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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 ...May 25May 24May 22May 21Apr 18Apr 17Apr 13Apr 10
Apr 7Apr 3Mar 30Mar 27Mar 23Mar 20Mar 18Mar 16
Mar 13Mar 11Mar 9Mar 6Mar 3Mar 2Feb 28Feb 27
Feb 24Feb 21Feb 20Feb 17Feb 14Feb 11Feb 10Feb 7

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Although Marcia and Gail's morning monitoring consisted of mostly the expected summer resident birds, they did come up with one real winner - an Olive-sided Flycatcher. This was only the second sighting in the Lab over the last 10 years. Other highlights for the morning were an American Kestrel, a Spotted Sandpiper, Warbling Vireos (2), Red-eyed Vireos (2), Sedge Wrens (4), Cedar Waxwings (3 - to my knowledge the first of the year), a Chestnut-sided Warbler (again only one migrant warbler), Henslow's Sparrows (3), a Savannah Sparrow, Bobolinks (2) and an Orchard Oriole. Dave

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Conditions were great for a grassland, pre-season monitoring session this morning, being sunny, warm with mild winds. To start out I passed Osprey Nest 3 and found an Osprey nestled into brooding position deep in the nest. About the only highlights of the monitor session were a higher than normal (for this early in the season) of Sedge Wrens (10) and a couple of Grasshopper Sparrows. Also found were Savannah Sparrows (6), Henslow's Sparrows (3), Dickcissels (1 pair), Bobolinks (27) and Eastern Meadowlarks (16). The only transient bird found was a Tennessee Warbler after the monitoring session. Dave

Sunday, May 22, 2016

This morning was beautiful weather-wise, warm with mild winds. Unfortunately, the birding was not as pleasing. The Western Flycatcher reported earlier in the week was not relocated today. The only migrant warblers found, mostly in single numbers, were Tennessee Warblers, a Black-throated Green Warbler and an American Redstart. Osprey Nest 2 was being brooded, while we observed a change of brooding responsibilities at Nest 1. Osprey Nest 3 on the other hand has proved more interesting. Roads and Grounds put up a new platform almost identical to the Nest 2 platform being used the last several years. Unfortunately, for some reason, the pair at Nest 3 chose to rebuild a nest on a different power pole about 1/4 mile away from the new platform. On Sunday the pair were found just standing on this new nest. The only waterfowl of note were a pair of Wood Ducks in a tree and a Ruddy Duck. A Caspian Tern flew over Lake Law. All other birds found were expected summer breeders. Dave

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Being gone for several weeks, including the height of the spring migration, I don't have the time to produce comprehensive entries for this period. I will try, however, to list as many of the highlights for this period from information given to me by Marcia Nye, Gail Chastain, Dave Shemanske, Mark Donnelly, Glenn Perricone and Peter Kasper. My impression is that again Fermi had a relatively poor and narrow migration for warblers and other passerines. Shorebirds have also been unremarkable. The Spring Bird Count was on the low side with 91 species for the day. On the other hand Peter and Glenn produced over 100 species on the Sunday morning of the following week. Here is a list of the highlights for the last weeks: Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Hooded Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Virginia Rail, Sora, American Coot, Sandhill Crane, Spotted Sandpipers (seen in past breeding area), Black-bellied Plover, Solitary Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, American Woodcock, Caspian Tern, Black-billed Cuckoo, Barred Owl, Common Nighthawk, Chimney Swift, Red-headed Woodpecker (only one sighting to my knowledge), Alder Flycatcher, Bell's Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, Purple Martin, Tufted Titmouse, Sedge Wren, Marsh Wren, Veery, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Wood Thrush, Northern Mockingbird (several sightings in different locations), American Pipit, Northern Waterthrush, Golden-winged Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Cape May Warbler, Northern Parula, Magnolia Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Palm Warbler, Pine Warbler (numerous reports), Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Henslow's Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Dickcissel and Orchard Oriole. Dave

Monday, April 18, 2016

This morning the mate to Osprey Nest 3 had returned, one was on the new platform while the other was on the perch above. That makes all three Osprey nests now occupied by a pair of birds. The only other bird worthy of note this morning was a flyover Sharp-shinned Hawk. Dave

