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Recent Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Author: Peter Kasper

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

Year List: Contains the list of birds seen so far this year.
Seasonal List: The list of birds recorded on site at this time of year.
Recent entries ...Feb 7Feb 4Jan 31Jan 29Jan 24Jan 20Jan 17Jan 14
Jan 10Jan 7Jan 6Dec 31Dec 27Dec 22Dec 19Dec 16
Dec 13Dec 10Dec 9Dec 6Dec 3Nov 29Nov 25Nov 22
Nov 20Nov 15Nov 12Nov 11Nov 8Nov 2Nov 1Oct 30

Sunday, February 7, 2016

It seemed colder than the above average temp of 40 plus this morning. This being due to the consistent wind, dampness and overcast skies (became sunny later). Geese numbers on the open waters were way down. We later found many in the corn and bean fields especially in areas associated to open fuddles. Found in the open waters on the east side of the Lab were Canada Geese, a Cackling Goose, Gadwall, American Wigeon, American Black Ducks, Mallards, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails, Green-winged Teal, Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. Other water birds found were Lesser Scaup and an American Coot. Found in the area of the Ed Center Feeders were Hairy Woodpeckers, American Crows, a Brown Creeper, a White-crowned Sparrow and Red-winged Blackbirds. Other birds found were several Northern Harriers, a Great Horned Owl, a Northern Shrike and Horned Larks. Denis' group had most of the same birds in addition to adding a female Bufflehead (first of the year). Dave

Thursday, February 4, 2016

It was a very pleasant morning for birding. The Lab was sunny with mild winds and average temps. This being said, there was nothing new to be found. There was much more open water at A.E. Sea bringing many more Canada Geese to the east side of the Lab. Joining them were the Tundra Swans (9), American Black Ducks (pr), Northern Pintails (12 plus) and Common Mergansers. There could have been more hidden by the mass of geese. Additional water birds found in the area of the Main and Injector Rings were Pied-billed Grebe (our winter resident), Redheads, Common Goldeneyes and American Coots (8). The Big Woods were quiet. Only the expected resident woodpeckers, nuthatches and chickadees were found. Other birds of interest found during the morning were a Great Horned Owl, Hairy Woodpeckers, Eastern Bluebirds and Red-winged Blackbirds (flock of over a dozen). Dave

Sunday, January 31, 2016

We had a very fowl morning of birding today, birdwise that is (especially for a day in January). The weather was actually quite pleasant, being overcast and warm with minimal wind. Once again Canada Geese were everywhere joined by both a Snow Goose (blue morph) and a Greater White-fronted Goose. Joining the usual Mallards (again large numbers of these also) were Gadwall, American Black Ducks, a Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Redheads, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser and a Ruddy Duck. Finally, the Tundra Swans of Wednesday were joined by several more - now the count is over 50 birds (again on Main Ring Lake). Many of the geese and other waterfowl were found on a still mostly frozen A.E. Sea. Also, still around were a Pied-billed Grebe and several American Coots (11). The Northern Shrike was again staked-out in the Sparrow Hedge Area. Both Song Sparrows and Swamp Sparrows were found along A.E. Sea. Several male and one female Ring-necked Pheasants were found along North Eola Road. Interestingly, several hunters were parked along South Eola training their dogs about a hour and half previous to this sighting of the pheasants. Make your own conclusions. Other birds of interest found during the morning were Northern Harriers (2), a Northern Flicker, Horned Larks and Eastern Bluebirds. Later in the day Denis added a Canvasback and stated that about half the Tundra Swans still remained. He also found a Cooper's Hawk and an American Kestrel. Dave

Friday, January 29, 2016

The weather was fairly average for a late January day and did not affect the birds. For the most part the waterfowl around the Lab remains the same with Redheads (2), Common Goldeyes and Common Mergansers all in the Main Injector Moat. One exception was the number of Canada Geese. The numbers were down - well over half of what have been typically found recently. The second exception turned out to be the sighting of the day - approximately 40 Tundra Swans were in Main Ring Lake (mostly sitting, lying and standing on the ice). Other water birds sighted were a Pied-billed Grebe and about a dozen American Coots. Other birds found during the morning were a Bald Eagle, a Cooper's Hawk (the only bird in the Garden Club), a Great Horned Owl, a Northern Shrike (again in the Sparrow Hedge Area) and several White-throated Sparrows (at Ed Center Feeders). Marcia and Gail were again in the Lab this morning and, in addition to many of the same birds I found, added a couple of American Kestrels, a Horned Lark and, at the feeders, White-crowned Sparrows (4). Dave

