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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 ...Jul 26Jul 23Jul 22Jul 19Jul 16Jul 15Jul 12Jul 8
Jul 5Jul 2Jul 1Jun 28Jun 24Jun 21Jun 17Jun 14
Jun 10Jun 8Jun 7Jun 4Jun 3May 31May 28May 27
May 25May 24May 22May 21May 19May 17May 14May 13

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Again the weather, being mild and mostly cloudy, had no affect on the birds this morning. In the grassland, near the Road B Arbor Day Site, we found just about all the desired grassland birds with good views of many of these. The birds found were Sedge Wren, Grasshopper Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrow, Dickcissel, Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark. The Osprey chicks from Nest 1 have fledged. They were found 40-50 yards away with one of their parents on a power pole. At Nest 2, one of the adults was above the nest on the perch while the chicks were apparently asleep. I did see, however, one head pop up momentarily. At Nest 3, both adults were together atop the nest, a great sign of continued nest loyalty. Some of the other birds found were Wood Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Green Heron (strangely we had 7 fly overhead near A.E. Sea), American Kestrel, Sora, Caspian Tern, Marsh Wren and Swamp Sparrow. Dave

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The weather (warm, mostly sunny and minimal wind) had no affect on the birds this morning. The Sparrow Hedge Lakes Region produced a Wood Duck, a Green Heron, Soras (at least 2), Caspian Terns, Marsh Wrens and Swamp Sparrows. In addition, while walking along the Hedge, an American Woodcock flushed less than five feet from me. During the morning all five of the summer flycatchers were also found including Eastern Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher (still a good number singing), Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher and Eastern Kingbird. All four birds were on Osprey Nest 2 with both chicks being fed by one of the adults. The chicks are noticeably larger and more active. The chicks on Nest 1 were occasionally flapping their wings as one of the adults looked on. Nest 3 had one adult perched about two power poles away. There were still a good number of singing Dickcissels inside the Main Ring at Betz's Prairie, which was their main stronghold this season. The most interesting sighting of the morning involved a pair of immature Red-tailed Hawks. While driving in the center of the Ring, the two hawks, while apparently playing sibling games, landed in a tree ahead of me. Driving ahead slowly to get a better view I saw that one of the birds was hanging upside-down by one leg. After awhile the other bird flew off. Then the upside-down bird started struggling and finally freed itself and dropped down to a branch below. I was able to get some good pictures while the hawk regained its balance and enjoyed the world right-side up. Dave

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Marcia and Gail were struck with the mid-summer birding doldrums today with not much exciting to report. They did, however, hear a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, which is always a good bird. In addition, they did compile a nice list of recently fledged birds including Common Yellowthroat, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Indigo Bunting and Dickcissel. Dave

Sunday, July 19, 2015

It was mostly a typical, mid-summer morning for birding today - mostly overcast, warm and buggy. The highlight of the morning was the confirmation of breeding Blue-winged Teal with the discovery of 11 ducklings following a female in Dusaf Pond. Also found were 6-7 juvenile Orchard Orioles along East Wilson Rd. The two Osprey chicks on Nest 2 were showing a little more activity in the nest than on any previous visit. Other birds found were Wood Ducks (2), a Green Heron, American Kestrels (5-6), Soras (calling in A.E. Sea), Willow Flycatchers, Bell's Vireo, Marsh Wrens and Cedar Waxwings. Dave

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Glenn added some really good birds for the week today in addition to a long list of the usual suspects. His best birds were Virginia Rail and Sora (both at A.E. Sea), American Woodcock (Sparrow Hedge area), a Barred Owl, Swamp Sparrows (Main Ring), Scarlet Tanagers (Big Woods), and Orchard Oriole. Dave