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Weather-wise the morning was just about perfect being sunny, with warm temps and very little wind. Bird numbers again seemed to be low, but the variety was quite nice. American White Pelicans still remain in the Lakes Region with one on Lake Law and about 70 on A.E. Sea. Waterfowl showed a little more variety than on Wednesday with Wood Ducks, Gadwall, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Hooded Mergansers (Sea of Evanescence) and Ruddy Ducks (Lake Law). Shorebirds appear to be on the move. Found around A.E. Sea were a Solitary Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs (4), a Lesser Yellowlegs and several Wilson's Snipe. The snipe were found in several locations including a wetland on the south end of the Lab which is not birded regularly. Another two new year birds were found in the Lakes Region. First a Caspian Tern was seen over A.E. Sea and then, on our return to the Red Barn, several Mute Swans were at the north end of Lake Law. Other birds of interest for the morning were a Pied-billed Grebe (Lake Law), a Sandhill Crane (heard), a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (new for year), Brown Thrashers, Chipping Sparrows (now around in force), Field Sparrows (most numerous sparrow), a Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, and a White-throated Sparrow. During the week Peter added Northern Rough-winged Swallows (also new for the year). Dave

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

It was a very pleasant morning for birding at the Lab - cool but comfortable to start, with mild winds and partly cloudy skies. Through the morning the winds picked up just a little, while temps warmed nicely. Thrashers (first of the year) were singing in the Sparrow Hedge Area as were Swamp Sparrows. A.E. Sea was loaded with American White Pelicans (60 plus), while quite a few Wilson's Snipe were flushing from along its shoreline. An adult Bald Eagle flushed from Owl's Nest Woods, then while flying south, flushed an immature Bald Eagle about 100 yards away. The only waterfowl found during the morning were Wood Ducks, Gadwall, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers and Green-winged Teal. Other new birds for the year were a Great Egret, House Wrens, a Winter Wren (Big Woods) and Field Sparrows (many locations). There was still a good number of American Coots and a singing Pied-billed Grebe at Lake Logo. Other birds of note found during the morning were Turkey Vultures, Great Horned Owls (now up to 4 owlets on 2 nests) Eastern Phoebes, Brown Creepers, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Ruby-crowned Kinglets and a singing Fox Sparrow. The only change on the Osprey front was the return of the second bird to Nest 2. In addition, the single bird at Nest 3 is showing more loyalty to the new nest box. Yesterday, Peter added Double-crested Cormorant as a new, year bird. Dave

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Despite the weather this morning, the birding was again pretty good as it has been over the past week. It was quite cold (for the season) and windy with occasional showers. Waterfowl around the Lab remain fairly consistent. Found were Wood Ducks, Gadwall, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Bufflehead, Common Mergansers and Ruddy Ducks. Interestingly, four Pied-billed Grebes were found in the canal between Lake Law and Swenson Rd. Pond, while a good number of American Coots (about 50) remain in Lake Logo. Osprey remain status quo, with 4 confirmed birds in the Lab. New for the year were Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Hermit Thrushes (actually Penny Kasper reported a thrush yesterday). Besides these two species, a walk between showers in Main Ring Lake produced a Great Horned Owl, an Eastern Phoebe, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers, Brown Creepers, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Fox Sparrows (quite a few, some singing), Song Sparrows and a Swamp Sparrow. Other birds found during the morning were Turkey Vultures, a Northern Harrier, a Wilson's Snipe and a Vesper Sparrow. Dave

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The weather this morning had a little bit of everything to offer - cold, rain, snow, sleet and even a little sun. The only constant was the wind. This, however, had little effect on the birding which was quite productive. Starting out, Lake Law produced a Pied-billed, two Horned Grebes and about a dozen female Red-breasted Mergansers. It was interesting watching the mergansers probing the depths, as a group, for fish. When they finally located a school of shiners, there was a feeding frenzy with multiple dives by each bird. Many fish were consumed in the several minutes before the fish apparently dispersed. Didn't spend much time on waterfowl but did manage Wood Ducks (including 2 pr found on tree limbs), Gadwall, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal and Ruddy Ducks. I counted 43 Tree Swallows on a power line by DUSAF Pond. Dave Shemanske has been reporting activity at all three Osprey nests this week. This morning Denis confirmed an Osprey on Nest 3 while the Nest 1 pair were at their nest. I watched one of the Nest 2 pair carrying nesting materials to the nest. Several American Coots were still on Lake Logo along with a pair of Pied-billed Grebes (grebes have nested there over the last several years). Other birds found during the morning were a Northern Harrier, Sandhill Cranes (heard), Great Horned Owls (including 2 owlets in a nest), Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (about 10 in the Big Woods), Eastern Phoebes, Brown Creepers, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warblers, an Eastern Towhee and Vesper Sparrows. Dave

