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Recent Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Author: Peter Kasper

See the following link information concerning the Current Status of Access to Fermilab
Entries from past years .. '99 '00 '01 '02 '03 '04 '05 '06 '07 '08 '09 '10 '12
and past months .. Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Year List: Contains the list of birds seen so far this year.
Seasonal List: The list of birds recorded on site at this time of year.
Recent entries ...Aug 16Aug 13Aug 10Aug 9Aug 6Aug 3Jul 30Jul 26
Jul 23Jul 19Jul 16Jul 15Jul 12Jul 5Jul 4Jul 2
Jun 29Jun 21Jun 17Jun 16Jun 15Jun 11Jun 8Jun 4
Jun 1May 31May 30May 28May 26May 24May 22May 21

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The morning started out quite pleasant being in the hi 60's, mostly sunny and calm, but soon warmed to the mid 80's. Again a Least Bittern was the bird of the morning (a flyover, in great light, at the north end of A. E. Sea). Other birds of interest found in the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes Region were Wood Ducks, Soras (4), Green Herons (4), Great Egret (numbers climbed to 51 at Sea of Evanescence), a Caspian Tern, a Downy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, a Northern Flicker, a Hairy Woodpecker (Big Woods), Eastern Kingbirds, Marsh Wrens (still diminishing in numbers-at least those singing), a Cedar Waxwing and Eastern Towhees. Birds of interest found in other areas of the Lab were Ospreys (3-in area of Nest 1, none around Nest 3), American Kestrels (4), Eastern Wood-Pewees, an Eastern Phoebe, Sedge Wrens, a Brown Thrasher, a Vesper Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrows, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Eastern Meadowlarks and Baltimore Orioles. Dave

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Temps this morning were still comfortable (hi 60's - low 70's), skies were partly cloudy and winds were calm. The Sparrow Hedge did produce some interesting birds starting at the "Cattail Slots" on the north end of A.E. Sea. Found there were 2 Least Bitterns (one flyover and one sunning itself), several Soras, Wood Ducks, a Green Heron and a Spotted Sandpiper (new week). Found in the remainder of the Lakes/Sparrow Hedge region were 43 Great Egrets (Sea of E.), a singing Bell's Vireo (also found on Wed. and by Glenn on Thur.), Eastern Kingbirds (5 in one tree), an American Crow and Northern Rough-winged Swallows (new week). Elsewhere in the Lab the only other new bird for the week was a Warbling Vireo. An adult and a juvenile Osprey were perched on the cross beams of the now missing Nest 1. After they flew off we investigated the base of the nest pole and found the nest material spread around the base of the nest up to a 20 foot radius rather than in a centralized pile. This, strangely, seems to imply that the nest was dismantled by the Osprey and not blown off the pole by a strong wind gust. It will be interesting to see the next move made by this extremely viable pair of birds (the Nest 1 pair have produced 22 offspring to date). Dave

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Glenn was in today and spent quite a bit of time birding around the Lab. From his extensive list of birds he added a large number of birds to the week's list. In addition he added two "first of the year" birds including a Ring-necked Pheasant and a Black-crowned Night-Heron. The other birds added for the week were an American Black Duck, a Cooper's Hawk, a Belted Kingfisher, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, a Willow Flycatcher, a Horned Lark, Purple Martins, a Brown Thrasher, a Yellow Warbler, a Chipping Sparrow, a Swamp Sparrow and Bobolinks. This helped us have the largest number of species for a week since the second week of June. Dave

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The weather was quite pleasant with temps ranging from the mid 60's early to the mid 70's later. Mosquitoes were again a problem and several locations would have been unbearable without a head net. Marcia and Gail were also in this morning and all together we had just about 60 species. Starting with the Lakes/Sparrow Hedge region the highlights of birds found were a Wood Duck family, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, several Soras, a pair of Sandhill Cranes (just behind the birding area sign), Caspian Terns, Great Egrets (27 at the Sea of Evanescence-highest number this season), a Great Horned Owl, an Eastern Phoebe, a Bell's Vireo, Marsh Wrens (a notability reduced presence), Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and a couple of juvenile Orchard Orioles. Highlights found elsewhere in the Lab were a Turkey Vulture (on the upper corner of Wilson Hall), a Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flickers, American Kestrels, Eastern Wood-Pewees, a Great Crested Flycatcher, a Red-eyed Vireo, an American Crow, Sedge Wrens, Cedar Waxwings, Henslow's Sparrows, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings and Eastern Meadowlarks. Osprey Nest 1 is now almost completely down, for still unknown reasons. One of the juvenile Ospreys was feeding on a cross member of the nest pole with another nearby. Nest 3 had one of the juveniles perched near that nest. Dave

