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January, 2017 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Sunday, January 29, 2017

It was cool with occasional flurries again this morning, while the NW wind made it feel quite uncomfortable. Several Cackling Geese were mixed in with a good number of Canada Geese on A.E. Sea. Main Ring Lake area produced at least 1 Greater White-fronted Goose, the first American Coots (2) of the year and an American Crow. Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers were found in open waters throughout the Lab. A Pied-billed Grebe (first of the year) along with a Canvasback, Ring-necked Ducks (pr), and a Lesser Scaup were found in the Main Injector Moat. Nothing special was found at the Ed Center Feeders while at the Roads and Grounds Feeders we found a White-throated Sparrow, a couple of White-crowned Sparrows and an American Goldfinch among others. Other highlights of the morning were Great Blue Herons (2), American Kestrels (2), a Belted Kingfisher (possibly 2) and a Song Sparrow. Dave

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The morning started out cool and cloudy with a mild breeze. The wind increased steadily throughout the morning with occasional snow flurries. A.E. Sea was mostly about geese having Greater White-fronted Geese (over 25), Canada Geese (several hundred) and a few Cackling Geese (2-3). At least 2 of the Green-winged Teal were also back. In the meantime, Lake Law was totally devoid of any birds. Found in other areas of the Lab and rounding out a very good waterfowl morning were American Black Ducks (pr.), Mallards, a Canvasback, Ring-necked Ducks (3), a Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneyes (about a dozen) and Common Mergansers (about 50). A large flock of House Sparrows (over 50) caught my ear just north of the east entrance. In an Ag field,just behind the bushes where the sparrows were found, was a flock of European Starlings and at least 1 male Red-winged Blackbird (first of the year). A flock of over 30 Cedar Waxwings, first of the year, were found eating snow off tree branches near the entrance to the Garden Club. Other highlights of the morning were a Bald Eagle, a Belted Kingfisher, a Northern Shrike, American Robins, American Tree Sparrows, a Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrows (2), a White-crowned Sparrow and Dark-eyed Juncos. Dave

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Marcia was out in the Lab this morning monitoring and found 22 species, a very good start to week 4 of our new survey period. She had the Adult Bald Eagle that Glenn found last week in the same area of Main Ring Lake. The Belted Kingfisher was again found in the Main Injector area. Also located was the American Kestrel near the Bison Barn. Her other highlights were a Common Goldeneye, Common Mergansers (65), a Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gulls, Blue Jays (2), American Tree Sparrows, a White-throated Sparrow, a Song Sparrow and an American Goldfinch. Dave

Sunday, January 22, 2017

It was quite foggy to start, but this cleared out rather quickly. Then the above average temps, overcast skies and windless conditions produced a very rewarding morning of birding. A.E. Sea had only several hundred Canada Geese while Lake Law had about 60 Common Mergansers and 3 Common Goldeneye. There was a lot of open water around the Lab with more mergansers and goldeneyes being the most common finds, but the Injector moats added a nice male Canvasback, a Ring-necked Duck and a Lesser Scaup. The Ed Center Feeders were quite active, but the only bird of note was an adult White-crowned Sparrow. This activity was interrupted when all the birds scattered as a Cooper's Hawk swooped down but was too late for breakfast. Other highlights spread throughout the Lab were a Great Blue Heron, an American Kestrel, a Great Horned Owl, a Long-eared Owl, a Belted Kingfisher (Main Injector), Hairy Woodpeckers, a Northern Shrike (Main Ring), Blue Jays (active in several locations) American Robins (active in several locations), a Song Sparrow and several American Goldfinches (Roads and Grounds Feeders). At the end of last week Glenn added 2 new year birds: a Bald Eagle hunting over Lake Law and a Cackling Goose in Main Ring Lake. In addition, he found 2 Wilson's Snipe in the Main Ring that were needed for the week. Dave

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

March-like weather in January produced only fair birding with no exciting finds. A fog existed throughout the morning with an occasional light mist and temps in the mid 30's. A now larger area of open water at A. E. Sea produced only Canada Geese (about 80). Lake Law had about 30 Common Mergansers and a Common Goldeneye in addition to a Ring-billed Gull and a couple of Herring Gulls. Other birds in these areas were an American Crow, a Swamp Sparrow and American Tree Sparrows. A small number of highlights were found elsewhere throughout the Lab including an American Black Duck, several Hairy Woodpeckers, a flock of American Robins (20 plus) and a couple of American Goldfinches (only my first of the year). Marcia and Gail were in the Lab late in the afternoon and had several more interesting birds during their visit in addition to many of the same expected species I found in the morning. They relocated the Belted Kingfisher in the Main Injector area and also added a Great Blue Heron, an American Kestrel and a White-crowned Sparrow. They were also privy to some of the returning Common Mergansers (212) and Common Goldeneye (24) which usually spend the night in the Lab's open waters. Dave

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The weather this morning was very good being overcast, calm and cool but warming to about freezing (32 deg) by the time we left the Lab. Bird activity was at a minimum throughout most of the Lab. The still open patches of water did not produce much. A.E Sea had the same 4 Green-winged Teal and nothing else. The only other waterfowl of note were small numbers of Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers found throughout the Lab's open waters. Even the still fairly full feeders showed minimal activity and nothing out of the ordinary. Some of the birds of note were an American Kestrel, a Hairy Woodpecker and an American Robin. The two highlights of the morning were a rarely seen (over the last several years) Belted Kingfisher and a first of the year, Northern Shrike found by Joe. Dav