Sunday, April 3, 2016

What started out as a very chilly morning for the season, with sheets of ice on some waters, quickly improved in both the temps and birding. Waterfowl in the Lakes Region included Canada Geese, Wood Ducks, Mallards, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal and Hooded Mergansers. Added inside the Ring Area were Gadwall, Ring-necked Ducks, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, and Ruddy Ducks. That makes a dozen species for the morning which is well above average for the last several weeks. Also found were several Pied-billed Grebes and great looks at over 50 American Coots in Lake Logo. It was also a good morning for raptors including Osprey (Nest 1 pr), an immature Bald Eagle, Northern Harriers (3), a Cooper's Hawk, the expected Red-tailed Hawks, an American Kestrel and Great Horned Owls. A few other birds of interest this morning were a Sandhill Crane, a Vesper Sparrow (1st of the year and right on schedule) and several Rusty Blackbirds. On his way home through the Lab, Peter added several first of the year American White Pelicans to the day's finds. A quick word about photographers in the Lab. We found two photographers under the Osprey nest (Nest 1) photographing one of the Ospreys on the next pole down (about 25 yd away). This was incredibly unethical of these photographers, since these birds are just trying to reestablish their nesting territory. In addition, they were in a restricted area without authorization. Photographers, myself included, always want the sharpest, best composed shots, but it can't be at the expense of wildlife's welfare whether it's an endangered species or not. Dave

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The consistent 10-15 mph winds did have some affect on the bird activity, but not extensively. Except for the activity of some of the common early breeders ( American Robins, Northern Cardinals and Red-winged Blackbirds), there was not much activity in the Sparrow Hedge area. Sparrow numbers were greatly diminished from recent visits. Found in the Hedge/Lakes region were Song Sparrows, a few Swamp Sparrow and American Tree Sparrows. Fox Sparrows were added in Main Ring Woods. The expected Northern Shovelers (about 200) and Green-winged Teal were on A.E. Sea, while a half dozen Common Mergansers were on the Sea of Evanescence. Other waterfowl found were about 20 each Gadwall and Ruddy Ducks on Main Ring Lake and Wood Ducks (in several wet woodlots). Also found were a Pied-billed Grebe and an American Coot (yes, just one). New for the year were a Greater Yellowlegs and a Pectoral Sandpiper in the Horse Paddock. One of the Ospreys was on Nest 1 while its mate was about 20 yards away having lunch. Other birds found during the morning were Turkey Vultures (2), Sandhill Cranes, several Wilson's Snipe, Great Horned Owls (3), a pair of Hairy Woodpeckers (Owl's Nest Woods), Northern Flickers (a noticeable increase in numbers), Eastern Phoebes and Tree Swallows (over Lake Law). Dave

Sunday, March 27, 2016

I was all alone this morning which was a pity since it would have been nice to have someone else see the juvenile Northern Goshawk that I found by Dusaf Pond. Also by the pond were the first Blue-winged Teal of the year. Given the time of year, there was surprisingly little diversity among the waterfowl; Northern Shovelers were the most abundant followed by Green-winged Teal. There was a flock of Ruddy Ducks on main-ring lake and Mallards were scattered about the site but the only others that I found were a two pairs of Wood Ducks, a pair of Hooded Mergansers, and a lone female Ring-necked Duck. The only other noteworthy bird was an Osprey near nest 1. It was presumably one the original adult breeders and the same bird that was seen last Thursday. Peter K.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Thankfully, the predicted rain never occurred this morning. The moderate wind at the start did pickup and had some affect on the birds. Waterfowl showed a little more variety than over the last couple of weeks, starting with a group of about 50 Lesser Scaup on Lake Law with a few Ring-necked Ducks thrown in. On my return from the Sparrow Hedge, about 50 more Ring-necked Ducks joined the group. They were now close enough to get good views with the scope. I was then able to pick out a couple of Greater Scaup (first of the year) in the group. Other waterfowl of note were Wood Ducks (pair), Gadwall (40 plus), Northern Shovelers (A.E. Sea), Green-winged Teal (A.E. Sea), Hooded Mergansers (pair), Common Mergansers (pair) and Ruddy Ducks. The overall number of sparrows was less than that of last week. The number of Song Sparrows, though less than last week, were now above that of the American Tree Sparrows. Also found were Swamp Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows and a good number of playful Dark-eyed Juncos in the Big woods. Also in the Big Woods were several singing Eastern Phoebes. Also found were a Northern Harrier, Great Horned Owls (3), a Hairy Woodpecker and Eastern Bluebirds. Many of these same birds were found by Marcia and Gail during their monitoring session today. In addition, they found a Pied-billed Grebe, Turkey Vultures, a Cooper's Hawk and 50 American Coots, possibly the same group of coots hanging around since last week. Finally, Ryan reported flushing American Woodcocks (first of the year) during this week's burns. Dave

