Fermi National Laboratory Find Bird:  
Birds of Fermilab The Full List List of Pictures Site Guide Statistics
Recent Sightings Christmas Count Picture Browser Site Map Graphs

April, 2012 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Author: Peter Kasper

March May
Apr 29Apr 27Apr 25Apr 23Apr 17Apr 15Apr 11Apr 5Apr 1

Sunday, April 29

Notable Species: Northern Mockingbird, American Pipit, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Clay-colored Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrow
The morning started well with a nice and cooperative Clay-colored Sparrow by Lake Law. I did not notice the Grebe but it was relocated later in the day. I spent most off the morning checking for grassland birds with some success. Highlights included the first Henslow's off the year (Main Injector ring), a flyover Sharp-shinned (near Casey's pond), fledgling Horned Larks, a male Ring-necked Pheasant (near the bison pasture) and several Turkey Vultures perched on the High Rise. I also received reports of a Northern Mockingbird along Pine st., Common Mergansers on Swan Lake, and American Pipits at Swenson rd.

Friday, April 27

Notable Species: Eared Grebe
Still present at Lake Law.

Wednesday, April 25

Notable Species: Eared Grebe
Still present at Lake Law this morning!

Monday, April 23

Notable Species: Eared Grebe, Le Conte's Sparrow
Both were seen within 100 yards of each other at Lake Law this evening. The grebe was particularly enjoyable, not only because they are quite rare on site, but also because this one was in full breeding plumage.

Tuesday, April 17

It was a very pleasant morning of birding at Fermi. The almost nonexistent wind was a welcome relief from the strong winds of the past several days. The large flock of Northern Shovelers was again together, this time at the south end of A.E. Sea along with a dozen Ruddy Ducks, several Blue-winged Teal and a pair of Gadwall. The male American Kestrel was again acting as sentinel about 20 yards from the nest box near the Hedge. Sparrows appear to be increasing in the Sparrow Hedge area. Seen were numerous Song Sparrows, Field Sparrows, and Swamp Sparrows. Also seen were a good-sized flock of White-throated Sparrows, a surprise American Tree Sparrow and the bird of the day, a Le Conte's Sparrow (a first spring sighting for the Lab). Eastern Towhees and Brown Thrashers were also quite evident in the area. A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was found here and in several other locations around the Lab. As I approached the Cooper's Hawk nest a Great Horned Owl burst out of the woods followed closely by one of the Cooper's Hawks. About a minute later I could hear American Crows join in by mobbing the owl. The nest was empty but I then heard the agitated calls of the other Cooper's Hawk nearby. On my return from the Garden Club, the hawks were still quite vocal. About fifteen minutes later while showing the nest to Bob, we found the female settled in on the nest. The pair of Osprey were together one pole away from the nest platform. Several Wilson's Snipe flushed again from the flooded grasses along Swenson Road while a Sora, the first of the year, called from the cattails across the road. Other birds seen around the Lab were Great Egret, Green-winged Teal, Wood Duck, Turkey Vulture, Barn Swallow (another first), Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Hermit Thrush, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Savannah Sparrow and Chipping Sparrow. Finally, Great Horned Owl nest one had both owlets being quite alert but I could not see the owlet in nest two. This nest appears quite deep and the owlet looked less advanced than the pair in nest one. On the plus side there was some fresh white wash since most was washed away on our weekend visit, this gives me hope that the owlet is still in there. Dave

An adult male Blue Grosbeak was hanging around the northern part of the Education Center parking lot as I left work this evening. This is a new species for the site list! Peter K.

Sunday, April 15

We had a pleasant morning of birding in mild temperatures although the strong winds dissuaded us from walking to the Sparrow Hedge. We chose to bird locations less affected by these winds. Lake Law again had a nice mixed flock of waterfowl including Northern Shovelers, Lesser Scaup, and Ruddy Ducks. Other birds seen in the lakes area were Horned Grebe, Pied-billed Grebe and American Coot. The Nepese marsh area had Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal and several Swamp Sparrows. Once again, as we observed the Cooper's Hawk nest, the female flew in and settled down. Seen in the Garden Club were a Winter Wren, Field Sparrows and a good number of White-throated Sparrows. A Wilson's Snipe was flushed along Swenson Road. Main Ring Woods was fairly active with a good number of Yellow-rumped Warblers, some Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, more White-throated Sparrows and a Golden-crowned Kinglet. An Eastern Phoebe confirmed its breeding status by flying into a nest under an eve by a power building along Kautz Road. Meanwhile the Ospreys were busy improving their nest. Some other birds of note were Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Horned Lark, Chipping Sparrow and Vesper Sparrow. Dave

