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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 ...Jun 11Jun 8Jun 4Jun 1May 31May 30May 28May 26
May 24May 22May 21May 18May 17May 16May 13May 11
May 10May 9May 6May 4May 3May 2Apr 30Apr 28
Apr 27Mar 27Mar 26Mar 24Mar 19Mar 16Mar 15Mar 12

Sunday, June 11, 2017

We got a break this morning in that clouds rolled in and kept most of the morning quite comfortable (mid 70's). The breeze (10-12 mph) also helped keep things cool. After the good morning Gail, Marcia and I had on Thursday, there were not many additions to the week's list found today. There was a family of Canada Geese on Lake Law; the most birds I have seen on the lake in several weeks. Of the 13 birds, it was hard to tell the adults from the juveniles, they are that big already. Also odd was a group of about a dozen boisterous Common Grackles usually not found in groups like that in June around the Lab. Other birds of interest found in the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes area were a Pied-billed Grebe (heard several times), a Wood Duck, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, a Northern Flicker, Willow Flycatchers, Marsh Wrens (many locations) and Brown Thrashers (3). Other highlights of the morning found in various locations of the Lab were Sandhill Cranes, a Spotted Sandpiper in an almost dry fuddle, a Caspian Tern (Denis also had another by A.E. Sea), Henslow's Sparrows, and Dickcissels (many locations). A Sora was heard in a very likely nesting location. Osprey update: At Nest 1, one adult was at the nest with 2 and possibly 3 Chicks. Nest 3 was quite crowded with both adults and 2 chicks and at Nest 2 there was no activity. Dave

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Another great morning for the first Grassland Bird Breeding Survey of the season, with almost no wind, mostly sunny and temps in the mid 50's for most of the survey period. Grassland highlights found during the survey were Sedge Wrens (11), Savannah Sparrows (1), Grasshopper Sparrows (2), Henslow's Sparrows (13), Dickcissel (13), Bobolinks (13) and Eastern Meadowlarks (12). The most noticeable differences from the pre-breeding survey of a couple of weeks ago were a large increase in Dickcissels (from 2 to 13) and a 50 percent increase in Sedge Wrens (from 5 to 11). On the downside the number of Bobolinks dropped from 25 to 13. Marcia and Gail were also in this morning. Here are their observations from Osprey Nests 1 and 3: " We checked on nests 1 and 3. Nest 1 has 2 adults and appeared to be feeding young but we couldn't see any heads for the youngsters. Nest 3 had 2 adults and we saw 2 heads (chicks)". In addition, Dave Shemanske reported seeing both Ospreys on Nest 2 several times this week including today, though I just missed them. We had quite a productive June morning. The girls and I combined for 69 species. Additional highlights were Pied-billed Grebes (2), Great Egrets (2), a Green Heron, a Turkey Vulture, a Bald Eagle, American Kestrels (2), a Spotted Sandpiper, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (3), most of the expected flycatchers plus an Alder Flycatcher (still singing in the same location in the Sparrow Hedge), a Bell's Vireo, Eastern Bluebirds (2), a Brown Thrasher, Cedar Waxwings (6), American Redstarts (2-males) and an Orchard Oriole (surprisingly we had no Baltimore Orioles). Dave

Sunday, June 4, 2017

This was probably the warmest start of a birding session of the season (70's), mostly cloudy with mild winds and lots of mosquitoes in some locations. A trip through the Sparrow Hedge area provided some highlights which included a singing Pied-billed Grebe, a Caspian Tern (becoming quite common), and several singing Alder Flycatchers. In addition, both a female Wood Duck and a female Mallard were found on A.E. Sea with ducklings to confirm their breeding status for this period. Back in the Village we ran across a couple of singing American Redstarts (late). The year's first Osprey chick was found on Nest 3 (Confirming this pair's first successful breeding inside the Lab.). Osprey Nest 1 also appears to be with chicks although none could be seen from our vantage point. Sandhill Cranes, a singing Warbling Vireo and Chimney Swifts were also found. Finally, the bird(s) of the day were about a half dozen Brewer's Blackbirds, the latest spring sighting in the Lab by 1 1/2 months. Dave

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The morning was quite pleasant again with sunny skies, temps in the mid 60's and, again, calm winds until around 9:00. Of the over 35 species found in the Sparrow Hedge area, most of which were the expected summer residents, the highlights were Wood Ducks (pr), a Pied-billed Grebe, Green Herons (4), a Caspian Tern, Willow Flycatchers, a singing Alder Flycatcher, a singing Bell's Vireo, Marsh Wrens, Cedar Waxwings (as well as many other locations in the Lab) and an Orchard Oriole (surprisingly No Baltimore's here). The only change in the Osprey Nests from what the girls reported yesterday is that at Osprey Nest 3 both adults were standing on the sides of the nest, but no other movement was visible. My guess is that the young have hatched. Other birds of note around the Lab were a Sora, an American Redstart (first migrant warbler found in over a week), Henslow's Sparrows, an Indigo Bunting, Dickcissels, Bobolinks and a Baltimore Oriole. I watched an American Robin fitting and forming a new nest for a possible second breeding session. Ryan Campbell reported a Cattle Egret later in the afternoon along Discovery Road. Dave

