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

August, 2012 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Author: Peter Kasper

July September
Aug 30Aug 23Aug 18Aug 16Aug 11Aug 9Aug 4Aug 1
Aug 30Aug 29Aug 25Aug 26Aug 16Aug 12Aug 5
Caspian Tern after I went to the Big Woods. Dave

Friday, August 30

I was not around during the week but some sightings of note that were required for the week's list were a Black-bellied Plover (Al Stokie), a Black-crowned Night-Heron (Marcia and Gail), and an immature Peregrine Falcon (Peter near Wilson Hall). It's a good possibility that this was the same Peregrine we had seen last week. Dave

Friday, August 23

Yesterday's rains replenished a considerable amount of shorebird habitat to both A.E. Sea and DUSAF Pond after the long, dry up period. Shorebird numbers were still down with no remarkable birds found only Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper and Pectoral Sandpiper. While viewing shorebirds on DUSAF they suddenly began to flush. What I first thought was one of the Cooper's Hawks seen regularly in the area turned out to be a juvenile Peregrine Falcon. After flushing every bird on DUSAF, it headed down the channel toward A.E. Sea. Soon after I hooked up with Ryan of Facilities Engineering and two of his interns Elise and Zack. We walked down to the Sparrow Hedge and, after finding a lone Tennessee Warbler, spotted the Peregrine on a dead tree at the south end of A.E. Sea. We had great looks at the bird through the scope. We did not find the Black Tern reported on Thursday by Gail. Unfortunately, no other warblers were found throughout the morning and most locations were quite quiet. Some of the highlight birds found in various locations were Wood Duck (Fem and 4 young), Green Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron (adult - DUSAF), Caspian Tern, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Eastern Wood-Pewee and Eastern Phoebe (both singing), Red-eyed Vireo, Sedge Wren, Marsh Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Indigo Bunting, and Baltimore Oriole. Dave

Sunday, August 18

A nice, cool morning greeted us but warmed as the day progressed; more than on other recent visits. Shorebirds still remain the highlight, but both A.E. Sea and DUSAF are drying up rapidly. The only water remaining at A.E. Sea is at its south end. Many of the same shorebirds are still present with the two highlights being a Black-bellied Plover and one or two Stilt Sandpipers. We could not relocate the Red-necked Phalarope, but birds have typically been moving around throughout the day and may still be around. The highlight bird of the morning was a Cape May Warbler, our first warbler of this fall's migration season. There were two other birds accompanying the Cape May, but they flew off before we could get on them. No other warblers were found the rest of the morning. Overall the morning was very quiet. The only other birds of note were Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Sedge Wren, Marsh Wren, Indigo Bunting, Eastern Meadowlark, Bank Swallow, Tree Swallow and Barn Swallow. Dave

Friday, August 16

Weather continued to be very pleasant for birding. I was with both Elise and Ellen, interns at the Lab. They will be returning to school soon. We started out in the Sparrow Hedge area which was very quiet as was most of the Lab this morning. Not much was found in this area other than Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Willow Flycatcher, American Crow, Eastern Towhee (one of only a few birds that were singing) and Indigo Bunting. A.E. Sea and later DUSAF produced Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, and a Red-necked Phalarope (this bird was found earlier in the week and confirmed this morning). Several Caspian Terns and a Herring Gull rounded out the water birds of note although there are still large numbers of Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons wading the waters. There was an Osprey on Nest 2 by Nepese but no way to determine its origin. We found a family of young Dickcissels and several singing males. We heard no Henslow's Sparrows but did find several Sedge Wrens still singing. Dave

Sunday, August 11

Weather again this morning was beautiful for birding; cool to start and partly cloudy with minimal wind. Shorebirds on A.E. Sea and DUSAF remain similar to the last report with Black-bellied Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper and Short-billed Dowitcher. There were large numbers of Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets in A.E. Sea and an adult Black-crowned Night-Heron at DUSAF. We also had at least five Green Herons around Lake Logo (inside the Main Ring). Other birds found around the lakes were Pied-billed Grebe (L.Law), Blue-winged Teal, Bald Eagle (in trees SW corner of A.E. Sea), Caspian Tern and Purple Martin (several). Overall swallow numbers have been down over the last week. Other birds found in the Lakes-Sparrow Hedge area were Cooper's Hawk (a couple of young birds), Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Yellow Warbler, Eastern Towhee (a couple of young birds), and Baltimore Oriole. Just a few birds found in other areas were Hairy Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Marsh Wren and Indigo Bunting. Dave