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Mostly cloudy skies, calm winds and favorable temps were overcome by the tenacity of the mosquitoes in most areas of the Lab. Highlights in the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes region were Wood Ducks, Soras, Sandhill Cranes (heard east of A.E. Sea), Caspian Terns (at least 2), a Spotted Sandpiper, a Willow Flycatcher (again using the whit call) and a Brown Thrasher. Along North Eola Rd. the Henslow's Sparrows, in contrast to Thursday's visit, were singing everywhere. Also singing , but to a much lesser degree, were Sedge Wrens and Eastern Meadowlarks. A Horned Lark and Savannah Sparrows were also found in this area. Other highlights around the Lab were American Kestrels (2), a Northern Flicker, several Eastern Phoebes, a juv. Chipping Sparrow and Indigo Buntings. An interesting Osprey observation was made at Nest 1. One of the juvenile Osprey was atop the nest, but something did not look right to us. Then we realized that the size of the nest was greatly diminished. We did not want to approach the nest at this point in time with the youngster still around the nest, but will try to determine what happened to the nest material at a later date. Dave

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The morning started out warm, humid, calm, partly cloudy and buggy. Through the morning it turned sunny, then cloudy and finally rainy. Half the morning was spent in the Lakes/Sparrow hedge region trying to locate one of the Least Bitterns that have eluded me. A number of interesting birds were found including a Wood Duck family, American Black Ducks, Pied-billed Grebe (L. Law), Soras (2-Adults, 1-Juv), a Spotted Sandpiper, Caspian Terns, my best bird of the day - a Least Bittern (finally!), Green Herons (several Adults and a Juv), a Willow Flycatcher (calling-Whit), a Bell's Vireo (first in over a month-just a few song notes), Marsh Wrens (a little less prominent than on recent visits), Eastern Bluebirds and Cedar Waxwings. In other areas around the Lab... First, the grassland birds presence has been diminishing including Sedge Wrens (far less along S. Eola), Henslow's Sparrows (only 2 reluctantly singing along S. Eola) and Eastern Meadowlarks (few heard, several locations). Some other highlights included American Kestrels, Eastern Wood-Pewees, Eastern Phoebes, Horned Larks, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, American Redstarts, and Indigo Buntings. Osprey Nest 3 had only 1 juvenile feeding at the nest. While at Nest 1 a juvenile was on the nest, 2 were feeding nearby and 1 was calling from inside the Main Ring. Later, when the rain started the juvenile on the nest started jumping up and down as if it were testing its wings. It then flew a circle around the nest and landed back on the nest. Whether or not this was its first flight, it certainly confirms the fledging of all 7 young Ospreys for 2017. This brings the total of fledged Osprey at Fermilab to 30 (22 of these from Nest 1) over the last 9 years. Marcia and Gail were also in the Lab this morning, finding many of the same birds in the Main Ring and Injector Ring Areas. For the week list they added woodpeckers I missed including a Downy Woodpecker and several Northern Flickers (5). Others they added for the week were 2 juvenile Warbling Vireos and 2 Dickcissels inside the Main Ring. Dave

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The conditions were quite pleasant this morning being partly sunny with moderate temps. More importantly the numbers of mosquitoes and deer flies were way down. The Lakes/Sparrow Hedge region still produces some birds of interest. The ever present, this season, Marsh Wrens were singing throughout the area as were a couple of Willow Flycatchers. Also found were a family of 3 juvenile Pied-billed Grebes with one adult. There was also a group of several juvenile Song Sparrows foraging together on the shore of A.E. Sea. Other birds of interest in the area were Wood Ducks, several American Black Ducks, a Sora, Caspian Terns (4), a Least Bittern, Green Herons (several buzzing the area) and a Baltimore Oriole. Birds found elsewhere around the Lab were Killdeer (including some juveniles), a Spotted Sandpiper, a Black-billed Cuckoo (heard), a Hairy Woodpecker, American Kestrels (at least 3), an Eastern Phoebe, a Great Crested Flycatcher, an American Crow, a couple of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Vesper Sparrows, Indigo Buntings and an Eastern Meadowlark. Osprey Nest 1 appears to be fully fledged even though there was a juvenile on the nest during our visit. An interesting observation was that there were 7 Ospreys (including 2 adults) in the immediate area of Nest 1, which meant at least one of those juveniles must have been from Nest 3. Dave