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Marcia and Gail were in this morning where it was sunny, 62 deg, with winds of 12mph. They found both Osprey Nests 1 and 3 with a bird on the nest and one nearby. Later they found one Osprey flying over Betz Prairie. Sandhill Crane sightings included one flying over the Main Ring Lake and then 2 close to the road by the guard house at the East Entrance. Other birds of interest, found mostly in the area of the Main and Injector Rings, were Great Egrets (2), a Spotted Sandpiper, an American Kestrel (Wilson Rd), a Warbling Vireo, an Indigo Bunting, Bobolinks (6) and Dickcissels (4 - Bison Field). Dave

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The morning was sunny with temps ranging between the mid 50's and mid 60's. The mild breeze to start the morning soon increased. A trip around the Sparrow Hedge area produced a Pied-billed Grebe, a Green Heron, a singing Alder Flycatcher (quite a few of these this season), a singing Bell's Vireo and several Baltimore Orioles. One of the Nest 2 Osprey's and a couple of Caspian Terns were foraging for a meal over the area's lakes. The Village Sandhill Cranes were near the East Entrance Gate. The female at Osprey Nest 3 was sitting noticeably higher this morning, while at Nest 1 the female was fidgeting around both times I passed by. The only other birds of note were a Turkey Vulture and the first Blue Grosbeak of the year. Dave

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Aside from the viscous mosquitoes in the woods, it was quite a pleasant morning for birding today (60's, mostly cloudy and calm early). Most of our time was spent in the area of Main Ring Woods. We had 2 first-of-the-year birds (also our birds of the day). First, was a typically secretive Black-billed Cuckoo, next was a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. Other birds of interest in the area were Chimney Swifts, an Alder Flycatcher, a quite actively singing Yellow-throated Vireo, a Warbling Vireo, Marsh Wrens (still a good number singing), Cedar Waxwings (regular around the Lab over the last few trips), Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Bobolinks. We flushed a possible nesting pair of Wood Ducks (female was quite agitated when it flushed from the tree) in Main Ring Woods. Further confirmation will be required. Other birds of interest found around the Lab were a Pied-billed Grebe, an American Kestrel, Sandhill Cranes (pair in Village), a Caspian Tern, Horned Larks and both Orchard Orioles and Baltimore Orioles. Dave

Friday, May 26, 2017

The early morning weather today was just about perfect for a pre-breeding grassland bird survey. It was in the mid 50's, partly sunny, quite calm and the wet grasses, in most places, were below the waist. Results were quite good. Highlights found during the survey were Sedge Wrens (5 - new year bird), Savannah Sparrows (5), Henslow's Sparrows (9), Dickcissel (2), Bobolinks (25) and Eastern Meadowlarks (9). Other birds of interest for the remainder of the morning were a Great Egret, a pair of Blue-winged Teal, Great Horned Owls (2), an Alder Flycatcher, Horned Larks (3), Marsh Wrens, Eastern Bluebirds, Cedar Waxwings (5), a Vesper Sparrow, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and a still singing Western Meadowlark. No migrant warblers were found today. All 6 Ospreys were located associated with their nests with no change in status to any nest. Finally, the most interesting sighting of the morning was finding 3 Juvenile Eastern Phoebes huddled closely together on a branch. After a couple of minutes one of the adults showed up and the competition for food began. Interesting how sibling love and competition can ebb and flow so quickly. Dave

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The rain had pretty much ended as birding started today. Otherwise it was cool, overcast and windy. The most interesting occurrence in the Sparrow Hedge area was seeing several migrant hawks including Cooper's Hawks (3), a Sharp-shinned Hawk and a possible Merlin that could not be confirmed. Other birds of interest in the area were an American Kestrel, a Caspian Tern, a juvenile Great Horned Owl, Willow Flycatchers, a Bell's Vireo, a Philadelphia Vireo and a Swainson's Thrush. Marcia was also in the Lab doing her monitoring today. Looks like sparrow migration has wound down. Our cumulative list included Chipping Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, a Henslow's Sparrow and Song Sparrows, all summer resident birds. Except for the summer resident Yellow Warblers and Common Yellowthroats, migrant warblers were quite spotty. Found were a Magnolia Warbler, a Blackpoll Warbler, American Redstarts (5) and, my bird of the day, a singing Blue-winged Warbler (finally located). Other birds of note found around the Lab were a Turkey Vulture (preening atop Wilson Hall), Hairy Woodpeckers, an Olive-sided Woodpecker (same one as Sunday??? although approx 3/4 mi away), a Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireos, a Horned Lark, Cedar Waxwings and Indigo Buntings. Some more birds that Marcia added were Killdeer (2), an Eastern Phoebe, an American Crow and Bobolinks (3). Now for an Osprey update... First, Nest 2 had one Osprey on the pedestal above the nest early in the morning. Later, the nest was empty and, while watching, an Osprey flew in and landed on the side of the nest. At this time this nest is not being brooded, but there is still hope since both birds have been in the area. Both Nests 1 and 3 are still being brooded. While in the Main Ring Woods, a raptor flew from outside the woods and, while being chased by a blackbird, landed at the edge of the woods. After several seconds it flew out again laboring while carrying a large goldfish toward Nests 1 or 3. Another interesting Osprey sighting was made by Jim Kalina (of Roads and Grounds) when he watched a Nest 3 Osprey circle a dead tree then fly down and break off a fairly large branch and carry it to the nest. Dave

