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August, 2015 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Another remarkable summer morning for birding being cool, cloudy and almost totally devoid of wind. Starting out in the Sparrow Hedge/A.E. Sea region we did quite well, including our first neotropical migrants of the season. The highlights were Wood Ducks, an American Wigeon, Blue-winged Teals, Northern Shovelers, Great Blue Herons (most I've seen on A.E.S. this year), Great Egrets (again about 100 in area), Green Herons, Soras, Lesser Yellowlegs, Wilson's Snipe, Caspian Terns, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (5 for the morning), Bell's Vireo's (still singing), a Philadelphia Vireo, a Brown Thrasher, Cedar Waxwings, Tennessee Warblers, a Yellow Warbler and a Purple Finch. The Osprey's from Nest 2 may have moved on since none were found in the Nepese area. Other birds in this area were a Solitary Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs (3 flyovers singing), Chimney Swifts and Marsh Wrens. Checking the Big Woods area for more migrants we tallied Eastern Wood-Pewees, Eastern Phoebes, more Tennessee Warblers (by far the most abundant migrant species), a Yellow-throated Vireo, a Pine Warbler, a Black-and-white Warbler and American Redstart. This was one of our best mornings in awhile, but the bird of the day (probably also the bird of the month), a Northern Goshawk, topped all of this. Also, Peter reported seeing a Common Nighthawk on Friday evening. Dave

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The morning was cloudy, cool with a slight breeze, actually quite comfortable. There were more shorebirds at A.E. Sea but mostly the same species as Sunday. Found were Killdeer, Spotted Sandpipers, Solitary Sandpipers (2), Greater Yellowlegs (2), Lesser Yellowlegs (over 20), Least Sandpiper (over 10) and Pectoral Sandpiper (over 4). New for the season were a Semipalmated Sandpiper and Wilson's Snipe (5). Sora were also found in good numbers and a Belted Kingfisher was heard at the south end of the Sea. There were over 100 Great Egrets in the area, 91 on A.E. Sea alone. The few shorebirds found on DUSAF kept being flushed by a patrolling Cooper's Hawk (nothing new was found here). Both Wood Ducks and Blue-winged Teal were also found. The Sparrow Hedge area had several groups of noisy Blue Jays. A Bell's Vireo was singing and later a juvenile was found. In one active area together were several each of House Wrens, young Common Yellowthroats, young Indigo Buntings and a Song Sparrow. Other than that there was not much activity. Only the adult female Osprey was found on Nest 2. There was a little competition between the Juvenile Ospreys at Nest 1. One was feeding on the nest as the other circled overhead. After awhile the circling bird chased its sibling off the nest, landed and began eating the leftovers. Meanwhile the other Osprey flew to the next power pole and watched. The oddity of the day was finding one of the Nest 3 Ospreys perched on a nearby power pole along with an immature Turkey Vulture, (found first by Marcia), quite the "Odd Couple". Some of the other birds found were an American Kestrel, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, an Eastern Wood-Pewee, a Marsh Wren and several Cedar Waxwings. Marcia was also in the Lab this morning finding many of the same birds. Some of the other birds she had were Green Herons, Cooper's Hawk, Eastern Bluebirds, and Eastern Meadowlarks. Dave

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The morning started out cool and cloudy with a moderate wind. Later in the morning there was a light mist which had no effect. The Lakes Region produced some interesting birds including Wood Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal (DUSAF), Double-crested Cormorants (about 100), Great Egrets (still lots), a Cooper's Hawk, Soras (10-12), Caspian Terns, Great Horned Owls (2) Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (5) and a Bobolink. The highlight of the morning was the first sizable group of shorebirds of the fall migration (most on A.E. Sea) including Killdeer, Solitary Sandpipers (2), Spotted Sandpipers (3), Greater Yellowlegs (2), Lesser Yellowlegs (10-15), Least Sandpipers (2), and a Pectoral Sandpiper. Some of the other birds found during the morning were a Northern Harrier, a Hairy Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebes, a Cliff Swallow and several Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. As far as the Ospreys go, the most activity was at Nest 2. First, one fledgling was on the nest and the other was in a dead tree about 150 yards away. Then both were on the nest together and finally they were gone. At Nest 1 a fledgling was near the nest while another osprey, age unknown, was in a dead tree about 200 yards from the nest. Finally, at Nest 3 one of the pair was on the nest, hopefully working to improve it for next season. Dave

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The morning was cool, mostly cloudy and quite windy. This wind did have an affect on some of the birds, most notably grassland birds. The north end of A.E. Sea produced a Wood Duck, a Green Heron and a couple of Swamp Sparrows. There were four Caspian Terns and an Osprey hunting over Lake Law. Soon three more loudly squawking Caspian Terns joined the fray and caused an immature Black-crowned Night-Heron to flush from the lake's shoreline. The south end of A.E. Sea showed a lot of activity as typical over the last several weeks. Found there were over 25 Double-crested Cormorant, about 50 Great Egrets, 20 Great Blue Herons, many Mallards, a couple more Caspian Terns and many Swallows ( Tree Swallows and Barn Swallows). At Osprey Nest 1 one fledgling was on the nest while one of the adults was in a dead tree about 150 yards away. At Nest 2, one of the fledglings was on the perch above the nest begging for food while another was in trees nearby also begging. Finally, both adult birds from Nest 3 still remain close to the nest. A little later a third Osprey flew over this pair provoking a loud audible response from one of the Nest 3 pair. Dave

