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April, 2014 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Monday, April 28, 2014

Glen reported some good birds from late last week. First in the Lakes/Sparrow Hedge Region he had Caspian Terns (highest count to date - 28), American Pelicans (13), and a first for the year Short-billed Dowitcher - all by A.E. Sea. There were lots of sparrows in the area; mostly Swamp Sparrows and an American Tree Sparrow (possibly the same one we had on Sunday). American Kestrels were found near the nest box by the Security Offices. He also noticed the Osprey on the Nepese Nest. Hopefully he'll find a mate. In some of the grasslands inside the Main Ring and around Lake Logo there were Ruddy Ducks (13), Wilson's Snipe (6), and for new birds there was a Black-crowned Night Heron and Virginia Rail. Dave

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Take away the strong winds this morning and it would have been a really good day for birding. Because of the wind we spent most of our time in the woods but first we checked out the A.E. Sea area. It was tough to get on most of the sparrows around the perimeter of the Sea due to the wind and vegetation. There were mostly Swamp Sparrows, some Song Sparrows, a Savannah Sparrow and at least one American Tree Sparrow. Added from other locations were Chipping Sparrows, Field Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows. Found in the Sea were Gadwall, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, American White Pelican (one was still remaining), Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Sandpiper (1), Pectoral Sandpiper (about 25), Wilson's Snipe, and Caspian Tern (14) (at one time all were lined up in pairs). Green-winged Teal and Stilt Sandpiper were added at Dusaf Pond. Some of the birds found in the area of the Big Woods were Wood Duck, Eastern Phoebe, Brown Creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Palm Warbler, and various sparrows. In two different locations we observed Great Blue Herons with snakes in their bills. Also found, mostly riding around the Main and Injector Ring areas, were Ruddy Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, and American Coot. It appears the female Osprey from Nest 1 is settled in atop her eggs. Nest 2 has a single adult (thought to be a male) hanging around and sometimes on the nest but as of yet does not appear to have a mate. Dave

Friday, April 25, 2014

Marcia and Gail had beautiful weather and lots of birds this morning, mostly in the areas of the Main Injector and Main Ring. Some of their highlights were Gadwall, Double-crested Cormorant, American Coot, Wilson's Snipe, Solitary Sandpiper (first of year), Caspian Tern, Belted Kingfisher (another first of year bird), American Kestrel, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-rumped Warbler and Rusty Blackbird. Sparrows found were Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, and White-throated Sparrow. Dave

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It was a cool and sunny start this morning with only a moderate increase in temps throughout the morning. A.E. Sea was quite busy with twenty-one American White Pelicans in two groups in the water (up to 40 were found over the weekend). Waterfowl included American Black Ducks (a pair), Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, and Green-winged Teal. Around the fringes of the Sea, sparrows were quite active and are becoming a major focal point of the migration season. Included were Field Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow (most numerous), and White-throated Sparrow. Flyovers were a Green Heron over A.E. Sea, Wilson's Snipe flushed at A.E Sea, a Caspian Tern (Peter had at least 20 over the weekend), and about 20 Pectoral Sandpipers circling over Lake Law. The Sparrow Hedge area was sort of quiet with only a few highlights including Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, a couple of Yellow-rumped Warblers, and a Palm Warbler. Singing were several Eastern Towhees and a bunch of Field Sparrows. Dusaf Pond had several Greater Yellowlegs and Lesser Yellowlegs plus the flock of Pectoral Sandpipers (assumed) seen earlier. An Osprey was perched above the nest platform at Nepese Marsh while a Red-tailed Hawk was seen carrying nesting material to one of the power towers behind the marsh. Note: Please respect the barrier closing off the Nepese Marsh and stay out of that area, thank you. Other sparrows found today were a very large number of Chipping Sparrows, a Dark-eyed Junco and a Clay-colored Sparrow in the Garden Club. Vesper Sparrows were also found in the North Roads area. A Cooper's Hawk was seen chasing a distressed sparrow into a small woodlot next to the Garden Club. Both adult Great Horned Owls were in the area of Nest 2 while a single owlet barely looked over the edge of the nest. Other highlights of the morning were Wood Ducks, Horned Larks, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, a House Wren, a Hermit Thrush, and Rusty Blackbirds (still a nice group in a wooded wetland). Dave

