (13), Swamp Sparrows (9), White-throated Sparrows (12-above avg.), White-crowned Sparrows (6-above avg.) and Dark-eyed Juncos (126-a little below avg.). Some of the other birds of note were Great Blue Herons (3), American Coots (2), Northern Shrikes (2), American Crows (3-still low since 2003), Horned Larks (17), Brown Creepers (7-tied highest count from 25 years ago), an Eastern Bluebird and Cedar Waxwings (105-second highest count). Some notable misses were Common Merganser, Wilson's Snipe (we usually get 1 or 2), any gulls, Eastern Screech-Owl (again), Red-breasted Nuthatch and any blackbird (of any species). In conclusion, all three count groups had a fairly productive morning, but the afternoon in most areas was quite disappointing. Dave

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Glenn made a late afternoon trip to the Lab and despite the frozen conditions found some waterfowl including an American Black Duck (in an open ditch) and 22 Common Goldeneye (Main Injector Moat). Other highlights of his visit were a Northern Shrike on west Wilson Road and Horned Larks (60 along the Injector Ring). Hopefully, all of these will hang around for this Saturday's Christmas Bird Count. Dave

Monday, December 12, 2016

Another late afternoon/evening trip to the Lab was quite cold, but clear with minimal wind. The feeders had about the same birds as were found yesterday. The only other birds of note before dark were a Northern Harrier and an American Kestrel. The highlight of the trip was finally contacting an Eastern Screech-Owl, the first of the year. Dave

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The snow this morning was not as bad as we expected, but it, and the 95 percent frozen waters around the Lab did affect the birding and our results. The only water birds of note were several American Coots (3-Main Injector Moat) and Great Blue Herons (3-various locations). Most of the birds we recorded for the morning were found around the Ed Center feeders. Some of the birds found there were American Tree Sparrows, Fox Sparrows (3), a White-throated Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos (quite a few at each feeder group), quite a few bright Northern Cardinals (including a female with a pronounced whitish forehead) and House Finches. Added at the Roads and Grounds feeders was a male Red-winged Blackbird. Other birds found were a Cooper's Hawk, American Crows (3) and Horned Larks (20 plus at the Buffalo feeders). Dave

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