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Marcia was out this morning doing her regular survey. Conditions were good being cloudy, cool, with a moderate wind. Her bird of the morning was a Grasshopper Sparrow in Bett's Prairie inside the Main Ring. In addition, there was still a singing Sedge Wren in the Main Injector area. There was more evidence of Red-winged Blackbirds flocking up as she found around 150 together. Some of the other birds found were an American Kestrel, a Green Heron, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, an Eastern Wood-Pewee, and Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Kingbirds and strangely a lone Cedar Waxwing. Also today, Ryan reported seeing a couple of Northern Harriers inside the Main Ring. Dave

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Birding conditions today were warm, mostly sunny with mild winds, and actually quite comfortable. We stayed out of the high mosquito areas intentionally. First stop was Osprey Nest 2 where the recently fledged chicks flew overhead as we approached, with one landing on the nest. A little later the second fledgling joined the first on the nest where they both begged for food. Peter thinks these chicks fledged sometime during the middle of the week (around Aug. 12th). Dusaf Pond produced some birds, the best being a couple of Black-crowned Night-Herons (1-adult and 1-immature). Other birds in this area were a Wood Duck, Great Egrets (more than 50), a Green Heron (with others found elsewhere ), Solitary Sandpipers (3), Caspian Terns, an Eastern Phoebe and American Crows. The singing Blue Grosbeak was again located. Other birds found during the morning were a Cooper's Hawk, American Kestrels (2), Soras (heard in Lakes Region), a Chimney Swift, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, an Eastern Wood-Pewee and Henslow's Sparrows (still singing). Dave

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Yesterday Marcia and Gail were in their usual locations inside the Main Ring and Main Injector monitoring birds. They still had a singing Sedge Wren and some Dickcissels. Cooper's Hawks have not been too plentiful recently but they had one in their area. Other birds of interest were a Green Heron, an Eastern Wood-Pewee, a Great Crested Flycatcher, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and several recently fledged American Goldfinches. Later in the day on Wednesday, Peter relocated the Blue Grosbeak found last week. Today Glenn was in the Lab and found a Turkey Vulture over the Director's Woods. Not too many have been around lately. He posted the highest recent counts of both Double Crested Cormorants (51) and Red-winged Blackbirds (2500 plus). Other birds found were a Virginia Rail (A.E. Sea), a Belted Kingfisher (Lake Law, another tough find), an adult Purple Martin, Bell's Vireos (2-singing), a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and a Swamp Sparrow (A.E. Sea). Dave

Sunday, August 9, 2015

It was cloudy with light winds this morning providing comfortable conditions but some areas still contained lots of mosquitoes. The Osprey Nest 2 chicks were again buried deep in the nest with only a pop-up wing or head confirming their presence. The female parent was on the perch above the nest while the male was in a tree about 100 yards away. The Nest 1 chicks were standing in the nest again. One was feeding while the other preened and watched. After awhile the feeding bird dropped out of the nest, circled the area, and then returned to the nest as the female parent watched from nearby. The Nest 3 Osprey pair still remain in their nest area. Grassland birds still remain active with a nice group of 20 or more mixed-age bobolinks, singing Henslow's Sparrows and a recently fledged Eastern Meadowlark. The highlight of the morning was a singing Blue Grosbeak (most likely the same bird Glenn had on Thursday). Other birds for the morning were Wood Ducks, Green Herons, American Kestrels, Soras, a Spotted Sandpiper (landing on a large lotus leaf on Main Ring Lake), Caspian Terns (still around in several locations), an Eastern Wood-Pewee, a Red-eyed Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, a Brown Thrasher and a Baltimore Oriole. Dave

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The morning was warm, partly cloudy with a mild breeze that picked up throughout the morning. Osprey Nest 2 showed some activity with both chicks in the nest while an adult on the perch above. One of the chicks was walking around and stretching its wings while the other was picking up nest sticks and rearranging them. Similarly, at Nest 1 both chicks (which fledged last week) were back on the nest - one feeding on a fish while the other was preening. One of the adults was nearby on a power pole. Finally, both Nest 3 adults were back together on a power pole near the nest. Interestingly, there was an Osprey and two Caspian Terns hunting along the Main Ring Moat. Two Virginia Rails were heard at the south end of A.E. Sea and a Sora at Lake Logo. Other interesting birds found were a couple of Green Herons, Chimney Swifts, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Sparrow Hedge), a Hairy Woodpecker, Willow Flycatchers (some singing), an Eastern Phoebe, both Sedge Wrens and Marsh Wrens (both still singing in good numbers), Cedar Waxwings (several locations), Henslow's Sparrows (singing) and Indigo Buntings (a family group of several immatures). Glenn had a couple of great birds today - a singing Blue Grosbeak and a flyover Broad-winged Hawk. He also had a Ruby-throated Hummingbird in of all places, a corn field. Dave

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Marcia and Gail were out this morning and were also affected by the "dog days" phenomenon. Sedge Wrens are still spreading to new areas around the Lab as witnessed by their finding a Sedge Wren in their Main Injector location where they had not seen one previously this year. A couple of immature Bobolinks were also in this area. Also nearby was a nice group of Cedar Waxwings. Dickcissels are moving out of many areas, but they still had some inside the Main Ring. Also, Mark Donnelly found a Ruddy Duck in the Sea of Evanescence. This was a strange sighting - probably the same bird seen there several weeks ago. Dave

Sunday, August 2, 2015

It was a rather uneventful morning of birding at the Lab today. Again only one chick was seen popping up at Nest 2. The other nests were not visited. A number of Wood Ducks were seen in the Lakes Region including a female with five medium-sized chicks following behind. Several Green Herons were again also in the Lakes Region. The only other birds of interest were Caspian Terns, Sedge Wrens and Henslow's Sparrows. Dave

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