Saturday, April 19, 2014

To catch up on some other sightings from the week, first last Sunday (Apr. 13) Glenn had several Franklin's Gulls on Casey's Pond in the early afternoon. Then on Friday, Gail and Marcia found the first Blue-gray Gnatcatcher of the year (Note: This has been the first week of arrival for gnatcatchers over the last five survey periods - 25 years) , a couple of late Brown Creepers and they also heard an American Woodcock (these have been fairly elusive this year). Dave

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This morning it was cold for the season (ice had returned to the shallow parts of some of the waters), sunny and breezy to start. As the morning progressed it warmed, clouded up and became quite windy. There were no big surprises in the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes region. On the lakes were American Black Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebes, American White Pelicans (15), Great Egrets, and Greater Yellowlegs. American Tree Sparrows still remain the prominent sparrow species. Swamp Sparrows were well represented as were Song Sparrows with several Field Sparrows being heard. The Garden Club was very quiet with only an American Kestrel, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and several Dark-eyed Juncos in the area. The bird of the morning was a Lark Sparrow found on west Wilson Street. Both Ospreys were on the Main Injector Nest while a third bird was circling above. Again, Ospreys were sighted several other times throughout the morning, so who knows how many are in the area. Gail has the highest tally with four. Other birds of mention were Wood Duck, American Coot, Lesser Yellowlegs, Barn Swallow, Tree Swallow (in good numbers), Hermit Thrush, and Brown Thrasher (singing in several locations). A second Great Horned Owl nest was found with the female on the nest and the male nearby. The first nest appears to have been blown down. Since it is in a tall pine tree it is hard to tell if the owlet survived, but one of the adults was perched just above the nest location. When I went to check below the pine, the owl would not flush which leads me to think the owlet may still be up there. Dave

Monday, April 14, 2014

I forgot to mention yesterday that Gail reported four Ospreys in the Main Injector on Friday. Then yesterday (Sunday) we observed Ospreys in several locations throughout the Lab but never seeing more than two together at any one time (none of the sightings were in the area of the Nepese Nest). Finally, Dave Shemanske reported today seeing a pair of Osprey in the area of the Nepese Marsh nest platform. Hopefully, we'll soon be a two- Osprey nest site. Dave

Sunday, April 13, 2014

It was warm and partly sunny to start, changing to overcast as the morning wore on. The bird(s) of the morning were nine American White Pelicans on A.E. Sea. Other birds found in the area were Wood Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Double-crested Cormorant, Barn Swallow, and Brown Thrasher. The Big Woods produced a Cooper's Hawk, Golden-crowned Kinglet, several Hermit Thrushs and a Yellow-rumped Warbler. Several small to medium blackbird flocks produced lots of female Red-wing Blackbirds (males also), several Rusty Blackbirds, Common Grackles, Brown-headed Cowbirds and at least one Brewer's Blackbird. Sparrow numbers are on the rise. Found were Chipping Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Vesper Sparrows (at least a dozen), Savannah Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, and still a few Dark-eyed Juncos and good numbers of American Tree Sparrows. Other birds found around the Lab were Pied-billed Grebe, Turkey Vulture, American Coot, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Wilson's Snipe, Eastern Phoebe and American Crow. Dave

Friday, April 11, 2014

Several new year birds were reported over the last two days. First Glenn found three Pectoral Sandpipers and a Savannah Sparrow at A.E. Sea on Thursday. He also found a Winter Wren and Brown Creeper in the Nepese Marsh area. The other new year bird was White Pelican. Six of these were spotted flying from the east toward A.E. Sea this evening. Dave