Monday, May 22, 2017

Dave Shemanske sent me a picture of the Nest 2 (Nepese Marsh) Ospreys on the nest this afternoon. Good to see they remain loyal to their nest. It's getting late, but there is still hope for a second attempt at breeding this season. Dave

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The conditions this morning were cool, windy and mostly cloudy. We still, however, had the best morning of birding in the Sparrow Hedge/Lake Region of the season. Notable birds were a Green Heron, a Caspian Tern, a Great Horned Owl (Juv.), Chimney Swifts (group of 7-8 hanging around), Willow Flycatchers (singing), Alder Flycatchers (2-3), Bell's Vireos (2), a Yellow-throated Vireo (new for year), a Philadelphia Vireo, a Red-eyed Vireo, Warbling Vireos (found inside Main Ring), a Brown Thrasher, Cedar Waxwings, Yellow Warblers, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Palm Warblers, American Redstarts (many also found throughout the Lab), Common Yellowthroats, a Wilson's Warbler, a Scarlet Tanager and an Orchard Oriole. Denis was about an hour behind us in this area with his group. He found many of the same birds plus adding some interesting finds. The additional highlights from his list included two Bald Eagles, a resting Common Nighthawk (not an everyday type of find - first of year), a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, a Northern Parula, a Magnolia Warbler, a Blackpoll Warbler and an Indigo Bunting. Bird highlights found in other locations around the Lab were Sandhill Cranes (Pr. in Village), an American Crow, a Swamp Sparrow, a Western Meadowlark and our bird of the day, an Olive-sided Flycatcher (considered a rare species in the Lab). Denis' bird of the day was a Le Conte's Sparrow (a regular fall migrant but only 2 previous spring (April) sightings have been recorded in the Lab). Glenn was in the Lab later in the day, his most interesting observation was an interaction between an Osprey and an Eagle. As he stated, " The highlight was definitely watching an adult Osprey from either nest one or three chase a Bald Eagle out of Main Ring. The Osprey was nipping at it and swooping down on the poor adult Eagle." Birding mostly in the Main Ring, he was able to add several birds to the day's list including a Turkey Vulture, a Sora, a Spotted Sandpiper, an American Kestrel, Northern Rough-wing Swallows, Eastern Bluebird, a Tennessee Warbler (which brought the day's warbler total to 11), Chipping Sparrows, Field Sparrows, a Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrows, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, an Indigo Bunting and Bobolinks. Dave

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The morning temps were mild (70's) with partly cloudy skies and strong, gusty winds. The wind had a huge affect this morning, if not on the birds certainly on the birder. A quick circuit of the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes area did not produce much. I'm sure wind was a factor. Willow Flycatchers and Common Yellowthroats were singing in many locations. Yellow Warblers were also singing but in lesser numbers. The only other birds of note in the Hedge area were some Baltimore Orioles and a singing Bell's Vireo. Other birds of interest or new for the week around the Lab were a Caspian Tern, a Great Horned Owl, a Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Parulas (seems a high number were around this season) and American Redstarts (2-3). I had my first fledged American Robin of the year in the Village. The first in the "bird of the day" category was a beautiful juvenile Northern Harrier fighting the wind and a harassing Red-winged Blackbird while trying to hunt in the Main Ring Prairie. The second and best was a female Black-throated Blue Warbler. Dave

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Marcia and Gail were monitoring this morning in the strong winds, which no doubt affected the birds. Despite the wind, they did quite well with grassland birds in the Main Injector and Main Ring Prairie areas, most of which were singing. Two of their finds, a Grasshopper Sparrow (late for first arrival)and a Dickcissel (early), were first of the year birds. Other grassland birds were Field Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Bobolinks and Eastern Meadowlarks. They found several Baltimore Orioles (6) including a pair in suitable habitat making it a possible breeder for this 5 year period. Their only migrant warbler for the morning was a Tennessee Warbler. What is with the warblers this year? Other finds including some new week birds include a Great Egret, Eastern Wood-Pewees, Great Crested Flycatcher s, a Warbling Vireo, a Red-eyed Vireo, a Northern Rough-winged Swallow and Indigo Buntings. Finally, they found both Osprey Nests 1 and 3 still being brooded. Dave

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The morning started in the 60's, mostly cloudy and calm, which soon changed to the 80's, mostly sunny and windy. During an hour spent in the Sparrow hedge Lakes Region, over 30 bird species were found the highlights being Caspian Terns (2), a Great Horned Owl, an Alder Flycatcher (new year), Willow Flycatchers (new year - quite a few singing), Eastern Kingbirds, a Bell's Vireo (new year - singing), Marsh Wrens, a Brown Thrasher, Cedar Waxwings and a single Yellow-rumped Warbler. The recent southerly winds did not improve the warbler situation; actually it was quite disappointing. Other than the expected Yellow Warblers and Common Yellow-throats and the single Yellow-rumped Warbler (found at the Sparrow Hedge) only a Nashville Warbler, a Northern Parula and 2 Magnolia Warblers were found. Sparrow migration appears to be winding down. Found were Chipping Sparrows, Field Sparrows, a Savannah Sparrow, a Henslow's Sparrow, Song Sparrows, a White-throated Sparrow and White-crowned Sparrows (the only migrant sparrow still showing good numbers). The birds of interest found in other areas of the Lab were Wood Ducks, Blue-winged Teal (pair), Turkey Vultures, a Virginia Rail, Eastern Wood-Pewees (new bird), a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, an Indigo Bunting, a Bobolink and Baltimore Orioles. From a distance the female on Osprey Nest 1 was seen adjusting either the eggs or hatchlings??? Later, a closer view had her nestled in the nest as the male returned with a fish meal. Nest 3 is still being brooded while Nest 2 showed no activity. Dave

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A beautiful morning for birding greeted us today, with mild temps, partly cloudy skies and mild winds (which later increased somewhat). The only birding we did on the east side was to find a Hooded Merganser on Lake Law and a Lesser Yellowlegs on the Batavia Rd fuddle. Initially, we spent time checking for marsh birds and a reported Prothonotary Warbler. In both cases we were not successful. We had the best warblers of the year to date, finding 9 species (not too impressive, I know, but that's the way the spring has been). Warblers found were a Nashville Warbler, Northern Parulas (at least 2), Yellow Warblers, a Chestnut-sided Warbler (new for year), Yellow-rumped Warblers (quite a few), Black-throated Green Warblers, Blackburnian Warblers (at least 2 - new for year), a Black-and-White Warbler and Common Yellowthroats. Surprisingly, no Palm Warblers. Two other new-year birds missed during last week's SBC, were a Scarlet Tanager and a Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Other highlights, most needed for the week's list, were a Great Egret, Turkey Vultures (5), a Sandhill Crane, a Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireos, a Brown Thrasher, Bobolinks (6-10 in Main Injector area) and Baltimore Orioles (several locations). Dave

Thursday, May 11, 2017

It was a little breezy, but otherwise conditions were quite nice, mid 50's and partly cloudy. Migrants continue to trickle in ever so slowly. Starting with warblers, the only new arrival was an American Redstart. Others found were a Tennessee Warbler, Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats (both well distributed), Yellow-rumped Warblers, Black-throated Green Warblers (2) and Palm Warblers. The only new sparrow was a nice Clay-colored Sparrow (Garden Club). The other expected species were Chipping Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows (still in high numbers throughout the Lab). No new shorebirds only a Spotted Sandpiper and, in the fuddle on the north side of Batavia Rd (across from Dog Fields) were 15 Lesser Yellowlegs and 1 peep. The only other birds worth mentioning were a Green Heron, Great Horned Owls (3), a Ruby-throated Hummingbird (new year bird), a Least Flycatcher (new year bird) and Great Crested Flycatchers. Returning to the Red Barn, I watched a Red-tailed Hawk swoop down at the SE corner of the barn, apparently missing a rodent. It then flew to a nearby post and proceeded to intently watch the area of the miss. Finally, Dave Shemanske reported seeing both Osprey on Nest 2, so there may be hope for a retry. Dave

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Marcia and Gail had fairly nice weather for their morning survey of the Main and Injector Ring areas, with partly cloudy skies, mild winds and temps around 60 deg. They reported that some migrants are starting to trickle into the Lab. Vireos led the way with a Philadelphia Vireo, a Warbling Vireo and a Red-eyed Vireo (only the Warbling Vireo was seen previously this year). Warblers still seem to be scarce. They had a Black-throated Green Warbler, a Tennessee Warbler, Common Yellowthroats and a Yellow Warbler. Three Eastern Kingbirds were joined by the first Great Crested Flycatcher of the year. Among several Eastern Meadowlarks, the singing Western Meadowlark was again located in the Main Injector area. Three of the four Main Injector Ospreys were found including the females brooding on both Nests 1 and 3. They found, as I did yesterday, that there has been a large influx of White-crowned Sparrows (12). Others found were Field Sparrows, Song Sparrows and a Henslow's Sparrow. Three Sandhill Cranes were spotted across from the Dog Training Fields. Other birds of note were a Green Heron, a Spotted Sandpiper, a Killdeer, Marsh Wrens (2), an Indigo Bunting (first of the year), Bobolinks (4) and Baltimore Orioles. Dave

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

It was a very nice morning for birding today. The rain stopped soon after my arrival. It was cool with moderate east winds that did not increase until late morning. Two groups of warblers were found with a total of 12 species found. The first flock, found east of the Sparrow Hedge, was the smallest and included a Tennessee Warbler, an Orange-crowned Warbler, a Yellow Warbler, a Black-throated Green Warbler, a Palm Warbler and a Common Yellowthroat. The second flock was much larger. In the Big Woods area the following were found; a Nashville Warbler, a Northern Parula, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Black-throated Green Warblers (7-8), Palm Warblers, a Blackpoll Warbler, a Black-and-white Warbler and an Ovenbird (not associated with the flock). Most of the morning's sparrows were found on the east side of the Lab. These included Chipping Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Song Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows (by far today's most abundant sparrow). A nice collection of shorebirds were found in the large fuddle on the north side of Batavia Rd (east of Eola). It included Killdeer, Lesser Yellowlegs (6), Least Sandpipers (2) and a Pectoral Sandpiper. Other birds of note were Wood Ducks (still many pairs around the Lab), Blue-winged Teal, a Northern Shoveler, a Pied-billed Grebe, an American Bittern, Soras, an American Coot, a Great Horned Owl, Northern Flickers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Marsh Wrens, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Eastern Bluebirds, a Veery and Baltimore Orioles. I watched one Osprey fly into Nest 3 with a large fish then take over brooding as the other Osprey flew off (I guess to find its own meal). Both Ospreys were at Nest 1 but Nest 2 still remains abandoned. Dave