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The morning was chilly early with a mild wind which gained some strength throughout the morning. Sparrow activity was not up to what it was Friday. There were still good numbers of Song Sparrows, only a few Swamp Sparrows and a White-crowned Sparrow worthy of mention. There were still only a small number of waterfowl including Gadwall, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Bufflehead, Common Mergansers and Ruddy Ducks. The North Roads area provided small numbers of Horned Larks and a group of over 30 Sandhill Cranes feeding in a corn field - unfortunately still no white ones. The bird(s) of the day was an intimate pair of Trumpeter Swans on Main Ring Lake. At one point one of the swans took off making a large circle, returning right next to the other. Several minutes later both took off, flew the length of the lake and landed together on the far end. Dave

Friday, March 18, 2016

The morning started cool, but at least the strong winds of the past two days showed some moderation. A rather uneventful walk in the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes region did produce a good number of sparrows although the diversity was not impressive. American Tree Sparrows still remain the most abundant species, but Song Sparrows were a close second. Several Swamp Sparrows and Fox Sparrows were also found along with a couple Dark-eyed Juncos. Later, inside Main Ring Woods, many more Fox Sparrows (20-30) were found. Only several small groups of Northern Shovelers (totaling about 30) were found on A.E. Sea. In the "not good news category", a pair of Brown-headed Cowbirds were also huddled together on a branch in the area. Other birds found around the Lab were Gadwall, Ruddy Ducks (25-Main Ring Lake), a Pied-billed Grebe, Northern Harriers (at least 2), an American Kestrel, American Coot (probably same group the girls had Wed.), Great Horned Owls (3), Eastern Phoebes, Tree Swallows (3), Eastern Bluebirds and a male Eastern Towhee (1st of year). Dave

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Despite the strong winds and mighty gusts, Marcia and Gail were in the Lab doing much of their typical bird survey. Waterfowl sightings still remain poor. They were only able to find Bufflehead (6), Common Goldeneye (1) and Common Mergansers (8) in the area of the Rings. In addition, they relocated the winter resident Pied-billed Grebe and the largest number of American Coots to date (2016) at fifty. They did manage to find the first Eastern Phoebe of the year in Betz Prairie, which is right on time. That's pretty amazing with the winds that were blowing in this open area. Other birds of note were Eastern Meadowlarks and Common Grackles. Dave

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The weather was mild but wet which eliminated much of the field (out of the car) birding. This put the pressure on waterfowl birding but, as the rest of the week had shown, this was poor. The only waterfowl found were Canada Geese, a Wood Duck, Mallards, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Common Goldeneye, Common Mergansers and Ruddy Ducks - worst showing of the week. There were lots of blackbirds in the north end of the Lab mostly consisting of European Starlings and Red-winged Blackbirds with an increased percentage of female red-wings evident. Also included were Common Grackles, Brown-headed Cowbirds and several Rusty Blackbirds. The only other birds worth mentioning were an American Coot, a Wilson's Snipe (interestingly only the first of the year) and Horned Larks. Dave

Friday, March 11, 2016

It was another beautiful morning at the Lab with sunny skies, mild temps (warming throughout the morning) and almost no wind. Waterfowl continue to be a disappointment in both quantity and variety of birds. I was quite disappointed with my results after sampling most of the major bodies of water this morning. Sparrows on the other hand are on the increase. Beyond the expected winter residents of American Tree Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos, I found a very early singing Chipping Sparrow, Fox Sparrows, many Song Sparrows (over 100), Swamp Sparrows and a White-crowned Sparrow. An extensive walk through the Center of the Ring produced only my first garter snake of the year. A couple more firsts for the year were a Turkey Vulture and Tree Swallow (Buffalo Pasture fence), both right on schedule. Starting about 10:30 a.m., Sandhill Cranes were continuously heard flying overhead until I left after the noon hour. A female American Kestrel was again on the North Eola nest box. Other birds found during the morning were a Great Horned Owl, a Brown Creeper, Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Meadowlarks (now becoming well established) and a Rusty Blackbird. Dave