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The morning was sunny, comfortably cool with a mild breeze. Mosquitoes were less aggressive than on Sunday, enough to allow a somewhat comfortable walk through the Sparrow Hedge area. The woodlands, however, are still off-limits for any sane person. There was nothing remarkable to report from this morning, but many of the uncommon summer species were found. Found were Sandhill Cranes (pr-East Wilson), Caspian Terns (10-12), Willow Flycatchers (several singing), Horned Larks, Sedge Wrens, Marsh Wrens, Cedar Waxwings, Vesper Sparrows, Grasshopper Sparrows (a juvenile with an adult), Henslow's Sparrows, Dickcissels (one of the females carrying food) and a Baltimore Oriole (Juv). At Osprey Nest 1, the chicks appear quite healthy and seem ready to start exercising their wings. The Nest 2 chicks, not nearly as active, are only seen as occasional pop-ups above the rim of the nest. The Nest 3 adults were together on a power pole near the nest, one eating a fish, the other just watching. Interestingly, there was a large branch between them, destine for the nest I assume. Some of the other sightings were American Kestrels (9), Eastern Kingbirds, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, an Eastern Bluebird (a female carrying food to and into a nestbox), a Brown Thrasher and Savannah Sparrows. Dave

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Once again our morning's birding was dictated by the overly aggressive mosquitoes, no Sparrow Hedge and no wood lots. We started by Dusaf Pond with some interesting birds including a Wood Duck, a Green Heron (2 others were seen elsewhere), Caspian Terns (Flybys), a Chimney Swift, a Belted Kingfisher (a rare sighting in recent years, our first for the year), an Eastern Phoebe, a Great Crested Flycatcher (in an unexpected location), and several American Crows (7-quite a high number for the Lab). Nearby Osprey Nest 2 had both adults and both chicks at the nest. It appears that these chicks are not growing at the rapid pace that the chicks of Nest 1 had progressed. By the way, the chicks on Nest 1 are almost as big as the adults at this time. We had all 4 birds on Nest 1 when we approached and it was quite crowded up there. The Nest 3 pair are still hanging around the nest area. Other birds seen were American Kestrels (3), Spotted Sandpiper, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Red-eyed Vireo, a Grasshopper Sparrow (good looks), several singing Henslow's Sparrows, quite a few Dickcissels inside the Main Ring and several stray Bobolinks. Dave

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The morning was overcast, cool with minimum wind, perfect for a post-breeding grassland survey. The major changes in today's survey from the last breeding survey a couple of weeks ago were a sizable decrease in Dickcissels (from 31 June 24th to 18 today) and an increase in Bobolinks (from 17 June 24th to 41 today). The increase of Bobolinks was due to post breeding concentrations of family groups, with 23 in one location. I did have 4 Grasshopper Sparrows while Sedge Wrens, Henslow's Sparrows and Eastern Meadowlarks numbers remained consistent with the June 24th numbers. All 10 Ospreys were accounted for with no change in their status. Some of the other birds found during the morning were Green Herons (2), American Kestrels (3), Sandhill Cranes (2-in buffalo fields), Caspian Terns (7), a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, an Eastern Wood Pewee, an Eastern Phoebe, a Willow Flycatcher, Horned Larks (4), lots of swallows (including Tree Swallows, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Bank Swallows and Barn Swallows), Marsh Wrens, Vesper Sparrows, and Indigo Buntings (10). Marcia and Gail added Spotted Sandpipers (2-adults), an Eastern Kingbird and, interestingly, an adult male Orchard Oriole feeding a begging juvenile. Dave

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The mosquitoes have reached a new height in irritation. Other than that the weather was very nice - warm and sunny with very little wind. The morning started out with an adult Bald Eagle patrolling along the north shore of Lake Law. Not a lot of activity in the Lakes Region. We did have Caspian Terns, Bell's Vireos, Marsh Wrens and Cedar Waxwings. The fuddles in the north fields are drying fast with no interesting shorebirds to be found. That area did produce American Kestrels (3), Spotted Sandpipers, Horned Larks and Vesper Sparrows. We did locate all the prime grassland birds, the highlight being a quite boisterous Grasshopper Sparrow. Both the chicks at Osprey nest 1 are getting quite large and the two at Nest 2 are showing much more activity. Only one adult was near Nest 3. Also found were Wood Duck, Eastern Phoebe and, the bird of the day, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Dave