Friday, August 9

It was another great morning for birding with another Fermi intern, Ellen. We found a much smaller number of shorebirds than have been found over the last several weeks even though the variety was still quite good. Species seen were Black-bellied Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, and Stilt Sandpiper. Other birds found in the A.E. Sea-DUSAF area were Black-crowned Night-Heron, Blue-winged Teal, Herring Gull and Caspian Tern. In general all other habitats were much quieter than in recent visits. Although found in reduced numbers, Henslow's Sparrows and Sedge Wrens were still singing. Some other birds of interest were Cooper's Hawk, American Kestrel, Willow Flycatcher, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird (a good number of young birds), Cedar Waxwing, Dickcissel, and Baltimore Oriole. Dave

Sunday, August 4

A picture perfect morning (although gnats and mosquitoes were a minor irritation) provided good conditions for both the birds and birders. Not many changes in the birds found from those over the last few visits. The shorebirds found between A.E. Sea and DUSAF were Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Sandpiper (numbers increasing), Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, and Stilt Sandpiper (in good numbers). Other water birds found were the typical (lately) Caspian Terns, Wood Duck (two separate families), Blue-winged Teal, and Northern Shoveler. Other birds found around the lakes were a young Cooper's Hawk, Willow Flycatchers, American Crow, Yellow Warblers (in several locations), Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole, and a young Brown-headed Cowbird being fed by a Song Sparrow. Though the bugs kept us from penetrating the Big Woods, we did have some luck walking some of its perimeter. The adjacent grasslands had singing Sedge Wrens, Henslow's Sparrows, and Dickcissels. On the edge and inside the woods we had Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Indigo Bunting and, the bird of the day, another singing Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Dave

Thursday, August 1

Another pleasant morning for birding greeted Calvin, another summer intern, and myself. No new arrival shorebirds; all species seen were found over the last few weeks on and off. We found Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper, and Short-billed Dowitcher. Still found in the Lakes area were Caspian Terns (and other ponds around the Lab) and Wood Ducks. The major players in the grasslands were Sedge Wrens, Henslow's Sparrows, and Dickcissels. These were all found in multiple areas. Swallow numbers and variety were considerably down from what we found on Sunday. We did find several flycatchers including Eastern Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher and spotted flying thru the Lab. Dave

Thursday, August 30

The early morning was quite pleasant with cloudless skies, cool (for the season) temps and a mild breeze. The breeze picked up later and kept conditions very nice until early afternoon. Bird activity was not at its best , but there were still some interesting sightings. Great Egret still continue to be the most numerous wader in the Lab. The Sunday rains brought up the levels of all the lakes thus reducing the amount of shorebird habitat. The good news is that the Sea of Evanescence is once again a viable shorebird habitat. The overall number of shorebirds is down with Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, and Pectoral Sandpipers at Evanescence and a couple of Short-billed Dowitchers at the south end of Lake Law. Now I know why Solitary Sandpipers got their name. I was observing one that had its tail feathers flared. As I panned this bird with my binocs, its tail flared more. Then a second Solitary Sandpiper came into view and both birds immediately started to spar, jumping on each other's backs and dueling, then finally separating. At this point both birds went their separate ways calmly feeding. The Sparrow Hedge area was quite quiet with little activity. The only birds of note here were a lone Blackpoll Warbler (first of year) and a cruising Cooper's Hawk (this may have been one of the reasons for the lack of activity). The first Northern Shovelers of the season were on Dusaf Pond (quite a good number of them). A Northern Harrier was standing preening itself in a field on the east side of North Eola Road. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were found in several locations throughout the morning. Warblers were few and far between. Besides the blackpoll , I found several Tennessee Warblers, a couple of American Redstarts, and a Magnolia Warbler. The Female Blue Grosbeak and a couple of juveniles were again located. Also a Great Horned Owl was flushed after trying several locations. The highlight of my morning was watching an apparent young Osprey trying to hunt for a meal. I spotted a couple of Ospreys flying over Casey's Pond. One bird flew off while the other started to dive for fish. It first tried the deeper parts of the pond then started to dive into the shallows and sit in the water apparently trying to grab for fish in the shallow water. After ten seconds or so it would push up and fly up to dive into another shallow location. It did this more than a dozen times unsuccessfully in its attempt to attain a meal. It finally flew up shaking off the water and circling the pond to dry off. It finally flew off still hungry. Dave

Wednesday, August 29

An Upland Sandpiper was spotted twice by Roads and Grounds personal near Eola and East Wilson yesterday. Peter was able to confirm the sighting this morning. The bird was not found on Thursday. Dave

Saturday, August 25

Twelve Black Terns were reported flying in the Lake Law area for several hours on Saturday afternoon (Aug 25). Dave