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Marcia and Gail were in the Lab this morning with not much to report in the way of waterfowl, but some other water birds did impress. Starting out with the bird(s) of the day, four Horned Grebes in Main Ring Lake. Also found were a Pied-billed Grebe and American Coots. Finally, the first multiple Great Blue Herons (3) of the year were found in the Ring areas. It appears sparrows are starting to move in. They found a Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrows (19) and White-throated Sparrows (2). Other birds of interest were Northern Harriers (3), an American Kestrel (female on North Eola nest box), several Killdeer, American Crows (3-in Main Ring) and Eastern Meadowlarks (5). Dave

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Despite the predicted warmer weather for today, the morning was a little brutal. Strong winds and the early cooler temps made for uncomfortable conditions, especially with a lighter jacket. It appeared that the wind did have a negative effect on most birds in its path. Waterfowl still remain the key target, though the numbers and variety have not been up to par. Found were Greater White-fronted Geese (heard flying over Big Woods), Canada Geese (small numbers), Gadwall, Mallards, Northern Shovelers, a Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Canvasbacks, Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks, a Lesser Scaup (only 1), Common Goldeneye, Hooded Mergansers, Common Mergansers and Ruddy Ducks. We had the fourth Bald Eagle sighting in a week (3-Adt., 1-Juv). Other birds of interest for the morning were an American Kestrel, a Great Horned Owl (on a new nest), Northern Flickers, Brown Creepers and Song Sparrows. Dave

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Despite the cold start to the morning and the occasional snow showers, it was quite a pleasant morning for birding the Lab. A.E. Sea was barren of waterfowl, being mostly ice or slush covered. Lake Law was mostly open and had a fair number of waterfowl. I had all the same waterfowl as the girls did yesterday, and additionally, several Lesser Scaup and several Wood Ducks (in a small remote pond). Also of note was the largest number of Ring-necked Ducks (over 100) to date (for 2016) in the Lab. After I heard the girls had an Eastern Meadowlark yesterday I figured I could get a year bird. All morning I kept alert for meadowlarks in the usual locations but had no luck. On my way out, in the early afternoon, I did finally find 8 to 10 singing and flying around North Eola Road. Other birds found for the morning were an American Kestrel, Ring- necked Pheasant, Great Horned Owls (3), Hairy Woodpeckers, a Song Sparrow, a Rusty Blackbird (first of the year), and a Common Grackle. Dave

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Though it was cold, the lack of wind and bright sun made for pleasurable birding for Marcia and Gail this morning. Many of the same waterfowl of recent trips were found in the Main and Injector Ring areas. Included were Canada Goose, Gadwall, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser and Ruddy Duck. It appears the Pied-billed Grebe has returned after a several -week absence. Also, several American Coots were found. Other birds of interest found during the morning were a Bald Eagle (full adult), Northern Flickers, Horned Larks, a White-throated Sparrow and an Eastern Meadowlark. Dave

Sunday, February 28, 2016

It was quite windy, mostly overcast with temps well above average. Unfortunately, the wind became the prominent factor in today's birding efforts, mostly effecting the land birds. Most of the same waterfowl found by Glenn over the past couple of days were again found. The only highlights beyond those birds were a Cooper's Hawk and an immature Bald Eagle. Dave

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Over the last two days (Fri - Sat), Glenn came up with a list of most of the recently seen waterfowl, plus a new year bird. Found in a combination of locations around the Lab were Canada Goose (again lower numbers), Wood Duck, Gadwall, American Black Ducks, Mallards (also in lower numbers), Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails, Green-winged Teal, Canvasbacks, Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Buffleheads, Common Goldeneyes (over 300 total for both days), Hooded Mergansers, Common Mergansers (over 500 each day) and a Red-breasted Merganser (new for year). Other highlight birds he found were Northern Harriers (4), a Sandhill Crane (first of the year), a Great Horned Owl, a Short-eared Owl (inside the Main Ring), Eastern Bluebirds and Horned Larks. Also on Friday, among hundreds of Ring-billed Gulls and Herring Gulls, an immature Glaucous Gull was found on Lake Law. Dave