Sunday, January 24, 2016

It was much warmer than last Sunday, but the moderate wind and dampness did cause some discomfort. We started out with a Northern Shrike, again, in the Sparrow Hedge area. The Village produced a Cooper's Hawk and Red-breasted Nuthatch. Waterfowl found were Canada Geese (lots near any open water), Redheads, Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. About a half dozen American Coots were also found. Interestingly, in one of the open Main Ring Moats, we found over 100 intermediate sized Canada Geese. They all appeared to be the same smaller size, probably Lesser's. None appeared to be Cackling Geese. While checking out the Buffalo savannah owl's nest, a Red-tailed Hawk flew in and appears to be taking up residence for this year's breeding season. Other birds seen during the morning were a Northern Harrier, an American Kestrel, several Horned Larks, a Brown Creeper, Song Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows. Dave

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

It was cool and mostly cloudy, but the minimal wind helped make for a very pleasant morning of birding. The waterfowl remain about the same and mostly found on the Main Injector Moat. Again, the moat was filthy with Canada Geese. Others found were Redheads (2), Common Goldeneye, (5) Common Mergansers (2) and also several American Coots (4). One highlight of the morning was finding 7 species of sparrows including American Tree Sparrows, a Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrows, a Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos (many variations including at least one Oregon). After several weeks the Ed Center Feeders have reestablished themselves and later all but one of the above sparrows were again found there. Other birds found during the morning were Hairy Woodpeckers, a Northern Shrike (Sparrow Hedge area), Eastern Bluebirds, Red-winged Blackbirds and a Barred Owl. Dave

Sunday, January 17, 2016

It was much colder than last Sunday and, again, we mostly birded from the car. Not much was found. Still loads of Canada Geese around, mostly in the Main Injector (the only sizable open water area). As the last couple of weeks, there are Red-tailed Hawks almost anywhere you go. The concentration of geese in the moat along with the steam from their bodies and respiration made it hard to see the smaller birds. Though, we did find a Redhead, Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. Three White-crowned Sparrows (1-adult and 2-immatures) were found at the feeders. Only one very small flock (less than 10 birds) of Horned Larks was found along West Wilson, but it did include one Lapland Longspur (sadly the best we could do for a bird of the day). Denis didn't do much better late yesterday. He did have most of the same waterfowl seen this week and some Horned Larks. The Eastern Bluebirds he found near the Main Injector were a good find. His best was three Short-eared Owls along North Eola Road. Dave

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Another near perfect, mid-January morning for birding in the Lab today. The temps started in the hi 20's and ended in the low 40's, with partly sunny skies and almost no wind. I started out with a Northern Shrike in the Sparrow Hedge area and a distant raptor that flew off before I got my scope out. A singing Red-breasted Nuthatch was quite active in the Village. A couple of small flocks of Horned Larks were again found along East Wilson Rd. Also in that area several American Crows were harassing, the bird of the day, a beautiful, dark morph Rough-legged Hawk. Leaving this area there was an American Kestrel munching on a freshly caught small rodent (almost the exact location where we saw the same occurrence on Sunday). Main Ring Lake was just about totally frozen over; therefore, the bulk of the Canada Geese were in the still open Injector Moat area. Also found there were a couple of Redheads, a Common Merganser and an American Coot. Also found during the morning were a Great Blue Heron, a Great Horned Owl, Hairy Woodpeckers (3), Song Sparrows, a White-crowned Sparrow and a Red-winged Blackbird (female). Marcia and Gail were also out today enjoying the great weather. They added another American Coot and a Pied-billed Grebe in the Main Injector Moat. They found their Horned Larks (19) along Main Ring Road. Also in that area they found a Northern Harrier, a couple more American Kestrels, American Robins and a Song Sparrow. Dave

