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August, 2017 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Marcia and Gail were in doing their usual midweek bird survey in the Main and Injector Rings. Again they came up with another new migrant warbler for the fall season - a Tennessee Warbler (actually 3). They also spotted 4 of this year's Ospreys in their survey areas. It's good to know there are still some of these birds around the Lab. Other highlights of their morning's birding were a Pied-billed Grebe, Green Herons (still well dispersed around the Lab), an Eastern Kingbird, Red-eyed Vireo, Sedge Wrens (2), an Eastern Bluebird, Cedar Waxwings, and a Chipping Sparrow. Dave

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Another pleasant morning greeted us with cool temps, mostly cloudy skies, and mild winds. Lake Law was down another notch - now approx. 4 ft below normal. There was not quite the quantity of shorebirds at L.Law as there was on Thur. , but still some great surprises were provided. Expected shorebirds found were Killdeer, Spotted Sandpipers, Solitary Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpipers and Least Sandpipers. Notable misses here were Lesser Yellowlegs and Pectoral Sandpipers. The first of the season surprises were a Baird's Sandpiper, a Stilt Sandpiper and a Buff-breasted Sandpiper. Soon after finding these birds, an adult Bald Eagle flew over the southwest corner of L.Law. Other birds of note in the Lakes Region were Pied-billed Grebes (2-Juveniles), Least Bitterns (2-adults and 3-juv), Green Herons (still a nice mix of adults and juv.), Soras, a Chimney Swift, and Marsh Wrens (several still singing). Elsewhere we added an Osprey (adult feeding on Nest 1 site), an American Kestrel and Eastern Bluebirds. Dave

Thursday, August 24, 2017

It was comfortably cool this morning with partly cloudy skies and moderate winds. No new additional birds from last week's tally were seen and, in many areas, the passerines were quite quiet. The shorebirds on the drawn-down Lake Law (now about 3 ft below the levels of a couple of weeks ago) were the same but in slightly larger numbers from Sunday. Birds found there were Killdeer, Spotted Sandpipers, Solitary Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Sandpipers, a Least Sandpiper (only species with a lesser number) and Pectoral Sandpipers. Other birds of interest in the Sparrow hedge/Lakes region were a Pied-billed Grebe, Soras (at least 7), Least Bitterns (2), Green Herons (still in good numbers), Great Egrets (22 on L.Law), Sandhill Cranes (pr. at L.Law), Bell's Vireos (at least 6 singing), a Warbling Vireo and Cedar Waxwings. Birds of interest found elsewhere were American Kestrels, a Willow Flycatcher, Marsh Wrens, Henslow's Sparrows (still quite a few singing along N. Eola Rd), Bobolinks (group 10-12 birds) and several Eastern Meadowlarks. A feeding, immature Osprey was back in the Nest 1 area on one of the nearby power poles. At the Nest 3 area, an immature Osprey was begging, and it worked. As I was leaving the area, an adult was seen carrying a fish toward its panhandling offspring. Dave

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Marcia and Gail were in today surveying their usual areas in the Main and Injector Rings. Their bird of the day was the first migrant warbler of the season, an early Chestnut-sided Warbler. Other birds of interest in their visited areas were a Pied-billed Grebe, a Cooper's Hawk, both Eastern Wood-Pewees and Eastern Phoebes, Sedge Wrens, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Cedar Waxwings, European Starlings (a large flock of about 300 birds), a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, an Indigo Bunting, an Eastern Towhee and a Common Grackle. Their biggest miss of the day was finding no Ospreys in the Nest 1 area. This is the first time this area has been without an Osprey since early April. Dave

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Being mostly cloudy and in the low to mid 70's, the early morning was quite pleasant for birding. The slots at the north end of A.E. Sea again produced a Least Bittern. Also there were 8 to 10 Soras and several Green Herons. Lake Law was lowered about 2 ft this past week and produced the first migrant shorebirds of the season. Found were Killdeer, Spotted Sandpipers, Solitary Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers and a Pectoral Sandpiper. There were at least 16 Great Egrets around the lake's perimeter (previously only 1 or 2 would be found). Three young Cooper's Hawks buzzed the shorebirds momentarily then flew to the top of a tall tree. There the hawks were buzzed themselves by a couple of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. Also of interest in the Sparrow Hedge area were Caspian Terns (3), Bell's Vireos (several singing), and a Baltimore Oriole. The only Osprey found were 3 in the area of Nest 1. Dave

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The morning started out quite pleasant being in the hi 60's, mostly sunny and calm, but soon warmed to the mid 80's. Again a Least Bittern was the bird of the morning (a flyover, in great light, at the north end of A. E. Sea). Other birds of interest found in the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes Region were Wood Ducks, Soras (4), Green Herons (4), Great Egret (numbers climbed to 51 at Sea of Evanescence), a Caspian Tern, a Downy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, a Northern Flicker, a Hairy Woodpecker (Big Woods), Eastern Kingbirds, Marsh Wrens (still diminishing in numbers-at least those singing), a Cedar Waxwing and Eastern Towhees. Birds of interest found in other areas of the Lab were Ospreys (3-in area of Nest 1, none around Nest 3), American Kestrels (4), Eastern Wood-Pewees, an Eastern Phoebe, Sedge Wrens, a Brown Thrasher, a Vesper Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrows, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Eastern Meadowlarks and Baltimore Orioles. Dave