Thursday, January 12, 2017

It was cool (mid 20's) and overcast but pleasant enough for a mid-winter morning of birding. A sliver of open water on the north end of A.E. Sea held about two dozen Canada Geese and 4 Green-winged Teal (probably the same ones seen there on New Year's Day). A fairly large patch of open water on Lake Law contained several Common Mergansers and a Common Goldeneye. Also found in the area were an American Crow, a Swamp Sparrow and several Downy Woodpeckers (7 or 8 in the cattails). The Ed Center Feeders were very active with lots of Dark-eyed Juncos and more Black-capped Chickadees than I have seen together in quite awhile (15-20). Other birds of note at the feeders were a Red-bellied Woodpecker, a Fox Sparrow and American Tree Sparrows. A mammal of note there was a Gray Squirrel, popping its head out of the top fill hole of one of the feeders, watching me while I watched the birds. Other birds found around the Lab today were a pair of American Black Ducks, a Great Blue Heron, a Northern Harrier (hunting inside the Main Ring), Hairy Woodpeckers (Big Woods), a Blue Jay, Horned Larks (Bison Feeders), a White-throated Sparrow and House Finches. Marcia and Gail were in the Lab a little later in the morning. They added several birds for the new period's week totals including a Cooper's Hawk, Rock Pigeon (yes, I missed this one), an American Kestrel, a White-crowned Sparrow and an American Goldfinch (What has happened to this species lately, their numbers are way down in the Lab?). They also found a second Northern Harrier. Dave

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The wind and rain this afternoon did not leave many birding opportunities during a short trip to the Lab. Actually, the highlight of my stay was watching an opossum feeding on seed under the Roads and Grounds Feeders. The only birds worth mentioning were over 200 Common Merganser and several Common Goldeneye in a fairly large opening in Main Ring Lake. Also, the Lesser Scaup still is in the Main Injector Moat. Dave

Sunday, January 8, 2017

It was very cold to start the morning with little warmth added during our stay. The birding was quite unremarkable with no exciting finds to be had. Our highlights were a Lesser Scaup, several Common Goldeneyes, several Common Mergansers, a Hairy Woodpecker (feeders), a Horned Lark (one or more heard in a bare Ag field), a flyover American Robin and a White-throated Sparrow (feeders). Dave

Friday, January 6, 2017

Glenn was in the Lab yesterday and today. He did well with raptors finding 3 Northern Harriers, several Red-tailed Hawks, an American Kestrel and 6 Great Horned Owls. Waterfowl highlights he found were American Black Ducks, a Ring-necked Duck, a Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. Dave

Thursday, January 5, 2017

It was very cold to start and, although the temps increased throughout the morning, the winds which started by mid morning made conditions even less desirable. Also, the sun came and went during the morning. Just about everything except Main Injector Moats are again frozen over. The cold and later wind did limit bird activity. The feeders were quite active. Beyond the expected winter birds, the highlight birds were a Northern Flicker, Fox Sparrows (3), White-throated Sparrows (2) and White-crowned Sparrows (2). Interesting waterfowl found in the Main Injector Moats were a Lesser Scaup and several each Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. Other birds of note for the morning were Herring Gulls, Great Horned Owls (2-Big Woods), Hairy Woodpeckers (Big Woods), Blue Jays and several Horned Larks (Bison Feeder area). The most interesting experience for the morning occurred at the feeders. It started last week while I was filling them. I noticed a couple of the bulbous hoppers atop the feeders had gnaw marks from squirrels around the top opening. Sunday I put clamps on the covers over these openings. When I pulled down one of the feeders today, I noticed it being a little on the heavy side. I looked inside and saw a bunch of fur. Tipping the feeder over thinking the critter (squirrel) would crawl out did not produce any movement. In the end I had to take the feeder apart and have a short ceremony. Dave

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Peter reported sighting a Belted Kingfisher along the west side Main Injector Moat this morning. Dave

Monday, January 2, 2017

Denis was in the Lab this morning and added some birds to list of those found yesterday. In addition to finding many of the same birds found on Sunday he added a Northern Harrier, a Wilson's Snipe, Rock Pigeons, Horned Larks, a Song Sparrow, a White-throated Sparrow and a White-crowned Sparrow. Dave

Sunday, January 1, 2017

It was quite cool to start (low 20's) but the sun was bright and the winds calm. This combination provided some good birding and a substantial list of birds to start 2017 and a new 5 year Survey Period for the Fermilab Bird List. First we filled and checked the Ed Center Feeders finding Mourning Doves, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpeckers, a Hairy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches, a Brown Creeper, Dark-eyed Juncos and Northern Cardinals. There was still a sizable opening in A.E. Sea. There we found several hundred Canada Geese and 4 Green-winged Teal (only the second January sighting in the Lab). Waterfowl found in the Main Injector Moats were a Ring-neck Duck, a Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. Other birds found in other areas throughout the Lab were American Black Ducks, Mallards, a Great Blue Heron, a Cooper's Hawk, Red-tailed Hawks, an American Kestrel, Herring Gulls, a Northern Flicker, Eastern Bluebirds (about 6), American Robins, European Starlings, American Tree Sparrows (very few), House Finches and House Sparrows. Gail was also in the Lab today and, in addition to many of the birds above, she added a Northern Pintail, an American Crow and American Goldfinches. All in all this was a very good start to Fermilab's 7th, 5-year Bird Survey Period. Dave

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