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Today was the 2017 Spring Bird Count in the Lab as well as many other locations around the country. Unfortunately, a poor showing of both shorebirds and warblers yielded below average results (in the species count). The shores of A.E. Sea provided absolutely no shorebird habitat and the many fuddles throughout the Lab were not much more productive. The only shorebirds found were Killdeer (6), a Spotted Sandpiper, a Lesser Yellowlegs and a Pectoral Sandpiper. There was a little more variety in warblers, but the pickings were still well below par. The 8 warblers we found were Northern Waterthrushes (2), a Black-and-white Warbler, a Tennessee Warbler, Common Yellowthroats (2), Yellow Warblers (2), Palm Warblers (8), Yellow-rumped Warblers (2) and a Black-throated Green Warbler. Sparrows were respectable but in smaller numbers than found over the past week, in most cases. Those found were Chipping Sparrows (7), Field Sparrows (8), Vesper Sparrows (2), Savannah Sparrow (14), Henslow's Sparrows (4), Song Sparrows (14), Swamp Sparrows( 4), White-throated Sparrows (22) and White-crowned Sparrows. Thrushes were represented by Eastern Bluebirds (4), a Veery, a Gray-cheeked Thrush, a Hermit Thrush and, of course, American Robins (38). The only flycatchers were an Eastern Phoebe and an Eastern Kingbird. The only vireo was a Warbling Vireo. Marsh area birds were the savor of the count starting with one of the best an American Bittern (calling then seen). Other waders were Great Blue Herons (14), Great Egrets (30) and a Green Heron (first of year). Rails and coots were represented by a Virginia Rail, Soras (32 - a high for the Lab), American Coots (4) and, a first for an SBC in the Lab, Common Gallinule. Also, a Lab SBC high of 10 Marsh Wrens were found. Four Osprey were found, but the sad news is that Nest 2 (Nepese Marsh) has been abandoned. Other birds of note were a Sharp-shinned Hawk, a Cooper's Hawk, Caspian Terns (9 - another Fermi SBC high), a Great Horned Owl (a beautiful Rufus Adult), Chimney Swifts (5), a stunning Red Headed Woodpecker, an American Crow, Horned Larks (5), Gray Catbirds (3), Brown Thrashers (3) and another Lab SBC first, Western Meadowlark. As always Red-winged Blackbirds were the most numerous species with 111 individuals. Besides the poor showing of both shorebirds and warblers, some notable misses were Northern Shovelers, Northern Harriers, any other flycatchers, Red-eyed Vireos, Cliff Swallows, Swainson's Thrushes, Lincoln's Sparrows, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings, and any Orioles. Dave

Thursday, May 4, 2017

It was cool and cloudy to start with mild winds, but the winds picked up throughout the morning. There was much less activity in the Sparrow Hedge area than on Tuesday. Yellow Warblers were singing in several locations along the trails. Other birds of note in the area were an Eastern Bluebird, a Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrows, a Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrows and several White-throated Sparrows. Two Black Terns were circling the large fuddle along North Eola Rd. while another was back at the Security Office Marsh. The bird of the day was a very cooperative Veery in the Big Woods (unfortunately it was not singing, love the song). Other birds of interest this morning were an American Kestrel, a Great Horned Owl, several Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a Hermit Thrush and Palm Warblers (only 2). An interesting observation was watching 2 Osprey soaring together in an area just south of the Main Injector. I then rushed to check both Osprey Nests 1 and 3, a short distance away. Both nests were still being brooded. So, were these the males from Nests 1 and 3, the pair from Nest 2 (from the other side of the Lab) or a couple of nonresident Osprey checking out the area? I thought it an interesting dilemma. Dave

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Marcia and Gail were in monitoring their usual area in the Main Injector and Main Ring this morning. They had 3 new year birds for the Lab including a Gray Catbird, a Tennessee Warbler and a Yellow Warbler. An American Kestrel was above a nesting box in the Main Injector Ring. There seems to still be some sparrow movement. Those found were Chipping Sparrows (2), Field Sparrows (2), Savannah Sparrows (3), Song Sparrows (4) and Swamp Sparrows (2). They also ran across a pair of Canada Geese with recently fledged young. Some of their other highlights were Turkey Vultures (5), Ospreys (5), Red-tailed Hawks, American Coots, Killdeer, a Spotted Sandpiper, an Eastern Phoebe, an Eastern Kingbird, a Horned Lark and a Brown Thrasher. The highlight of their morning was finding a Barred Owl in a wood lot near the Main Injector. Only once before had one been found there. Dave