Thursday, July 2, 2015

It was a cool morning but the wind was the major hindrance since Zack, a summer intern, and myself were primarily looking for grassland birds. We did find all the target grassland birds though none were overly abundant. The highlight was four Grasshopper Sparrows at one monitor point along Batavia Rd. Others found were Sedge Wren (3 locations), Field Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Henslow's Sparrows, Dickcissels, Bobolinks (none singing and found in only one location) and Eastern Meadowlarks. Some of the other birds found were Great Egrets (over 15 at Nepese), a Green Heron, a Red-tailed Hawk (flying off with a good sized snake ), a Spotted Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs (7-north roads fuddles), Caspian Terns, a Chimney Swift, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Tree Swallows (many-many young birds), House Wren (carrying food into nest box), Marsh Wrens (lots at A.E. Sea), and Eastern Bluebirds (several young birds in several locations). The pair of Nest 3 Ospreys were not in the nest area but, as I was leaving, one did fly-in (so they're still around). One of the chicks on Nest 1 appears to be almost half the size of an adult, the second was smaller. The big Osprey news was finding a second chick on Nest 2 at Nepese marsh; both were being fed. Finally, Dave Shemanske reported a couple of Sandhill Cranes along South Eola Rd. Dave

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Marcia and Gail were in this morning and spotted many of the expected summer breeding birds, lots of mosquitoes and had several interesting sightings. Again they had an adult Spotted Sandpiper with at least one juvenile. Caspian Terns (2) were searching for food over the Main Injector Moats. Also found were a Green Heron, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and several Bobolinks (not too an easy find this breeding season). They reported that both adults were near but not at Nest 3 which was a failure this its first year. But at the same time they had two of their most interesting sightings of the morning near this nest site by the Main Injector. First was an American Kestrel eating a small Rodent and second was their bird of the day, a Peregrine Falcon. They were lucky to get good looks at it atop a power pole before it flew off. Dave

Sunday, June 28, 2015

It was another very nice morning (warm, sunny with no wind) for birding with mosquitoes, again, the only downside. In the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes region we had Caspian Terns, Chimney Swifts, a Bell's Vireo, a Sedge Wren, Marsh Wrens, Cedar Waxwings and Baltimore Orioles (a family). The North Roads and associated Fuddles produced a Blue-winged Teal, American Kestrels, a Sora, Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpipers, more Caspian Terns, Vesper Sparrows and Savannah Sparrows. Found elsewhere were several Turkey Vultures and Henslow's Sparrows. The two chicks in Osprey Nest 1 are noticeably larger. We finally spotted a chick in Nest 2 and possibly a second. Nest 3 is looking more and more like a failed attempt with the female at the side of the nest watching over her failed young (assumed). On the plus side, both adults remain very loyal to this nest. Finally, Denis' group reported a Cooper's Hawk carrying prey and a Grasshopper Sparrow carrying food (most likely to young). Also, Glen in earlier in the week had many of these same birds. Dave