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

This was the Day of the Merganser. Common Mergansers were represented in most open waters around the Lab with over 200 on Lake Law and another 200 on Main Ring Lake. In addition, there were over a dozen Hooded Mergansers throughout the Lab. Trying as hard as I could, I did not find a red-breasted among all these birds. The variety of waterfowl was a little less than that found on Sunday. Others found today around the Lab were American Black Ducks, Northern Shovelers (about 30 on A.E. Sea), Canvasbacks, Redheads (15), Ring-necked Ducks (12), Lesser Scaup, Buffleheads, and Common Goldeneyes. Thirteen American Coots were in the Main Injector Moat. A Great Blue Heron was in the center of the Main Ring, the first I've seen in over a month. A couple of Killdeer were in the Swenson Road Horse Paddock, first of the year. Ring-billed Gulls were the majority gull of the day. Not much else to report. The strong winds did not promote much activity among the passerines. Found were Great Horned Owls (3), Hairy Woodpeckers (they've become more common over the last year or so), a Horned Lark, and a Swamp Sparrow. Dave

Sunday, February 21, 2016

There was partial open water everywhere around the Lab this morning. The weather was mild, but the overcast skies did not allow the temps to rise much above normal. Like Denis' visit yesterday, the bulk of our birding interests were directed towards waterfowl. Found during the morning were Gadwall, American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser and Common Merganser. The remainder of the birds of interest found this morning was quite short and included American Coot, Ring-billed Gull (surprisingly the first of the year), Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Bluebird, White-throated Sparrow and White-crowned Sparrow. Denis' group did not fare much better, but they did come up with a Yellow-rumped Warbler (a first for the year). Dave

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Denis had a nice list of 35 birds from two trips to the Lab today. The weather was fantastic for a late February day. The list was mostly about waterfowl which included Greater White-fronted Geese, Wood Duck, Gadwall, American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser and Common Merganser. Other birds of note from the list were Northern Harrier, American Kestrel, American Coot, Short-eared Owl (from his evening visit), Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle and Brown-headed Cowbird (both of these were new for the year). Dave

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Spring was in the air this morning. The warmer temps and bright sun was apparently very stimulating to a number of birds around the Lab. Several Northern Cardinals were singing, Downy Woodpeckers were drumming, a pair of Hairy Woodpeckers were interacting very vocally and a couple of Red-bellied Woodpeckers were interacting quite physically (feathers were flying). In addition, many of the other typical resident and winter birds were quite active. It was also fun to watch the Common Goldeneyes doing their interesting courtship displays (this has been going on for several weeks). Again nothing new was found around the Lab. Waterfowl were spread around various open waters. Included were Gadwall (pair), Green-winged Teal, a Northern Pintail, Redheads (2), Bufflehead (3-females), Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. There were also about a dozen American Coots around the Main Injector Moat. Some of the other birds found were a Great Horned Owl, Horned Larks, American Robins (making themselves quite noticeable), a Song Sparrow, a White-crowned Sparrow and Red-winged Blackbirds. Dave

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Where have all the geese gone? Probably to the river as Denis said. They're certainly not in the Lab. Several hundred were in the Main Injector Moat and associated open waters, but the fields and other areas were barren (of geese that is). That being said there were some other waterfowl to be found, most being in the Main Injector Moat (most everything else was frozen over). Found were American Black Ducks, Redheads (2), Buffleheads (3-Females), Common Goldeneyes (most numerous species about 50), and Common Mergansers. Several American Coots were also mixed in. The Ed Center Feeders were active but not teeming with life. Notable, beyond the expected winter residents, were a Hairy Woodpecker, White-throated Sparrows (3), and a White-crowned Sparrow. Only Horned Larks and a large flock of American Tree Sparrows (25-30) were in the North Roads area. Denis' group pretty well matched this and added a Green-winged Teal. Dave

Thursday, February 11, 2016

A quick, late, stop at the Lab to fill the feeders produced a Short-eared Owl and three Northern Harriers all hunting in the Eola Rd./Batavia Rd area. As expected most of the waters in the Lab are becoming frozen over again. Main Ring Lake had only a sliver of open water. Nothing new for the week was found. Dave

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Marcia and Gail were in the Lab this morning having, as a highlight, a Short-eared Owl in this year's typical location east of Eola Road and north of Batavia Road. What made this sighting interesting, was that the owl was found at 9 am perched on a post. Waterfowl found in the area of the Rings were Gadwall (2), Redheads (2), Bufflehead (2), Common Goldeneye (3) and Common Mergansers (13). For raptors, they had Northern Harriers, a Cooper's Hawk, Red-tailed Hawks, and an American Kestrel. Other birds of interest were American Coots (6), Horned Larks and White-crowned Sparrows. Dave

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

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