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

It was cloudy and fairly comfortable most of the morning, but warmer and humid later. The bird of the day was a nearly adult Bald Eagle being escorted westward by several Red-winged Blackbirds along the southern edge of The Sea of Evanescence. The only other birds of interest found in the Lakes/Sparrow Hedge region were Wood Ducks, Green Herons ( 4 here and 2 elsewhere), a Caspian Tern, Willow Flycatchers (several still singing), Indigo Buntings and the still abundant Marsh Wrens. Sedge Wrens and Henslow's Sparrows were still quite actively singing along South Eola Road. In addition, there was also a large collection of post breeding Bobolinks active in that area. Some of the other birds found around the Lab were a Turkey Vultures, Eastern Wood Pewees (a family with begging young), an Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Bluebirds, an American Redstart, Vesper Sparrows and Eastern Meadowlarks. I was lucky to finally get to see all 11 Ospreys from Nest 1 %26 3 today. First at Osprey Nest 3, all 3 of the juveniles were together on a power pole about fifty yards from the nest. Immediately going to Nest 1, I found five Osprey circling high over the nest area while there were still 3 juveniles on the nest. Dave

Sunday, July 23, 2017

We had a short birding session this morning. Mosquitoes, deer flies and humidity were key factors, but when the sun showed itself, the increase in temps signaled donut time. Most of our time was spent in the Lakes/Sparrow Hedge Region where we found Wood Ducks (less than previous visits), Pied-billed Grebes (2), a Black-billed Cuckoo (heard west of A.E. Sea), a pair of Sandhill Cranes, several Green Herons and Great Egrets, Willow Flycatchers (several singing) and Eastern Kingbirds. Found elsewhere were a Red-bellied Woodpecker (not spending much time in the woods recently woodpeckers have been hard to come by), more Sandhill Cranes (3) and American Kestrels (2-3). Osprey update: Nest 1 had 2 juveniles in the nest and the other 2 nearby with one of the adults. At Nest 3, only 2 of the juveniles were on nearby power poles. Dave

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

This morning I did the Grassland Bird Post Breeding Survey for this season. Both Sedge Wrens (12) and Henslow's Sparrows (20) were the most active species in the survey areas. Both Bobolinks and Dickcissels, on the other hand, were a disappointment with only 3 of each found over all 12 survey points. Eastern Meadowlarks were also on the low side with only 6 found. None of the areas produced any Grasshopper Sparrows . Some of the other birds of interest found during the morning were a Pied-billed Grebe, Green Herons, American Kestrels (2), Sandhill Cranes (3), a Caspian Tern, American Crows, two large groups of Tree Swallows (totaling 49 - mostly juveniles), Cedar Waxwings, a Vesper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrows, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak and an Orchard Oriole. As far as the Ospreys go, Nest 3 showed the most activity this morning. In the end all juveniles fledged and left home. Very early (5:15) two chicks were still on the nest while the other chick and one adult were on nearby power poles. By mid morning (9:30) all three chicks and one adult were on surrounding poles and trees. Finally, by late morning (11:50) all five Nest 3 Ospreys had left the area and were nowhere to be found (I'm sure they will still use the nest site as a central meeting point for awhile). Gail was in this morning also observing much of this activity. In addition, she spotted some of these birds at other points around the Injector and Main Rings. The activity around Nest 1 was less exciting, but all 6 birds were found around the nest area. Early in the morning the nest was crowded with 3 chicks and an adult while a fledged youngster and the other adult were on nearby poles. Throughout the morning there were always several birds on Nest 1. Dave