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

It was time for another grassland survey and the weather was perfect for the survey as well as the mosquitoes; they were unrelenting. Skies were overcast and temps were perfect with very little wind through most of the morning. Some of the grassland species numbers were down from the survey conducted earlier in the month, most notability Sedge Wrens (10 earlier to 3 recent) and Bobolinks (26 earlier to 17 recent. Last year we had 29.). Most others were even although lower than same time last year. I'm wondering if the wet fields account for the lower numbers? There was one Grasshopper Sparrow. Some of the other interesting sightings were the Ruddy Duck (still at Sea of E), a Bald Eagle (probably a 3rd year bird with a predominately white tail and mottled body at S end of A.E. Sea), American Kestrels (2-different locations), Sandhill Cranes (2- N of Dog Fields), Spotted Sandpipers (2), Caspian Terns (5-in three locations), American Crows (both E and W sides), Horned Larks, Cliff Swallows (8-S end A.E.), Marsh Wrens, Cedar Waxwings and a Vesper Sparrow. Both Osprey Nests 1 and 2 appeared as they did on Sunday, but at Nest 3 the female was off the nest all morning (4 different visits including one by the girls); this may indicate that the eggs may not be viable. Marcia and Gail were also in the Lab today and had several very good sightings. First of all they also spotted the Sandhill Cranes. They probably had the same 2 Spotted Sandpipers by the Main Injector, but they were then joined by 3 tiny juveniles. In addition, they found another older juvenile in a different location (indicating two separate successful breeding pairs in the lab). It appears the two Green Herons they have been observing for over a month nested successfully and were joined by a juvenile bird. Other sightings of note were a Pied-billed Grebe, a Caspian Tern, a Red- headed Woodpecker, a Great Crested Flycatcher and a Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Overall, it was a great day to be at the Lab. Dave

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The weather was much improved today from what we experienced the last two Sundays. It was mostly cloudy, warm (but comfortable) with a moderate wind (helped discourage the mosquitoes). The best part is that we came up with some good birds. One of the best birds was a Ruddy Duck on the Sea of Evanescence. This sighting tied for the latest sighting at the Lab (for spring migration). Also found in the Sparrow Hedge-Lakes region were a Wood Duck, an American Woodcock, a Caspian Tern, a couple of Bell's Vireos and a Sedge Wren. The chicks were finally showing at Osprey Nest 1; we were able to see two. At Nest 2, no chicks were showing yet. The female was standing high, however, and offset in the nest. We were finally able to confirm brooding by the female at Nest 3. Other birds found during the morning were Sandhill Crane (2-in a fuddle north of Batavia Rd by the Dog Fields), Eastern Phoebe, American Crow, Purple Martin (3-Dusaf), Grasshopper Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrow, Scarlet Tanager and Orchard Oriole. Dave

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The morning started out fine with cool temps, no wind and overcast skies. Mosquitoes were the only issue, due to the lack of wind. Every body of water in the Lab is overfilled and most depressions are now filled with water. Interestingly, most of the Mallards and Canada Geese were in the flooded fields and not in the lakes. A Sedge Wren was still singing in a small field between Lake Law and A.E. Sea. A Wood Duck was in A.E. Sea and an Osprey was hunting above. The rains started while I was along the Sparrow Hedge and did not stop the rest of the morning. Returning to the Red Barn a pair of Caspian Terns flew from A.E. Sea to Lake Law. Unfortunately, the rain was intense enough to make viewing the Osprey nests difficult. The female on Nest 2 (Nepese) was deep in the nest and showed little movement while the male was sleeping on the perch above. The female on Nest 1 showed some activity and at one point appeared to be feeding the young. The male flew in, landed on the next pole down with a large carp, and began feeding. Like Sunday it could neither be confirmed nor denied that the female was on Nest 3, but one adult was feeding near the nest (about 50 yards away). Peter added the first Black-crowned Night-Heron of the year later in the day. Dave

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The morning started just like last Sunday with rain which greatly impaired birding. Monitoring the Osprey nests provided no new information. The females of both Nests 1 and 2 were tight on their nests shielding the young from the rain. At Nest 3 we could not determine if the female was brooding or not (due to the depth of the nest) while the mate was feeding nearby. When the rains stopped we had some interesting sightings starting with our new grassland bird monitoring location where we found a Grasshopper Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Field Sparrows and Sedge Wrens. Next we had a Wood Duck drake on a power line (the wire); it flew off. Then on our return it was back on the line. The breeding season was evident with a Baltimore Oriole, an Eastern Kingbird, and a Savannah Sparrow all carrying food. In addition, young birds of the following species were found: Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Eastern Kingbird, Tree Swallow, Field Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird and Baltimore Oriole. Other interesting birds found were Sandhill Crane (pair in North Roads area), Horned Lark, Vesper Sparrow, Scarlet Tanager and Orchard Oriole. Peter noted seeing a Herring Gull and hearing about Wood Duck ducklings (in the Swan Lake canal) earlier in the week. Dave

