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January, 2014 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Friday, January 31, 2014

Weather this morning at the Lab was very pleasant with mild temperatures (compared to recent visits) and very mild winds. With these conditions I was surprised to find very little passerine activity. The only passerines of note were Eastern Bluebird, Song Sparrow, Fox Sparrow and White-throated Sparrow. Waterfowl were similar to those found over the last few trips including Canada Geese, Trumpeter Swan, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Mallard, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead (Fem), Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser and a new arrival Greater Scaup. The American Coots are also still around. Northern Flickers were found in several locations; it's been a good year for them. Other birds of interest were a Great Blue Heron, a Northern Harrier (male), a couple of Great Horned Owls (including the first nest of the year), and a Barred Owl. Dave

Sunday, January 26, 2014

By the time we started this morning the snow had accumulated to approx. 3" and then stopped. Starting out quite cool, the temperatures increased to seasonable levels while the wind, as typical recently, increased. Most of the morning's highlights were waterfowl; almost all of these were found in the Main Injector Moats. The new bird for the year was Mute Swan (actually a couple of these have been around since Thursday). The other waterfowl found were Trumpeter Swan, Canada Goose, Gadwall, American Black Duck, Mallard, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead (Denis' class added this female), Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, and Red-breasted Merganser. The feeders had most of the typical winter birds including Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, American Tree Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Northern Cardinal, House Finch, American Goldfinch and House Sparrow. The only other bird of mention we had was a Northern Flicker. We failed in our searches for snipe, larks and longspurs. Denis later added American Coot, Rough-legged Hawk and Horned Lark. Dave

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The morning was pretty cold with moderate winds to start. As a result it took awhile for the birds to start any serious activity. Even the waterfowl in the open water areas were quite subdued. Found on the Main Injector Moats were the Trumpeter Swan, Canada Geese, a Gadwall, Redheads (over a dozen males and one female; very stiff competition there I think), a Ring-necked Duck, Common Goldeneyes, and Common Mergansers. Also, there were still at least two American Coots around. Later some woodlots inside the Ring area provided some activity with woodpeckers most noticeable. There were Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers and at least one Northern Flicker. There was one Great Horned Owl, but no nests have been found to date. I had several Song Sparrows and American Robins along with the other typical winter birds. A large flock of American Tree Sparrows (over 50) was found in the fields near Lake Logo; about the only birds I found active outside the woods. The feeders again had the typical winter mix of birds with the exception of a female Purple Finch by the Ed Center feeders. I think there was a male also, but it never returned for confirmation. In addition, a Purple Finch was reported at the Roads and Grounds feeders yesterday. Dave

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The morning started out quite cold and windy. Both temperature and wind increased throughout the morning to just about cancel each other out. Most open waters closed up to less than half the area that was available on Thursday. The swan and some of the other waterfowl found Thursday were not found. On the Main Injector Moats we found Canada Geese, Mallards, Common Goldeneye, Common Mergansers and the female Red-breasted Merganser. There were still 2 or 3 American Coots in the main moat as well. Feeders were moderately active but with only the typical winter birds. The only other interesting find was about 40 Horned Larks in the north roads area. Denis' class added a few birds also to the morning's list. First, the Gadwall was relocated. Then they had a Hairy Woodpecker, a Northern Harrier inside the Main Ring and finally a Bald Eagle flying over A.E. Sea. Dave

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Average temps with occasional light snow provided good birding conditions especially if you were out of the brisk winds. The Trumpeter Swan was back on the Main Injector Moat joined by Canada Geese, 2 Redheads, a Ring-necked Duck (both new for the year), Common Goldeneyes, Common Mergansers, a Red-breasted Merganser (female) and 3 American Coots. Other than the typical winter sparrows there were a number of Song Sparrows, a Swamp Sparrow (year's first) while Marcia and Gail added a White-throated Sparrow (another first for the year). Other birds of note were several Great Horned Owls, two Northern Flickers and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Today Marcia and Gail also added a Gadwall, Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle, and Horned Lark. Also, later last Sunday, Peter added the Lab's first American Crow. Dave

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Jan. 12, 2014 It was quite a mild, calm start for a January morning. The temperatures did rise from there but so did the wind. Waterfowl were found in Main Ring Lake and the Main Injector Moats. The birds found were Canada Goose, Gadwall, American Black Duck, Mallard, Common Goldeneye and Common Merganser. The swan was not found but the two American Coots found Thursday were still on the M I Moat. Raptors found were several Red-tailed Hawks and a Northern Harrier. The only sparrows found were American Tree Sparrows, Song Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. The other birds of note for a mid-winter morning were Great Blue Heron, Herring Gull, Great Horned Owl (pair near nest site), Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Horned Lark, and American Robin. Dave

Thursday, January 9, 2014

It was a great morning of birding today despite the still cold, but warming, temperatures. My first Fermi bird of the year was a Rough-legged Hawk which flew to and landed in the tallest tree on the west shore of Lake Law. Peter had already had a Rough-legged Hawk last week. Later, a Sharp-shinned Hawk flushed from the area of a small tree littered with what looked like junco feathers. Soon after an adult Bald Eagle flew over Dusaf Pond. As for waterfowl, the only open water was the Main Injector Moats. Looking for the swan in the main moat among the Canada Geese and Mallards, I found several each of Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. In addition, there were also a couple of American Coots in the moat. Later Gail came up with a female Red-breasted Merganser at this location. As I was about to give up on the swan, I saw it flying over the main moat, which is good news as this proves its ability to fly. NOTE: Recent photos show that the swan now in the Main Injector Moat is a Trumpeter Swan and not a Tundra Swan. We are trying to determine if this is the same bird we had in December from older pictures; most likely it is. At the time of the initial sighting and analysis there were thoughts that the swan may have been a hybrid of both species. Another very interesting sighting was a Yellow-rumped Warbler. This was probably one of the birds sighted during the Christmas Bird Count. Some of the other better birds found during the morning were Great Blue Heron, Great Horned Owl, Northern Flicker, Horned Lark, American Robin, Fox Sparrow and Song Sparrow. Dave It was very cold and windy for a late afternoon/evening trip to Fermi today with not much to show for my efforts. My main objective was to scout owls for this weekend's Christmas Bird Count. No Short-eared Owls were found but I did contact an Eastern Screech-Owl (under terrible conditions). I did locate a flock of about 15 Horned Larks but not the longspurs found yesterday. The only other bird of interest was a female Bufflehead on Andy's Pond with a large flock of Canada Geese. This morning Peter relocated the Trumpeter Swan along with a Ring-necked Duck on the Main Injector Moat. Dave

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