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

This morning started out cool, clear and calm. It warmed rather quickly and the wind remained quite mild until mid-morning. The Sparrow Hedge/Lakes region was covered first. Waterfowl numbers continue to drop, but there still was a good variety including Wood Duck, Gadwall, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, and Ruddy Duck. Again, American Tree Sparrows were the most abundant of the sparrows with Song Sparrows also well represented. There were also about a half dozen Fox Sparrows and several White-throated Sparrows. New arrivals were Hermit Thrush (very crisp in the bright sun), Eastern Towhee (several singing as the temps increased), and Brown Thrasher (again singing). An American Robin was putting the finishing touches on her nest. Birds added from several small woodlots being monitored were Great Horned Owl, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Kingbird (earliest arrival on record), Golden-crowned Kinglet (another new arrival), Eastern Bluebird, and Rusty Blackbird (about a dozen). Main Ring Lake added Bufflehead, Pied-billed Grebe (new arrival), and American Coot. The Main Injector Moat was empty, though it was after noon time when checked. The Osprey pair was moving around the nest area and an American Kestrel was on a monitor post along North Eola Road. Dave

Sunday, April 6, 2014

It was a great morning for a walk and we covered a large area of the Main Ring grasslands and wetlands for a change. It was cool and mostly sunny to start but warmed quite fast as we walked. Strangely our first bird in the area was a Great Horned Owl in the bushes along the moat. The most common birds in the area were American Tree Sparrows with several Song Sparrows and a single Swamp Sparrow. Several Wilson's Snipe were flushed but the Short-eared Owl seen by the Roads and Grounds personnel was not found. Note: I was also in the area on Friday and did not find the owl. As we walked along Lake Logo we found Northern Shovelers, Gadwall, Redheads, and large numbers of Ring-necked Ducks. Even though the numbers of waterfowl continue to drop, we later added Wood Duck, American Wigeon, Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, Common Merganser and Ruddy Duck in other areas. Main Ring Lake had a half dozen Horned Grebes and over a dozen American Coots. We heard, then spotted, a group of about eight Greater White-fronted Geese flying over the lake. We found the first Great Egret of the year by Swan Lake. There was a nice group of Fox Sparrows also inside the Ring and several groups of Rusty Blackbirds were found by the Main Injector. Other flyovers included a couple of Turkey Vultures, three Sandhill Cranes and a Cooper's Hawk. As we left the area both Ospreys were together on their nest. Dave

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

It was a nice morning for a trip through the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes area with mild temps, partly cloudy skies and mild winds (at least in the early morning). Lake Law was quite barren with only a pair of Ring-necked Ducks and a couple of Double-crested Cormorants. The number of waterfowl on A.E. Sea and Sea of Evanescence was far less than on previous visits. Species of note were Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, and Hooded Merganser. There were still a large number of American Tree Sparrows in the area with a good number of Song Sparrows, about a dozen Fox Sparrows, a Swamp Sparrow and a lone Dark-eyed Junco. Some of the other birds found in the area were American Coot, Killdeer, Northern Flicker, Eastern Meadowlark and Brown-headed Cowbird (unfortunately, several pairs). Several Tree Swallows were staking claims to the bird houses along the buffalo fence on D Road. A group of thirty blackbirds along West Wilson appeared to be all Rusty Blackbirds. The Big Woods was quite active with mostly White-breasted Nuthatches and woodpeckers the species in descending order of numbers were Downy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Hairy Woodpeckers. Other finds here were Wood Duck, Great Horned Owl (pair), Eastern Phoebe, Brown Creeper, Winter Wren and more Rusty Blackbirds. The Great Horned Owl nest is occupied by at least one owlet. The big news of the morning was the return of the pair of Ospreys to the nest in the Main Injector area. Lastly, I received a phone picture of a Short-eared Owl taken today by the Roads and Grounds personnel inside the Main Ring. Dave

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