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Temps this morning were still comfortable (hi 60's - low 70's), skies were partly cloudy and winds were calm. The Sparrow Hedge did produce some interesting birds starting at the "Cattail Slots" on the north end of A.E. Sea. Found there were 2 Least Bitterns (one flyover and one sunning itself), several Soras, Wood Ducks, a Green Heron and a Spotted Sandpiper (new week). Found in the remainder of the Lakes/Sparrow Hedge region were 43 Great Egrets (Sea of E.), a singing Bell's Vireo (also found on Wed. and by Glenn on Thur.), Eastern Kingbirds (5 in one tree), an American Crow and Northern Rough-winged Swallows (new week). Elsewhere in the Lab the only other new bird for the week was a Warbling Vireo. An adult and a juvenile Osprey were perched on the cross beams of the now missing Nest 1. After they flew off we investigated the base of the nest pole and found the nest material spread around the base of the nest up to a 20 foot radius rather than in a centralized pile. This, strangely, seems to imply that the nest was dismantled by the Osprey and not blown off the pole by a strong wind gust. It will be interesting to see the next move made by this extremely viable pair of birds (the Nest 1 pair have produced 22 offspring to date). Dave

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Glenn was in today and spent quite a bit of time birding around the Lab. From his extensive list of birds he added a large number of birds to the week's list. In addition he added two "first of the year" birds including a Ring-necked Pheasant and a Black-crowned Night-Heron. The other birds added for the week were an American Black Duck, a Cooper's Hawk, a Belted Kingfisher, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, a Willow Flycatcher, a Horned Lark, Purple Martins, a Brown Thrasher, a Yellow Warbler, a Chipping Sparrow, a Swamp Sparrow and Bobolinks. This helped us have the largest number of species for a week since the second week of June. Dave

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The weather was quite pleasant with temps ranging from the mid 60's early to the mid 70's later. Mosquitoes were again a problem and several locations would have been unbearable without a head net. Marcia and Gail were also in this morning and all together we had just about 60 species. Starting with the Lakes/Sparrow Hedge region the highlights of birds found were a Wood Duck family, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, several Soras, a pair of Sandhill Cranes (just behind the birding area sign), Caspian Terns, Great Egrets (27 at the Sea of Evanescence-highest number this season), a Great Horned Owl, an Eastern Phoebe, a Bell's Vireo, Marsh Wrens (a notability reduced presence), Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and a couple of juvenile Orchard Orioles. Highlights found elsewhere in the Lab were a Turkey Vulture (on the upper corner of Wilson Hall), a Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flickers, American Kestrels, Eastern Wood-Pewees, a Great Crested Flycatcher, a Red-eyed Vireo, an American Crow, Sedge Wrens, Cedar Waxwings, Henslow's Sparrows, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings and Eastern Meadowlarks. Osprey Nest 1 is now almost completely down, for still unknown reasons. One of the juvenile Ospreys was feeding on a cross member of the nest pole with another nearby. Nest 3 had one of the juveniles perched near that nest. Dave

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Mostly cloudy skies, calm winds and favorable temps were overcome by the tenacity of the mosquitoes in most areas of the Lab. Highlights in the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes region were Wood Ducks, Soras, Sandhill Cranes (heard east of A.E. Sea), Caspian Terns (at least 2), a Spotted Sandpiper, a Willow Flycatcher (again using the whit call) and a Brown Thrasher. Along North Eola Rd. the Henslow's Sparrows, in contrast to Thursday's visit, were singing everywhere. Also singing , but to a much lesser degree, were Sedge Wrens and Eastern Meadowlarks. A Horned Lark and Savannah Sparrows were also found in this area. Other highlights around the Lab were American Kestrels (2), a Northern Flicker, several Eastern Phoebes, a juv. Chipping Sparrow and Indigo Buntings. An interesting Osprey observation was made at Nest 1. One of the juvenile Osprey was atop the nest, but something did not look right to us. Then we realized that the size of the nest was greatly diminished. We did not want to approach the nest at this point in time with the youngster still around the nest, but will try to determine what happened to the nest material at a later date. Dave

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The morning started out warm, humid, calm, partly cloudy and buggy. Through the morning it turned sunny, then cloudy and finally rainy. Half the morning was spent in the Lakes/Sparrow hedge region trying to locate one of the Least Bitterns that have eluded me. A number of interesting birds were found including a Wood Duck family, American Black Ducks, Pied-billed Grebe (L. Law), Soras (2-Adults, 1-Juv), a Spotted Sandpiper, Caspian Terns, my best bird of the day - a Least Bittern (finally!), Green Herons (several Adults and a Juv), a Willow Flycatcher (calling-Whit), a Bell's Vireo (first in over a month-just a few song notes), Marsh Wrens (a little less prominent than on recent visits), Eastern Bluebirds and Cedar Waxwings. In other areas around the Lab... First, the grassland birds presence has been diminishing including Sedge Wrens (far less along S. Eola), Henslow's Sparrows (only 2 reluctantly singing along S. Eola) and Eastern Meadowlarks (few heard, several locations). Some other highlights included American Kestrels, Eastern Wood-Pewees, Eastern Phoebes, Horned Larks, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, American Redstarts, and Indigo Buntings. Osprey Nest 3 had only 1 juvenile feeding at the nest. While at Nest 1 a juvenile was on the nest, 2 were feeding nearby and 1 was calling from inside the Main Ring. Later, when the rain started the juvenile on the nest started jumping up and down as if it were testing its wings. It then flew a circle around the nest and landed back on the nest. Whether or not this was its first flight, it certainly confirms the fledging of all 7 young Ospreys for 2017. This brings the total of fledged Osprey at Fermilab to 30 (22 of these from Nest 1) over the last 9 years. Marcia and Gail were also in the Lab this morning, finding many of the same birds in the Main Ring and Injector Ring Areas. For the week list they added woodpeckers I missed including a Downy Woodpecker and several Northern Flickers (5). Others they added for the week were 2 juvenile Warbling Vireos and 2 Dickcissels inside the Main Ring. Dave

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