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Marcia and Gail were at the Lab again this morning and had most of the expected summer birds. In addition, they had a Turkey Vulture, Spotted Sandpipers (2), Baltimore Orioles (2) and an Orchard Oriole. But their biggest news was that it appears that the female Osprey from the new nest (Nest 3) is brooding eggs. In their three trips to the nest throughout the day the female was at the nest each time. Two of these times she was nestled deep into the nest and one time she was standing to the side of the nest. Time will tell how successful this new pair of Osprey will be at the breeding process. Dave

Monday, June 8, 2015

It was a beautiful, early morning start to carry-out a grassland bird survey (1st breeding for 2015). The winds did pick up later in the morning, but the survey was over by then. Again no Grasshopper Sparrows were found. The numbers of the majority of the grassland birds of interest including Henslow's Sparrows, Dickcissels, Bobolinks, and Eastern Meadowlarks were about the same as the same period last year. The exceptions were that Savannah Sparrows were down one half but Sedge Wrens were up significantly (2014-0, 2015-10). Not much change with the Ospreys. Nest 1 - though the chicks cannot be seen, the female is clearly fussing over them. Nest 2 - no change. Nest 3 - still waiting to see if brooding will occur. Other birds of interest for the morning were Turkey Vulture, Blue-winged Teal, Semipalmated Sandpiper (2-Dusaf), Herring Gull, Great Horned Owl, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Great Crested Flycatcher, Bell's Vireo, American Crow, Horned Lark (3), Marsh Wren, Cedar Waxwing, Vesper Sparrow and Baltimore Oriole. Dave

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Our trip to the Lab this morning was quite short due to the early rain. The only bird of note was a fairly rare-for-the-season sighting of a Herring Gull on Lake Law. The sighting was doubly good because it was needed for Peter's Fermi Bird list for the first week of June. Blue-winged Teal and a Spotted Sandpiper were still at Dusaf. Can't report anything new on the Osprey nests since it was raining by the time we got to them and the birds were hunkered down. Then donuts. Dave

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The morning was warm, mostly overcast and breezy. The Lakes Region still has Blue-winged Teal, Wood Ducks and Hooded Mergansers. The Sparrow Hedge area was alive with all of the expected summer breeding birds. There were two or more Bell's Vireos dueling it out vocally in one area. Other singing birds of interest were Sedge Wrens, Marsh Wrens and Swamp Sparrows. A Sharp-shinned Hawk flew out of Owl's Nest Woods over A.E. Sea then north up the sea. An adult male American Kestrel and a juvenile were in the area of the Main Injector nest box. A pair of Green Herons were also in this area. I must have miscounted the Hooded Merganser ducklings at the west side pond, because this morning there were six with the female not five. While observing the brooding bird on Osprey Nest 2 (Nepese), its mate landed alongside with a fairly large branch. In the process of positioning this branch, the brooding bird was stepped on, forced to turn away, then flush, circle the nest and finally land above on the perch. After the second bird sufficiently positioned the branch in the nest, it settled down to do the brooding. In observing Osprey Nest 1 (Main Injector) for a total of about 20 minutes or more during four different visits, the Ospreys were doing nest maintenance, bringing new materials, and each took short flights. In addition, they were feeding both themselves and young (although they could not be seen, it was clear chicks were being fed). Other highlight birds found this morning were Spotted Sandpipers, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, an Eastern Phoebe, Cedar Waxwings, Savannah Sparrows and Henslow's Sparrows. Dave