Sunday, August 26

Cloudy conditions provided us with very good birding early this morning. The initial light rains still provided good birds but the late morning heavier rains shut us down. To start we checked A.E. Sea and Lake Law for shorebirds and found Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper, and Short-billed Dowitcher. Warblers were spotty but we did manage several Tennessee Warblers, a couple of Nashville Warblers, a Chestnut-sided Warbler, a Magnolia Warbler, a few American Redstarts, a Common Yellowthroat, and the first Mourning Warbler of the year (at the eastern edge of the Sparrow Hedge). Other birds found in the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes area were Willow Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher, Bell's Vireo (singing), Savannah Sparrow, and Grasshopper Sparrow. Huge numbers of Great Egret continue to be found congregated in Dusaf early in the morning and then appear to spread out to the other lakes later in the morning (Earlier in the month they were found in Lake Logo). Peter had some good birds earlier in the week (most in the Wilson campus area) including Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and Common Nighthawk. Also seen this morning were Ruby-throated Hummingbird (same dead tree on the west edge of the Big Woods), Dickcissel, and Eastern Meadowlark. The best was yet to come. We found a family of Blue Grosbeaks and feel these birds have bred on site. This is only the second sighting of Blue Grosbeak within the Lab, the other being earlier this year (in April). Since these birds were with young they were quite agitated by our presence so we left them before we could get an accurate count of the number of the young grosbeaks. Dave

Thursday, August 16

The early morning birding today was slow even before the rain. It was dark (due to the heavy cloud cover) and this seemed to limit just about all activity and singing throughout the Sparrow Hedge area. Then the rains came and shut down the birds even more until late morning. The shorebirds did not seem to be affected by the early conditions but the Sea of Evanesence, being almost totally dry, had very few birds. Hopefully, today's rains will rejuvenate this area. Shorebirds seen in the remaining three lakes on the east side were Solitary Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, and Long-billed Dowitcher (same three were together again, this time in Dusaf). It was strange to not find any Great Egrets in the area, especially with their numbers increasing over the past several weeks. Then I went to Lake Logo (inside the Main Ring) to find 90-100 of them (I actually counted 90) in the ideal wading conditions there. Later, after the rains, the Great Egrets did move to other locations. This was by far the most egrets I have ever seen at Fermilab, especially in one spot. Two Osprey's were seen in the Main Injector nest area and one adult was found on the Nepese platform (after the rain). Several American Kestrels were in the Main Injector area and a Cooper's Hawk flew through the Hedge area. A Sedge Wren was still buzzing in the Switchgrass and a Dickcissel was near the Pine St. entrance. Finally, a couple of Great Horned Owls were out in the open in some dead trees apparently drying off after the rains. Dave

Sunday, August 12

Conditions were great this morning being mostly cloudy, cool with not much of a breeze. Many of the shorebirds of the last couple of weeks appeared to have moved on but still present were Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, and three Long-billed Dowitchers. These birds were spread throughout all of the east end lakes. Unfortunately, the Sea of Evanescence is just about dry and numbers here were way down. Hopefully tomorrows rains will improve its shorebird habitat. Several Henslow's Sparrows were still singing in the small field east of the Sea of Evanescence. All of the swallows were found over the lakes area including Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Bank Swallow, Cliff Swallow and Barn Swallow. A surprise Northern Harrier flew across the southern end of A.E. Sea. Other interesting birds in the Sparrow Hedge area were Caspian Terns, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Warbling Vireo, Bell's Vireo, Dickcissel, and Baltimore Oriole. Lots of herons and egrets were in the area including several Black-crowned Night-Herons and, the bird of the day, an immature Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. The highlight of the week was the presence of a pair of Ospreys on the new nest platform at the southeast corner of Nepese marsh (just installed early this summer). Peter has observed the pair and it is independent of the currently nesting pair inside the Ring area. The pair appears to be a mature female and a second year male. They have been busy constructing a nest in anticipation of next year's breeding season, we hope. Dave

Sunday, August 5

Pleasantly cool temperatures, for the season, and a mild breeze made for great birding conditions this morning. Last night's rains changed the shorebird conditions somewhat by raising most water levels. Just about all the shorebirds were now concentrated on the Sea of Evanescence while the overall number of birds for the Lab appeared smaller than the last several visits. All the same shorebirds seen over the last week were present plus a year first Semipalmated Plover. Henslow's Sparrows were singing in the grass field south of the Sparrow Hedge. Finally, as we returned past Lake Law, two of the Ospreys were seen flying over the lake toward A.E.

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