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The weather was nearly perfect for a July morning's birding, being cool and overcast with minimal wind. Our first stop was the Lakes/Sparrow Hedge Region. A number of good birds were found in this area including an American Black Duck, (only the 2nd July sighting), Wood Ducks, a Sora, Virginia Rails (an adult with chick), Pied-billed Grebes (singing), a Caspian Tern, Great Egrets, Green Herons (4-5), a Least Bittern, a Belted Kingfisher, Willow Flycatchers (several still singing), Marsh Wrens (singing in every marshy area), an Eastern Bluebird, a Brown Thrasher and a Baltimore Oriole. Highlights found in other parts of the Lab included Turkey Vultures, Sandhill Cranes, Sedge Wrens, an Eastern Towhee, Savannah Sparrows, Henslow's Sparrows, a Dickcissel, a large flock of Bobolinks and Eastern Meadowlarks. Finally, it's official, the Lab produced 7 Osprey chicks this season including 4 chicks on Nest 1 and 3 chicks on Nest 3 (that's pretty impressive for a first brood at nest 3). Dave

Saturday, July 15, 2017


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

On July 12th Marcia and Gail were back in the Lab monitoring birds in the Main and Injector Rings. They indicated an increase in the Osprey numbers as more chicks were visible. A total of 9 Osprey were found including 2 Adults and 2 chicks found at Nest 1. Then at Nest 3, 2 Adults and 3 chicks were found. Unfortunately, their time at the Lab was cut short due to an incoming storm. In their short time in the Lab they found some birds of interest including Great Egrets (4 - their numbers appear to be increasing), a Northern Flicker, an Eastern Bluebird, Cedar Waxwings, Indigo Buntings, a Dickcissel, Eastern Meadowlarks and a Baltimore Oriole. Dave

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

On July 5th, Marcia and Gail were doing their usual mid-week monitoring in the areas of the Main and Injector Rings. Their highlights were Turkey Vultures, 6 Osprey ( 2 adults and 1 juvenile at both nest 1 and nest 3), 3 Red-tailed Hawks (2 adults and 1 juvenile begging for food), 3 Killdeer (1 adult and 2 juveniles), a Willow Flycatcher, a Great Crested Flycatcher (male at nesting site), a singing Sedge Wren, a Cedar Waxwing, Indigo Buntings, Dickcissels, and Eastern Meadowlarks. Dave

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Glenn started out his 4th of July celebration by looking for evidence of breeding birds within the Lab. Some interesting birds that he confirmed as breeding within the Lab were Blue-winged Teal (a mother and 2 young), Virginia Rail (2 adults and 1 juvenile), Sora (3 adults and 1 juvenile) and American Kestrel (2 adults and 2 juveniles). Also, other possible breeders were both singing Grasshopper Sparrows and Henslow's Sparrows. Some of the other interesting highlights of the morning were a Pied-billed Grebe, a Green Heron, a Cooper's Hawk, Sandhill Cranes, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Chimney Swifts, a Warbling Vireo, Horned Larks, a Purple Martin, Eastern Bluebird (multiple pairs), a Vesper sparrow, Savannah Sparrows, Indigo Buntings, a Dickcissel, Eastern Meadowlark, a Baltimore Oriole and an Orchard Oriole. Dave

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The weather was still quite pleasant during our early morning survey of the Lab's birdlife. The temps were in the 70's, sunny with mild winds. At one point there were 27 Great Egrets and about 15 Great Blue Herons on the Sea of Evanescence. Highlights in A.E. Sea were a singing Pied-billed Grebe, Wood Ducks and Hooded Mergansers (including a male in eclipse plumage). Other highlights of the Lakes/Sparrow Hedge region were a Caspian Tern, lots of Marsh Wrens and a couple of Brown Thrashers. Some of the other birds of mention found around the Lab were an American Kestrel, Sandhill Cranes, Horned Larks, Cedar Waxwings (becoming so common as to possibly fall off the highlights lists) Henslow's Sparrows, Dickcissels (singing in many locations), Eastern Meadowlarks (many more than found on Thursday when wind may have affected their activity) and both a Baltimore Oriole and an Orchard Oriole. Denis' group also reported a Yellow-billed Cuckoo inside the Main Ring. In addition, they confirmed breeding for both Wood Ducks and Northern Rough-winged Swallows. Dave