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Marcia and Gail were in the Lab this morning and found most of the expected summer breeding birds in the Main Injector area the best being a Grasshopper Sparrow. After a surge of these in early May, they have been hard to come by recently. Some of the other highlights of what they found were Green Heron (at least 2), Willow Flycatchers (7-singing), both a Warbling Vireo and Red-eyed Vireo, Indigo Buntings, Bobolinks (7 males), and a Dickcissel. Dave

Sunday, May 31, 2015

It was a fairly crummy day for birding with gray skies, cold temps and substantial winds keeping many of the birds down. There were not many singing birds today. The bird of the day was probably the fleeting look at an American Woodcock flushing from one of the paths in the Sparrow Hedge area. Lake law provided some activity with a flyover Caspian Tern and five of our six swallows including Tree Swallows, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Bank Swallows, Cliff Swallows and Barn Swallows. The only migrants found were a couple of late Tennessee Warblers, one in the Sparrow Hedge area. There were no visible changes in the Osprey status or population today. The only other sightings of mention were American Coots (3-A.E.Sea), Warbling Vireos, a possible pair of Green Herons (probably the one's the girls have been monitoring), several Cedar Waxwings and Dickcissels (one of few actively singing birds in good numbers). Peter also reported a Connecticut Warbler last week. Dave

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Unlike the windy, few mosquito-day the girls experienced yesterday, there was little wind early and lots of mosquitoes today. Other than that it was a pleasant morning. Blue-winged Teal are still in the Lakes Region and Wood Ducks in some wet woodlands. The Sparrow Hedge area had both an Alder Flycatcher and a Bell's Vireo singing, Chimney Swifts overhead and a flyby Caspian Tern. Osprey Nests 1 and 2 are still status quo, but it looked like chicks were being fed on Nest 1 from a distance at one point in the morning. Nest 3 is progressing quite well; the Osprey's were bringing in nesting materials both times I passed it. Other birds found were Pied-billed Grebe (singing again at Lake Logo), American Crow, Marsh Wrens (the most I've witnessed in years at several locations), Cedar Waxwings, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Dickcissels (after the girls first sighting yesterday, they're everywhere). Lastly, Ryan Campbell found a Red-headed Woodpecker in the Big Woods. Dave

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Marcia and Gail were out this morning, again wind being a factor (although they said, "the wind did keep the mosquitoes down). They think they're onto a couple of nesting species namely Green Herons and Spotted Sandpipers (the sandpipers had nested in the area previously, hopefully their back). They did come up with a couple of new year birds including a Wood Thrush and Dickcissel. Other birds of interest were another Turkey Vulture, several flycatchers (including Eastern Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher and Eastern Kingbird), a couple of Warbling Vireos and several Dickcissels. Dave

Monday, May 25, 2015

Denis was out this morning in the wind and rain, which did affect the birds. First of all he had an immature Bald Eagle flying over the south end of A.E. Sea. He was amazed at the third Osprey nest, especially being so close to Nest 1. Other birds he found during the morning were Wood Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Hooded Merganser, American Kestrel, Caspian Tern, Bell's Vireo (singing-Sparrow Hedge area), Horned Lark and Orchard Oriole. Dave