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The morning was almost the same as Sunday, cloudy, rainy and windy. It rained less but the wind was a little stronger. I still cannot visually confirm brooding on Osprey Nest 2 (Nepese), but all observations to date point to the nest being brooded. Both Nests 1 %26 3 definitely had the female Ospreys brooding their nests. Both Lake Law and A.E. Sea were well over their normal levels, thus there was no shorebird habitat. The strong winds limited the bird activity in many areas of the Sparrow hedge area. The best bird in the area was a migrating Sharp-shinned Hawk fighting the westerly winds as it headed north. Other interesting birds in the area were Wood Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Soras (several calling around A.E. Sea), American Crows, a singing Brown Thrasher, a Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, and White-throated Sparrows. Sparrow numbers and activity was well below what it was on Friday. It was a day for terns with Caspian Terns (2) over the Main Injector Moats and Black Terns (3) feeding at the Security Office Marsh. This is a week ahead of a typically narrow spring migration period for Black Terns. Other birds of interest in various locations around the Lab were American Coots (L.Logo), a Great Horned Owl, Northern Flickers, a Palm Warbler, Marsh Wrens, Savannah Sparrows (6-8 in Garden Club), and a White-crowned Sparrow. My first fledglings of the year were 3 gosling Canada Geese with parents on Dusaf Pond. Dave

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The weather this morning can best be described in one word, wet. The rain was not heavy, but mixed with the constant wind and low temps (around 40 deg) had a definite impact on the morning's results. The rain yesterday and today produced a lot of nice fuddles but, as Peter said, "they have not been around long enough to attract any birds". The morning started with a ratty looking 2nd or 3rd year Bald Eagle flying over Lake Law. Later, we found it by the Swenson Road Marsh looking for an easy meal and, in the process, driving off the only shorebirds we saw all morning before we could make an ID. Other birds worth mentioning for the morning were Wood Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, an American Kestrel, Soras, an Eastern Kingbird (first of year), American Crows, a Horned Lark, a Vesper Sparrow and Savannah Sparrows. To the best of our ability we believe that all three Osprey nests are being brooded. The increasing depth of the nests plus the rainy weather made it hard to be absolutely certain, since the birds would be hunkered down as low as possible to protect their investment. Dave

Friday, April 28, 2017

The weather was almost perfect being mostly cloudy, a little cool (but quite comfortable) and, most importantly, with very mild winds. The Sparrow Hedge/Lakes Region was quite active. Sparrows in particular appear to be well into their migration. Sparrows found were Field Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Henslow's Sparrows (these were found along N. Eola Rd), Song Sparrows, a Lincoln's Sparrow, Swamp Sparrows (most numerous), White-throated Sparrows (2nd most numerous) and a few White-crowned Sparrows. Waterfowl have ramped way down while shorebirds, though increasing, are still only showing up in small numbers. Found at A.E. Sea were small numbers of Blue-winged Teal (3-4), Northern Shovelers (1), Green-winged Teal (3), Greater Yellowlegs (1), Lesser Yellowlegs (over 12) and a Wilson's Snipe. Sora were also heard in the reeds along the shore. Also found in the area were a Hermit Thrush and a Bank Swallow among the many swallows over the sea. Only one flock of about 20 warblers was found (inside the Main Ring) including Black-throated Green Warblers (about 3), quite a few Yellow-rumped Warblers and a few Palm Warblers. Other birds found throughout the Lab were Wood Ducks (several pairs), Turkey Vultures (2), American Kestrel, American Coot (8), Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Brown Thrasher, Nashville Warbler, Common Yellowthroat and the Western Meadowlark (still singing in Main Injector Area). Osprey status at the three nests was a little hard to assess in some cases. First of all Nest 1 (Main Inj. Area) is definitely being brooded. Nest 2 at Nepese marsh has become so deep it takes some concentration to evaluate, but it also appears to be being brooded. The status of rouge Nest 3 (along Giese Rd.), which this pair built on a power pole ignoring the nice platform provided, was hard to determine. Dave Shemanske saw the nest empty just before my visit when I found both Ospreys apparently working on the nest. Glenn was in yesterday (Thur.) and this evening (Fri.) scouting, then conducting, a "nocturnal flight call program" . With the southwest winds on Thur. he had a few flyovers. Unfortunately the north winds on Fri. squelched any migration flyovers. He did, however, come up with some good birds of interest around the Lab before nightfall. Shorebirds found were Killdeer, Spotted Sandpipers, Solitary Sandpipers, Greater Yellowlegs and Lesser Yellowlegs. Other wetland birds found were the expected American Coots plus Soras (2) and two, first-of-the-year, Virginia Rails. Two other first-of-the-year birds were a Marsh Wren and an American Pipit. Additional finds were Horned Larks (2), a Chipping Sparrow, Vesper Sparrows (3), a Savannah Sparrow and a Song Sparrow. Dave