Thursday, June 29, 2017

While I was in doing my final Grassland Breeding Bird Survey of the season at set points around the Lab, both Marcia and Gail were in doing their regular monitoring responsibilities in the Main and Injector Rings. The weather was very nice to start (5:15 am) being cloudy and mild with minimal wind. Unfortunately, the wind picked up after monitoring several points. This did keep some of the birds in check and made hearing some of their calls difficult. Between us we created a nice list of 64 birds found during the morning. Starting with the Ospreys, the girls had 2 adults by Nest 1, and 2 adults and 2 Juveniles at Nest 3. In my passes by Nest 1, I 'm pretty sure there are 2 young in it. The girls again watched a pair of American Kestrels with a juvenile at a nest box. A nice find they had was a male, Great Crested Flycatcher guarding a nest hole with a female in the cavity. The grassland breeding birds were not too impressive. The only standout was the 20 recorded Henslow's Sparrows. The 11 Sedge Wrens were also quite good. Beyond that, the numbers were quite poor with only 14 Dickcissels , 11 Bobolinks and only 5 Eastern Meadowlarks. My best birds of the morning were a singing Wood Thrush and a female American Redstart. Other highlights we found were Pied-billed Grebes (2-singing), Great Egrets (5), a Turkey Vulture, Hooded Mergansers (2-A.E. Sea), a Spotted Sandpiper, a Sandhill Crane, a Caspian Tern, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, a Willow Flycatcher (singing), a Bell's Vireo, an American Crow, Marsh Wrens, Eastern Bluebirds, a Brown Thrasher, Cedar Waxwings, Vesper Sparrows (2) and a Savannah Sparrow. Dave

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

It must have been crowded in the Lab on June 21st since Marcia, Gail and Glenn were all in monitoring the birdlife. Both groups found the following highlight birds: Northern Flickers (Glenn had a pair with a begging young bird heard), Indigo Buntings, and both Orchard and Baltimore Orioles. Glenn added Pied-billed Grebes (3 singing males and a female with at least 2 chicks), a Great Egret, a Caspian Tern, a Great Horned Owl (three flushed from a tree-roost! Most likely adults and juvenile), a Brown Thrasher and Cedar Waxwings. The girls added a Green Heron, Ospreys (including at Nest 1 an adult on the nest and one nearby and at Nest 3 an adult on nest, 1 nearby, and 2 small heads in nest), American Kestrels (at a Nest box with 1 juvenile Kestrel sticking its head out and 2 adults nearby), a Savannah Sparrow, Dickcissels (9) and a Bobolink. Dave

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Glenn was back in the Lab on the 17th. A canceled field trip (due to rain which did not occur) allowed him some extra monitoring time in the Lab. From his list of birds, the highlights of that trip were a Turkey Vulture, a Cooper's Hawk, a Bald Eagle (immature bird flying over Casey's Pond), a Caspian Tern, Sedge Wrens, Henslow's Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, Indigo Buntings, Dickcissels, and Bobolinks. Dave

Friday, June 16, 2017

Marcia and Gail were in on the 16th and noted 4 Osprey in the Main Injector area. Nest 1 had an adult on the side of the nest (chicks probably napping) and Nest 3 also had an adult on the side of the nest plus 2 chick heads showing above the edge of the nest. They also noted lots of Dickcissels singing in many locations. Other highlight birds were a pair of Sandhill Cranes, American Kestrels (2), Eastern Bluebirds, Cedar Waxwings (here just about every visit lately), Savannah Sparrows, a pair of Orchard Orioles and a Baltimore Oriole. Dave

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Glenn was in on the 15th doing some Breeding Bird Surveys. Some of the birds he found in various stages of breeding were several Wood Duck pairs in DUSAF, a Pied-billed Grebe (singing DUSAF), Purple Martins (nesting DUSAF), a singing Grasshopper Sparrow and many Henslow's Sparrows. Some other highlights of 53 birds he found were Yellow-billed Cuckoo, a Great Horned Owl, a Peregrine Falcon (immature bird flying over Arbor Day and Director Woods),an Eastern Phoebe, Cedar Waxwings, Eastern Meadowlarks, a Bobolink (flyover at North Eola Prairie) and a Baltimore Oriole at Arbor Day Site. Dave

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

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