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The morning was quite pleasant (except for the gnats and mosquitoes) with warm temps, a slight breeze, overcast skies and occasional sprinkles. Peter had a couple of Caspian Terns over A.E. Sea. All our other birding was done in out-of -the-way locations with not a lot to show for our efforts. Some of the interesting finds were Green Heron, Spotted Sandpiper, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Great Crested Flycatcher (several locations - good showing for them this year), American Crow (again they seem sparse), Cedar Waxwing, Scarlet Tanager and Orchard Oriole (a pair performing mating displays). Again, the highlight was the activity at Osprey Nest 3 near the Main Injector. The nest has more than tripled in size since Friday. It's amazing how quickly the process has progressed in such a short time. On top of this we witnessed copulation by this pair a short distance from the nest. Lastly, one of the guards reported a Bald Eagle last week. Glenn led a bird walk in the eastern Lab area some of the highlights and birds not seen during the week were as follows. A female Hooded Merganser on Lake Law (curious if this is one of the 3 I had earlier in the week with ducklings) and 2 American Coots in A.E. Sea. A new for the year Yellow-bellied Flycatcher along with both Alder Flycatchers and Willow Flycatchers, Bell's Vireos and an American Redstart in the Sparrow Hedge Area. Finally, there were 11 Turkey Vultures (a high for the year) roosting on Wilson Hall. Dave

Friday, May 22, 2015

The weather was great for monitoring grassland birds this morning. It was sunny and mild with minimal wind. First of all the big news of the day was that there is now a third nesting pair of Osprey in the Lab. The nest is now under construction on the north end of the Main Injector Ring. I had seen an Osprey on this particular power pole on Tuesday. It remained on this pole for over half an hour during the time I was in the area. Initially I thought it was the male bird from the Main Injector Nest 1 since the pole is only about one third of a mile from Nest 1. In the same area this morning an Osprey flew overhead with a good size stick. Sure enough it flew to this same pole where its mate was waiting to put it into place in the starter nest. Earlier in the morning, during the monitoring session, the only key grassland species found were a sparse number of Henslow's Sparrows (4) and a good showing of Bobolinks (49). The other highlight of the morning was finding three female Hooded Mergansers with five chicks in the same wooded pond on the west side where they had been observed for the last several weeks. Some of the other birds of interest for the morning were Great Horned Owl, Alder Flycatcher (singing-Spr. Hedge), Bell's Vireo (singing-Spr. Hedge), Horned Lark, Sedge Wren, Marsh Wren, Cedar Waxwing, Orange-crowned Warbler (new-only migrant warbler found), Vesper Sparrow, and Swamp Sparrows (again singing A.E. Sea). Dave

Thursday, May 21, 2015

First of all, Marcia and Gail were out yesterday Wed. May 20 to do their regular monitoring. Their highlight was a very late Wilson's Snipe. The only migrant warbler they found was a Tennessee Warbler. Other birds of note were Green Heron (2), more Cedar Waxwings, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Bobolinks, and an Orchard Oriole. They also reported that the female American Kestrel was now outside the nest box near the security office. Today Glenn was in for a short time and reported a singing male Blue Grosbeak in the Sparrow Hedge area. He also found a Purple Finch, the only swallow I missed on Tuesday. He had a Lesser Yellowlegs at Dusaf and again the only warbler he reported was a Tennessee Warbler. Mark Donnelly reported hearing a Black-billed Cuckoo and got a call on his Dragonfly video. Dave

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The morning was cool and overcast with a substantial wind. There was a fair number of Swamp Sparrows and Marsh Wrens singing in the marshy margins around A.E. Sea along with a Sora. Sedge Wrens are still singing in several locations in the Hedge area. Other birds in the Hedge area were Chimney Swifts, an Alder Flycatcher, a Bell's Vireo (new-singing), a White-throated Sparrow and Baltimore Orioles (several singing). Dusaf was loaded with swallows including Tree Swallows, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Bank Swallow, Cliff Swallows and Barn Swallows (good numbers of all). Both Osprey nests are still active with the females in place. Seen in the Big Woods area were Cedar Waxwings (a group of about 20 birds), a Gray-cheeked Thrush (new), and, the only migrant warblers of the day, an American Redstart and two Tennessee Warblers. Lastly, the female American Kestrel was now standing guard above the Main Injector nest box. Hopefully this means hatchlings are inside. Dave