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The very cold temps this morning created perfect conditions for car birding. Again Main Ring Lake was loaded with Canada Geese. There was also at least one Greater White-fronted Goose. Other waterfowl found were Northern Shovelers (2-DUSAF), Common Goldeneyes, Common Mergansers and first-of the year Redheads (MRL and M. Injector Moat). A couple of Northern Harriers were found along with at least 3 American Kestrels (it's good to see them still sticking around). Other birds found were a Pied-billed Grebe, Herring Gulls, Horned Larks (several small flocks on north side of Lab), White-crowned Sparrows and House Finches. Dave

Thursday, January 7, 2016

It was an exceptional , early January morning for birding being mostly cloudy and calm with above average temps. Main Ring Lake, though mostly frozen over, was loaded with thousands of Canada Geese. Other waterfowl seen today were Greater White-fronted Geese (MRL), Cackling Geese (MRL), American Black Ducks, Mallards, a Northern Shoveler pair (DUSAF) (probably same pair seen by the girls yesterday), a Northern Pintail (MRL), Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. Several each of Song Sparrows and Swamp Sparrows were found. A Red-tailed Hawk was seen sitting on the perch above Osprey Nest 2. A couple of American Crows were patrolling near the center of the Lab; they're mostly found on the east side. Other birds of interest were a couple of Northern Harriers, a Rough-legged Hawk, an American Kestrel, a Great Horned Owl, a Hairy Woodpecker and a Northern Shrike. Dave

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Marcia and Gail were in the Lab this morning doing their typical monitoring near the center of the Lab. Main Ring Lake produced a Greater White-fronted Goose, a pair of Northern Shovelers, Common Goldeneye and Common Mergansers. They are still finding American Kestrels (3) in the area. In addition to a good number of typical winter and year round residents (all new for the year), they had a Herring Gull, Horned Larks (6), Eastern Bluebirds (2), American Robins (over 3), and Fox Sparrows (2). Dave

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Denis was in the Lab this morning and had an adult Bald Eagle chasing all the waterfowl in its path off the lakes. Along Main Ring Road he found a couple of Snow Buntings. Later, along Wilson Road, he found another 30 Snow Buntings in a flock along with several flocks of Horned Larks. His bird of the day was a Horned Grebe (first ever sighting for the three winter months in the Lab) in the Main Ring Moat. Later in the afternoon Glenn was in and also had some interesting finds. Water fowl included a Northern Pintail, an American Wigeon and, I assume, a Lesser Scaup. As far as raptors go he had an immature Bald Eagle, 4 Northern Harriers and 2 Short-eared Owls. Along Wilson Road he also had Snow Buntings (26), Horned Larks (29) and added Lapland Longspurs (over 30). Denis thought he had some but they flew before confirmation. Other birds Glenn found were a Pied-billed Grebe, a Brown Creeper, a White-throated Sparrow and a White-crowned Sparrow. Dave

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The morning's conditions were quite nice for the season being cloudy, with moderate winds and a little above average temps. We started out the morning on our way to a five goose morning with Canada Geese (the Lab was loaded with these), several Cackling Geese and a couple of Ross' Geese on Lake Law. We completed the fivesome later in the morning with both a good number of Greater White-fronted Geese and a couple of Snow Geese (white). Other waterfowl included American Black Ducks, Common Goldeneyes and a Common Merganser. An American Coot rounded out the water birds. Raptors were highlighted with an immature Bald Eagle. Also found were Northern Harriers (2-3) and American Kestrels (3). A large flock of blackbirds included mostly European Starlings and Red-winged Blackbirds with several Brown-headed Cowbirds (another CBC miss). A Northern Flicker was in the same area along the North Roads. Finally, a good sized mixed flock of Horned Larks and Lapland Longspurs included one Snow Bunting. headed Cowbirds (another CBC miss). A Northern Flicker was in the same area along the North Roads. Finally, a good sized mixed flock of Horned Larks and Lapland Longspurs included one Snow Bunting. Dave

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Glenn hit upon several really nice birds this morning. Here are the best birds for the morning. The waterfowl highlight was a Canvasback on Lake Law. Other waterfowl found were a Cackling Goose, American Black Ducks (3), Common Goldeneye (3) and Common Mergansers (10). He came up with Lapland Longspurs(2) which was about the only noticeable miss from the CBC a few days earlier. Other birds of interest were a Great Blue Heron, Long-eared Owls, a Northern Shrike, a Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creepers (3), Eastern Bluebirds (2), and a Red-winged Blackbird. Dave