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I've been on vacation for several weeks. During that time, Peter has kept the Lab's list up-to-date with recent sightings. I'll review the highlights of those sightings here to this date. Down along the Gulf Coast and into western Texas, the migration of Neotropical birds was well behind schedule. It appears conditions here are similar with the only warblers found so far were the non-neotropical Yellow-rumped Warblers, Palm Warblers and a Pine Warbler. Waterfowl found, mostly in small numbers, included Wood Ducks, Gadwall, American Black Ducks, Wood Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Redheads, Ring- necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Hooded Mergansers, Common Mergansers and Ruddy Ducks. Pied-billed Grebes were also found in small numbers while American Coots were found in numbers over 200 at times. Most of the shorebirds for the month were either Greater Yellowlegs or Lesser Yellowlegs, while some Solitary Sandpipers and Wilson's Snipe were also found. Yes, Killdeer were also in the mix. Raptors, beyond the expected Red-tailed Hawks, were a Bald Eagle, Northern Harriers (2), Cooper's Hawks (2), a Sharp-shinned Hawk and several American Kestrels (some associated with nest boxes around the Lab). Then there are the Ospreys. All six from the previous 3 nesting pairs have returned. They have shown loyalty to their previous nests and have begun brooding or at least are preparing for the breeding process. Nine sparrow species were found during the month including American Tree Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Vesper Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows. Some of the other highlights for the month were quite a few American White Pelicans (at times up to 150 were found), Soras (2) and Sandhill Cranes (As Denis pointed out some of these sightings were solo's, which could point to a possible nesting of the pair that was around the Lab earlier in the spring). Additional highlights were Great Horned Owls (Peter actually found a pair with a fledged owlet), a Belted Kingfisher, Eastern Phoebes, Brown Creepers, a Winter Wren (Glenn found one in Owls Nest Woods), both Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Golden-crowned Kinglets, Hermit Thrushes and Rusty Blackbirds. Now, for the "cream of the crop" sightings for April. First, was a Common Loon found by Glenn on Lake Law. Next, Denis found 2 American Bitterns inside the Main Ring and Peter found another across from the Security Office. Marcia and Gail added a singing Western Meadowlark in the Main Injector area. Glenn had a flyover Yellow-headed Blackbird near A.E. Sea. Finally, a new species for the Lab's Bird List was a Mountain Bluebird (female) found at the south end of A.E. Sea and confirmed by Peter and Glenn. Dave

Monday, March 27, 2017

During a short trip to the Lab today Denis added a Great Egret and a Field Sparrow (new for year) to the week's survey list. Dave

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Despite the on-again off-again rain during the morning we came up with some pretty good birds. Peter started a little early and relocated the Loon on Lake Law. Before the rain chased us away, we found Northern Shovelers, Hooded Mergansers, Common Mergansers, Red-breasted Mergansers and a Pied-billed Grebe. Inside the Main Ring we added Wood Ducks, Gadwall, Blue-winged Teal, Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Ruddy Ducks and American Coots. At one point, a dripping wet Northern Flicker looked down on us as we scanned Lake Logo. Our first highlight was finding an Osprey (ties the Lab's earliest sighting) near Nest 1. Then a little later we found both Osprey's atop Nest 1. At A.E. Sea, Green-winged Teal , Pectoral Sandpiper (2) and a Wilson's Snipe were added to our list. On our return to Lake Law, Denis pointed out a couple of Bonaparte's Gull (new for year, our second highlight of the morning) flying over the lake. Other birds found there were a Cooper's Hawk, a Horned Grebe and a group of Double-crested Cormorants (new). A few other birds of interest were American Kestrels (3), Tree Swallows, Golden-crowned Kinglets and a Fox Sparrow. In the interesting mammal department, we found a pair of Beavers and a Mink along the Main Ring Moat. Dave

Friday, March 24, 2017

The morning was warm, partly cloudy and very windy with considerable gusts. The southerly winds over the last day or so brought a wave of new birds and the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes Region was alive with activity. Song Sparrows in particular were singing constantly here and everywhere else in the Lab. The third bird of the morning was the bird of the day, a Common Loon (first of year) on Lake Law. The pair of Village Sandhill Cranes were again at the north end of A.E. Sea. The highlights of an extensive list of birds in the area were Gadwall, Blue-winged Teal (new-year), Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Common Mergansers, Great Blue Herons, American Coots, a Lesser Yellowlegs (new-A.E. Sea), 2 Pectoral Sandpipers (new-A.E. Sea), an American Crow (calling for 10-15 min), Golden-crowned Kinglets (new-many throughout Lab), Eastern Bluebirds, Fox Sparrows (quite a few here and others throughout the Lab), a Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrows (a couple groups) and Common Grackles. Found in the Big Woods were several flyover Turkey Vultures, a pair of Great Horned Owls and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (new). Found in the area of the Main Ring were American Wigeons, Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead (pr.), Ruddy Ducks, a Pied-billed Grebe, Wilson's Snipe, American Woodcocks (new), a Hairy Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebes (new), Tree Swallows (on nest box) and Rusty Blackbirds (new, but quite late). Denis was also in and added a Horned Grebe for the morning. Glenn was in the Lab this evening to lead a Woodcock Trip, but soon after they started the bottom fell out on the temperature scale (in a matter of minutes the temp dropped 20 deg and continued to drop during the outing). They did find 5 American Woodcock displaying in the interpretive prairie near The Big Woods. Besides finding many of the birds found in the morning, a couple of common misses from the morning were added for the week. The Buffalo Wallow produced a couple of Wilson's Snipe and a good number of Pectoral Sandpipers (8). They also had a bonus, hooting Barred Owl to round out the evening. Dave