Sunday, May 17, 2015

This morning was warm, overcast, with an occasional light shower and mild wind. First we headed to the south end of A.E. Sea looking for the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. It was in the same location as Thursday and Saturday. Other birds found in the Sparrow Hedge area were singing Alder Flycatchers (2-new), singing Willow Flycatchers (several), Cedar Waxwings, and singing Sedge Wrens. There were also Blue-winged Teal on A.E. Sea. Except for the expected breeding Common Yellowthroats and Yellow Warblers, migrant warblers were virtually nonexistent. It was quite depressing that on what should be just past mid season for warbler migration none were to be found. The only other birds worthy of mention were several Turkey Vultures, a Cooper's Hawk and several Henslow's Sparrows. Also, I just learned that Glenn had an Olive-sided Flycatcher near A.E. Sea on Friday. Dave

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The morning started out cool and comfortable with mild winds. It remained cloudy most of the time while the winds picked up from the NE, again having some minor effect on the birds. Waterfowl were pretty much gone from the Eastern Lakes. Wood Ducks are still in the wet woodlands. The pond that had the pair of Hooded Mergansers last week today had a male and three females. A.E. Sea and Dusaf produced more shorebirds today including several Spotted Sandpipers, Solitary Sandpiper (2), Lesser Yellowlegs (1), and Least Sandpipers (over a dozen Pectoral Sandpiper yesterday). Warblers were not abundant though there were several small groups and nine species were found. A Nashville was new for the week and one of the birds of the day, a Canada Warbler (new), was found in Main Ring Woods. Over a dozen Chimney Swifts were flying over Dusaf. A resting Common Nighthawk (new) flushed from a small tree and flew into the Sparrow Hedge. There was a nice mix of flycatchers in Owl's Nest Woods including a Least Flycatcher. There was also another Veery there. Willow Flycatchers are in and were singing in several locations. Sedge Wrens were found in two separate location and Marsh Wrens at south Lake Law. A Broad-winged Hawk (new) was heard calling about half way down the Sparrow Hedge. It flushed and flew west down the Hedge. The two highlight sparrows of the morning were several Henslow's Sparrows and a Clay-colored Sparrow (new) (possibly two) originally found by Glenn. Two other good birds for the morning were a Tufted Titmouse (new) (Main Ring Woods) and another Red-headed Woodpecker (Big Woods). After a couple of days and several reports, it appears that the female Osprey on the Nepese nest is truly brooding eggs. Glenn spent the day in the Lab and added many good birds including one great one, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (new). This is only the second bird of this species found at the Lab (the last was June 2014). In the Big Woods, he had a Black-billed Cuckoo (new) singing, as were Northern Parula (new), Black-throated Green Warbler and Tennessee Warbler. Among the approximate dozen warblers he found Magnolia Warbler (new) and Wilson's Warbler (new) were new for the week, both in Sparrow Hedge. There is still a male Ring-necked Pheasant surviving the coyotes. No additional shorebirds were found but he did have a Sora. A couple of late Northern Harriers, a Cooper's Hawk and Vesper Sparrow rounded out his new birds for the week. At AE Sea, there was a female Ruddy Duck, Common Nighthawks, Black Tern (new), Forster's Tern (new), a Purple Martin, a Bank Swallow and a pair of Sandhill Cranes. He had a total of 102 species for the day. Finally, Penny Kasper had a Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Barred Owl yesterday (Tuesday). Dave

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Marcia and Gail were at the Lab this morning and added some good birds to the week's list. First they had three birds that were missed on last Saturday's Spring Count starting with two Green Herons. Then two birds that were also new for the year, a Yellow-throated Vireo and an Ovenbird. Some of their other highlights were Turkey Vulture, Spotted Sandpiper, Hairy Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Kingbird, Warbling Vireo, Swainson's Thrush, Northern Waterthrush, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Bobolink. They also noted that the female Osprey was again sitting on the nest as if brooding. Dave

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