Wednesday, April 11

A chilly but pleasant morning (with ice on some puddles) provided some interesting birding around the Lab. A group of around fifty Northern Shovelers, probably the same birds seen last week, were on A.E. Sea. About one hundred Double-crested Cormorants were in two groups on Lake Law with another thirty-five on A.E. Sea. Only the Male American Kestrel was hanging around the Sparrow Hedge nest box. Hopefully this means the female was inside brooding. Other birds of note in the Sparrow Hedge were Wood Duck, Ring-necked Pheasant, Brown Thrasher, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Field Sparrow. Nepese had several Blue-winged Teal and a pair of Green-winged Teal. I checked the apparent Cooper's Hawk nest in the area of the Garden Club and it had definitely been improved since my last visit. While I viewed the nest through my binoculars, the female swooped in and landed. Though I did not have a clear view of the whole bird, I assume she brought in nest material because she then flew off again after a couple of minutes. A pair of Wood Ducks bolted from under the new nest box at the edge of a small pond inside the Big Woods. A Great Egret flew over the berm near the center of the ring while three female Hooded Mergansers swam in the moat. East Main Ring woods still had a couple of Dark-eyed Juncos and the first Hermit Thrush of the year while the West woods provided well over a dozen Rusty Blackbirds. Both Osprey have now returned to the nest area, with reports of the second bird's return provided earlier in the week. Two Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were sparring on a tree in Kautz Road Woods until a Red-bellied Woodpecker flew in and scared off one of the combatants. I finally found a second Great Horned Owl nest in the hollow of a broken off tree. It appears quite deep and I could only confirm a single owlet inside. Nest number one is doing fine. It was hard to tell but it still looks like there is a pair of young within. Finally, I was able to relocate the Barred Owl after being elusive for a few weeks. Dave

Thursday, April 5

With temps back into the normal range and moderately strong northeast winds, the morning began with a chill but it was still a pleasant morning of birding. It started out with over fifty Northern Shovelers together in A.E. Sea, with not much going on in Lake Law. To show how bad the waterfowl migration has been this season, this was the largest flock of a single species (non-winter species) I have seen so far. The male American Kestrel was feeding on a small rodent near the Hedge nest box. Later the male and female were seen together. Birds singing in the Sparrow Hedge area were Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhees, Field Sparrows, Song Sparrows, and Northern Cardinals. A Sandhill Crane was heard, then seen flying low in a northeast direction almost directly overhead and into the wind. Nepese marsh had several Blue-winged Teal while the surrounding area produced a pair of Cooper's Hawks, singing Eastern Phoebes and the first Ruby-crowned Kinglet of the year. The Swenson Road horse wallow had a pair of Green-winged Teal but the kestrels were not found in the area. My first Osprey sighting of the year was one feeding on a fish atop a post adjacent to the nest platform; so far this year only one bird has been seen. Added inside the Main Ring were a Turkey Vulture, a Swamp Sparrow and a good number of Yellow- rumped Warblers. The first Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers of the year were found in a couple of different woodlots. Finally, the Great Horned Owl nest has been blessed with a pair of fuzzy owlets. Dave

Sunday, April 1

Cloudy, seasonable temps and minimal wind greeted us this morning for a pleasant morning of birding. The fairly disappointing waterfowl season seems to be winding down with only Wood Ducks, Northern Shovelers, a couple Gadwall, and a couple of American Black Ducks, all seen in various locations throughout the Lab. Also seen were a Pied-billed Grebe and several American Coots. The Sparrow Hedge was the most active area we visited, but sparrow numbers remain low. Sparrows seen in this area were Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, and the first Vesper Sparrow of the year. Chipping Sparrow and Savannah Sparrow were added elsewhere. Other birds in the Hedge area were Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, Rusty Blackbird and the pair of American Kestrels which appear to be married to the nest box in the area. Wilson's Snipe were again seen along Swenson Road. From inside the Main Ring we added Northern Harrier, Horned Lark, a Winter Wren and several Golden-crowned Kinglets. As prolific as the Big Woods was on Wednesday, it was just as strangely quiet this morning. Dave

email Author email Fermilab
Security, Privacy, Legal Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory