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April, 2016 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

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

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