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Except for the constant winds, we had a near perfect day for the 2015 Christmas Bird Count. It was sunny most of the day with temps a little below freezing. We blew away the old record for the Lab during a CBC with 62 species (the old record was 55 in 1998). I'll list just the highlights for the day of which there were many. Waterfowl found were Greater White-fronted Geese (18), Snow Geese (2), Cackling Geese (5), Wood Duck (1), Northern Shoveler (1) and Green-winged Teal (2). There was also a Pied-billed Grebe (1) and American Coots (2) found. We did fairly well with raptors finding Northern Harriers (6), a Sharp-shinned Hawk (1), a Cooper's Hawk (1), American Kestrels (5) and a Peregrine Falcon (1). There were still a dozen Sandhill Cranes (12) spotted heading south. A Wilson's Snipe (1) was in an open ditch with running water. Although we again missed a Screech-Owl ,we did well with others including Great Horned Owls (9), Long-eared Owls (4) and a Short-eared Owl (1). A couple of recent irregular species were found, namely Red-breasted Nuthatches (2) and Brown Creepers (2). Sparrow highlights were a Savannah Sparrow (1), Swamp Sparrows (7), White-throated Sparrows (4) and White-Crowned Sparrows (5). Finally, blackbirds and relations were represented by Red-winged Blackbirds (19), Eastern Meadowlarks (7), Rusty Blackbirds (2) and Common Grackles (2). About the only expected missed species was Gadwall. This was expected because they had been quite regular of late. Some other found birds were in quite low numbers including Cooper's Hawk (only 1), Horned Lark (only 2), Cedar Waxwing (only 1) and Song Sparrow (only 9). Dave

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Another late afternoon/evening trip to the Lab was not too productive, not surprising with the winds at 20 mph and gusts above that. There were about 75 Canada Geese on DUSAF with a good number of these being intermediates. One or two Cackling Geese were also found. A couple of Pied-billed Grebes were found, one on the Main Injector Moat and the other on Main Ring Lake. The waterfowl were just starting to populate Main Ring Lake for their overnight stay when I passed by. Found here were Common Goldeneye (25 or more), Hooded Mergansers (about 15) and Common Mergansers (3 females). There were only a few Canada Geese on the lake, but many more started arriving in earnest as I was leaving the area. The highlight of the evening was finding 2 (or more) Short-eared Owls on the east side of North Eola Road. It was quite dark when I finally spotted them and could only confirm two. Gail was out just a little earlier than me and her sightings were also affected by the strong winds. She did come up with a couple good birds starting with a Brown Creeper by the feeders. Next she had 3 Sandhill Cranes in the fields northeast of the Wilson St and Eola Rd intersection. She reported no Kestrels today, which is one of the only times recently the girls did not have one in the central part of the Lab. Dave

Sunday, December 13, 2015

With the temps well above normal, the drizzly conditions did not bother us too much. Minimal wind was also a factor in our favor. This said, there is not much to report. Our only sparrows were American Tree Sparrow and Dark-eyed Juncos. Waterfowl found, mostly on Main Ring Lake, included Greater White-fronted Geese, Canada Geese, Gadwall (8-10), Mallards and Northern Shovelers. Surprisingly there were no divers to be found. We had a Hairy Woodpecker driving around the Ring, Horned Larks in the North Fields and a couple of Northern Harriers (1-Main Ring and 1-North Roads area). The highlight (mainly due to the time of the year) was a mixed flock of blackbirds (over 100) in the North Roads area. Included in this flock were good numbers of both Red-winged Blackbirds and Brown-headed Cowbirds, European Starlings and one or two Common Grackles. What makes this significant is that both the cowbird and grackle were needed for the second week of Dec. on Peter's Site List. Dave