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Birding today started with mostly sunny skies, mild winds and temps in the low 30's, but warmed steadily. Several Great Blue Herons were found around Lake Law. These were the first found in over 3 weeks. Lake Law also produced Gadwall, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, Hooded Mergansers, Common Mergansers, Red-breasted Mergansers (firsts of the year spotted by Denis) and a Horned Grebe. We also had a pair of Sandhill Cranes fly over L.Law. To round out the morning's waterfowl we had an American Wigeon, Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks and Common Goldeneye inside the Main Ring. Other highlights of the morning were a Cooper's Hawk (Big Woods), American Coots, American Crows, a Brown Creeper, and Eastern Bluebirds. Glenn was in early and heard a Barred Owl calling for the first contact with this species for the year. Sounds like he spent most of the day birding the Lab and had an impressive total of 63 species for the day. Some of the birds of interest he added to the day's tally were a Wood Duck, Bufflehead (2), a Pied-billed Grebe, a Turkey Vulture (Main Ring), two Northern Harriers (1-near Casey's Pond and 1-along Eola Rd), American Woodcocks (3-Big Woods, new for year), a Great Horned Owl (B.Woods), Hairy Woodpeckers (2), an American Kestrel, a Northern Shrike (a late one in M.Ring), Horned Larks, 2 Hermit Thrushes (Sparrow Hedge-first of the year), also in the S.Hedge a first of the year Brown Thrasher (both were early arrivals), Fox Sparrows, a White-throated Sparrow, Swamp Sparrows (3-A.E. Sea), Common Grackles, Brown-headed Cowbirds and a Purple Finch (S.Hedge). Dave

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The morning started out quite cold, in the high teens, but the sunny skies and minimal winds allowed for reasonable warming throughout the day. Early in the morning A.E. Sea was ice covered while Lake Law was about 90 percent open. The scattered openings in L.Law provided both a good mix and quantity of birds. Found there were Canada Geese, Gadwall, Mallards, Northern Shovelers (most numerous species), Green-winged Teal, Redheads, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Mergansers, Hooded Mergansers and, the bird of the day, a Horned Grebe. Waterfowl found elsewhere in the Lab were American Black Ducks, Wood Ducks, a Canvasback, Ring-necked Ducks, Common Goldeneye and Ruddy Ducks. As the girls showed yesterday, there are quite a few Song Sparrows around, but I also ran into a flock of over a dozen Fox Sparrows near the Ed Center. The expected sparrows found included American Tree Sparrows, a Swamp Sparrow and Dark-eyed Juncos. Other highlights were a Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk (brooding on a nest in the Buffalo Savannah), American Coots, an American Kestrel (across from the Buffalo Barn), Hairy Woodpeckers, American Crows, Horned Larks, Eastern Meadowlarks (again with subdued activity in the cold), a Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbirds and a couple of American Goldfinches. Though I missed them, the pair of Sandhill Cranes were again hanging around the East Entrance. Dave

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Marcia and Gail were out this morning in the Lab monitoring in cold but sunny conditions. In their usual territory (in the area of the Rings) they found a large number of waterfowl. Included in their finds were Canada Geese, Wood Ducks (11), Gadwall, Mallards, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal (2), Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead (2), Common Goldeneye (6), Hooded Mergansers (12), Common Mergansers and Ruddy Ducks. Other birds of interest were American Coots, a Blue Jay, American Crows (2), Horned Larks (12) and Song Sparrows (9). Their bird of the day was a full adult Bald Eagle found in the Betz Prairie area. Dave

Sunday, March 12, 2017

It was cold, starting at about 18 degrees. Birding was considerably more pleasant, however, because of the minimal winds unlike other recent visits. A.E. Sea and DUSAF were almost totally ice covered. Lake Law, on the other hand, being mostly open, did provide some good waterfowl. Birds found on L. Law were Canada Geese, Gadwall, Mallards, Northern Shovelers, a Northern Pintail (found later in the morning), Green-winged Teal, Common Mergansers, a Hooded Merganser (fem. - there were others elsewhere) and Ruddy Ducks. There was an increasing number of both Ring-billed Gulls and Herring Gulls on the ice covered portion of the lake. Other birds of note in the area were several flyover Sandhill Cranes (6-7), an American Coot (a large number were also found inside the Main Ring), American Crows and a Common Grackle. Other waterfowl found around the Lab were several Wood Ducks (first-of-the-year birds on Swan Lake),an American Black Duck, Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Buffleheads and Common Goldeneye. Though not very active nor in large numbers, several sparrow species were found including American Tree Sparrows, Song Sparrows, a White-throated Sparrow, a White-crowned Sparrow and a Dark-eyed Junco. Other birds of mention during our morning were a Pied-billed Grebe, Northern Harriers (2-males in Main Ring), a Great Horned Owl, an Eastern Bluebird, Horned Larks and Eastern Meadowlarks (only a very few were singing due to the cold conditions). Later in the day Glenn was in the Lab and had many of the same birds as were found in the morning, but also added several birds needed for the week's list. Those additions were a Turkey Vulture (around Wilson Hall), an American Kestrel (Main Ring), a Swamp Sparrow and American Goldfinches. Dave

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