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Another late afternoon/evening trip to the Lab was not too productive until the sun was just about down. Checking mostly along Eola Road and in the Betz Prairie area did not produce any Short-eared Owls, but a flock of 14 Greater White-fronted Geese flying south just east of North Eola Road were seen. There were a lot of geese moving about as darkness fell. Main Ring Lake was collecting many of these birds, mostly Canada Geese, but there were several Cackling Geese mixed in. Several divers were also in MRL including Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye and Hooded Mergansers. It was getting dark so birds could not be counted, but there appeared to be over 50 birds. At least two of these were Gadwall. The highlight of the evening was finding an Eastern Screech-Owl, especially since we have missed it on the last two Christmas Bird Counts. Ever since Barred Owls took up residence around the Lab the screech-owls have been hard to come by. Dave

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Marcia and Gail were out this morning having great weather with sunny skies, mild temps (for the season) and calm winds. They are still finding American Kestrels near the center of the Lab with three on this trip. Other birds of note were a Great Blue Heron, two American Crows, two Eastern Bluebirds and a White-throated Sparrow. The lakes in this area are attracting more divers including Common Goldeneye (3), Hooded Mergansers (5) and Common Mergansers (4). Dave

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Again, above average weather conditions provided a pleasant morning for birding in the Lab. Lots of Canada Geese were on A.E. Sea. Also found in the Lakes Region were Gadwall and Northern Shovelers. Flyovers in this area were Lesser Scaup (4) and Greater White-fronted Geese (8). Found elsewhere were Cackling Geese (Buffalo Fields) and Hooded Mergansers (pair on Main Ring Lake). Once again the Sparrow Hedge had the most activity in the Lab but not quite as much as Thursday. Sparrow numbers were down with the only species found being American Tree Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows (considerably fewer than Thursday), White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. After not being seen for over a month, a Northern Shrike was found in the Sparrow Hedge area. Other birds of note in the area were an American Crow, Eastern Bluebirds, a Red-winged Blackbird and a male Purple Finch. Seen elsewhere were a Pied-billed Grebe, a couple of American Kestrels and both Ring-billed Gulls and Herring Gulls. Denis also had Northern Shovelers during the week by A.E. Sea. Gail was in the Lab yesterday and added a Belted Kingfisher to the week's birds. She also had three American Kestrels in the Main Ring and Injector areas. Her sparrow if interest was a Fox Sparrow. Dave

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The morning started out cloudy and mild with light winds although the winds did pick up throughout the morning. There was absolutely nothing on Lake Law, but there were a good number of Canada Geese on the now flooded A.E. Sea. There were a couple of Cackling Geese mixed in these Canada's. There were no other significant waterfowl in the Lakes Region. There was much sparrow activity along A.E. Sea and at the southeast portion of the Sparrow Hedge area. Significant was the number of Swamp Sparrows; most I have ever seen on a day in December (mostly along the lake shore). Other sparrows found were American Tree Sparrows (most abundant species), Fox Sparrows (6-10), Song Sparrows, a White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Juncos and, the bird of the day, a very late Lincoln's Sparrow. There was also a brilliant, male Purple Finch mixed in one of the groups of sparrows. Most of the expected winter birds including woodpeckers, jays, chickadees, nuthatches, robins and cardinals were also quite active in this area. Other areas around the Lab, including the feeders, were not very active. Other birds found were Hooded Mergansers (pair in Main Ring Lake), Great Horned Owls (two different locations), Hairy Woodpeckers and American Crows. Dave

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Seasonal temps, partly cloudy skies and mild winds provided a very nice morning for birding in the Lab. Unfortunately, these agreeable conditions did not produce much birdlife. The waterfowl migration continues to be somewhat of a disappointment. Found on Lake Law were American Black Ducks, Common Goldeneyes, and Common Mergansers, all in small numbers. At the same time several Lapland Longspurs flew over the lake. Found inside the Main Ring were Hooded Mergansers and a Pied-billed Grebe. A Great Horned Owl was found peeking out of a woodlot in the North Roads area. Also found there was several Horned Larks. Other birds of note were a Northern Harrier, American Kestrels (1-Main Injector area and 1-North Roads) and a Red-breasted Nuthatch (in the Village). Yesterday (Sat.), Marcia and Gail were in doing their monitoring in the areas of the Rings. For raptors they had a Cooper's Hawk, Red-tailed Hawks, and an impressive four American Kestrels. The Sandhill Cranes were moving, they spotted about 70 flyovers. I'm really surprised we had none on Sunday morning, I had large numbers in the afternoon around home today. Other birds of interest were Great Blue Herons (2), Northern Flickers (2) and an American Crow (not found too often near the center of the Lab). Dave

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Another beautiful start to a morning of birding in the Lab with above normal temps, mostly sunny skies and moderate winds. It did cloud up later but the temperature remained pleasant. There were only Mallards and Canada Geese on Lake Law, but the Sea of Evanescence produced several Northern Shovelers. Later, three Green-winged Teal were found on DUSAF Pond. The Sparrow in the Lakes region had shifted to almost exclusively American Tree Sparrows except for one group of birds at the southeast area of the Sparrow Hedge. The flock consisted of Fox Sparrows (over a half dozen), Song Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos and of course American Tree Sparrows. Swamp Sparrows were later added near DUSAF. Several Great Blue Herons were still in the Lakes Region. The Garden Club was as quiet as I have ever heard it as were most of the other locations I visited. The feeders quite active, but only the typical year-round and winter residents. The only other bird of mention was a flushed Great Horned Owl on the west side of the Lab. Glenn had a very good day yesterday starting with a Greater Yellowlegs at the edge of a frozen A.E. Sea. He relocated one of the Wilson's Snipe found on Sunday in a ditch on the west side. A Pied-billed Grebe was again found inside the Main Ring. Horned Larks were found in several locations throughout the Lab and Lapland Longspurs (3) were along the North Roads. Other birds found as the morning warmed were a Great Horned Owl, an American Crow, a Brown Creeper, a Hermit Thrush and a White-crowned Sparrow. Dave

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The morning began cold and clear with a mild wind and snow cover. Both American Tree Sparrows and Cedar Waxwings were found in many locations. Dark-eyed Juncos were spotty, but we did have a nice "Oregon" Dark-eyed Junco near the center of the Lab. A couple of Wilson's Snipes were found in one of the still open creeks. Several Northern Flickers, an American Kestrel and around a half dozen Eastern Bluebirds were found in the Main Injector area. Waterfowl were sparse except for several large groups of Canada Geese and several Greater White-fronted Geese (in the Buffalo Fields). In the open waters around the Lab, several Gadwall, Common Goldeneyes and Hooded Mergansers were found. Also found was a Pied-billed Grebe (L.Law), a Northern Harrier, Horned Larks (North Roads), American Robins (again in many locations) and Red-winged Blackbirds (in diminishing numbers from past visits). Dave

Friday, November 20, 2015

It was another late afternoon trip to the Lab today. The wind was a nonfactor for the first visit in sometime. Later, the beginning snow had some impact as darkness approached. Main Ring Lake provided some diversity in water birds including a Pied-billed Grebe, a Lesser Scaup, a Bufflehead (both of these were females), Hooded Mergansers (about 20), several Ruddy Ducks, and an American Coot. A Great Horned Owl was heard hooting along Eola Road. Main Ring Woods produced a Hairy Woodpecker and Fox Sparrow. The most interesting experience started in MRW by hearing a group of Sandhill Cranes flying overhead. As their calls faded, I assumed they flew off. A little later, outside the woods, I heard a couple of crane calls. I drove around to the south end of the Ring and, sure enough, 26 Sandhill Cranes soon rose from a marshy area. All except one headed south. This one circled and went back to the original takeoff area. Several minutes later two more groups of 12 and 19 cranes arose and also headed south. Light was fading and I wondered if any remained to spend the night. Glenn was able to find what I missed, that being a Short-eared Owl as darkness fell. It was in a strange location flying from the Main Ring over the Ring's berm toward the Main Injector. On Thursday he also had another one in a more typical location, along North Eola Road. Dave

Sunday, November 15, 2015

It was a beautiful but rather uneventful morning of birding at the Lab today. The bird of the day was a Merlin spotted by Glenn before anyone else arrived. Waterfowl were sparse with only Gadwall , Lesser Scaup and Hooded Mergansers worthy of note. Sparrow numbers continue to drop in both number of species and overall number of birds. Found were American Tree Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. A highlight was several mixed flocks of Horned Larks and Lapland Longspurs in the soybean fields on the north end of the Lab. Other birds of note were a juvenile Northern Harrier, a couple of American Kestrels and a Hairy Woodpecker. Dave

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Glenn was in the Lab today and again had a couple of late birds including an Eastern Meadowlark (Buffalo Fields) and, again, a Marsh Wren at A.E. Sea. Some of his other sightings were a Northern Pintail (Sea of Evanescence), a Ruddy Duck (Main Ring Lake) and an American Kestrel (male on Wilson Rd). He also reported a Cattle Egret (I assume by the Buffalo Wallow) on Tuesday. Dave

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A late afternoon, early evening visit to the Lab was intended to be all about owls but all I could come up with was a single Great Horned Owl. The heavy winds with strong gusts were the major issue. Short-eared Owls were one of the species I was searching for. The main target area, inside the Main Ring, was occupied by three Northern Harriers fighting the wind as they hunted. Included was a "Grey Ghost" male and two brightly colored juveniles. Finally, a Rough-legged Hawk showed up in the same area. If the short-eareds were in the area, there were certainly enough deterrents to keep them on the ground. Earlier in the day Gail was in to do some of her monitoring. Many of her sightings were of the typical resident birds of the Lab. Other birds of note were an American Kestrel, American Tree Sparrows, several White-throated Sparrows (12), Red-winged Blackbirds (2 groups) and a Common Grackle. Dave

Sunday, November 8, 2015

It was quite cold this morning as indicated by our first ice of the season (mostly on the edges of A.E. Sea and DUSAF). Otherwise it was quite pleasant with sunny skies and minimal wind. The passerines were quite still early on, but soon came to life. Most of the expected sparrows were, again, in the Hedge-Lakes region. Overall numbers are still diminishing. Found were American Tree Sparrows, Fox Sparrows (some singing), Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. Water birds found in the Lakes Region were a Pied-billed Grebe, Cackling Geese, Greater White-fronted Geese (actually found in the Buffalo fields), Gadwall, American Wigeon, American Black Ducks, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails, Green-winged Teal (still lots around), Hooded Mergansers, Ruddy Ducks and Killdeer. Highlight birds found mostly on the east side of the Lab were a Northern Harrier, a Cooper's Hawk, American Kestrels (2-Main Injector area), a Northern Flicker, Northern Shrike, a Marsh Wren (next to the latest sighting), Golden-crowned Kinglet, and a Pine Siskin. Later, in the early afternoon Glenn added a couple of Brown Creepers in the Big Woods. Denis reported a Great Egret (another bird at the edge of its yearly distribution) during midweek at Swan Lake. Finally, I had two Northern Harriers hunting the main Ring Prairie on Saturday morning. Dave

Monday, November 2, 2015

Glenn reported 14 Dunlin are back in the area, I assume at A.E. Sea. Other information from him listed the other birds of interest found as a Ring-necked Pheasant, a Marsh Wren (still at A.E. Sea) and a Golden-crowned Kinglet. Dave

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Bright and sunny with a moderate wind and seasonal temps for the morning at the Lab. Lots of Canada Geese were on A.E. Sea early. Other birds found there and on Lake Law were Pied-billed Grebe, Gadwall, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck and American Coot. The only shorebirds found were Greater Yellowlegs and a Dunlin. Sparrows are still around in decent numbers with some changes. First, Swamp Sparrows were almost nonexistent after being, by far, the dominant species last week. Sparrows found were American Tree Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Lincoln's Sparrows (several, tied for latest sighting week), Swamp Sparrow (one possibly two), White-throated Sparrows (second most abundant species), White-crowned Sparrows (most abundant species) and a Dark-eyed Junco. Other birds of interest for the morning started with probably the same Northern Shrike seen last week in the between-the-Lakes area. Others were Cedar Waxwings (still around in good numbers), a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebirds, a Yellow-rumped Warbler, a Purple Finch and a Common Grackle. Dave

Friday, October 30, 2015

Marcia was in this morning and had much more pleasant weather than I had yesterday. It sounds like she had more passerines enjoying the positive weather also. She had some Cedar Waxwings and sparrows were still around with some variety including American Tree Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos and a single Swamp Sparrow. A lone Eastern Towhee was a highlight, being one week before its typical last showing. In Main Ring Lake she found some water birds including Pied-billed Grebes, Greater White-fronted Geese (9), Wood Ducks (Indian Creek), and several Green-winged Teal. Dave

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