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January, 2018 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The morning was beautiful being sunny, with minimal winds and temps several degrees above normal. Waterfowl became more diversified over the last couple of days. Found at Casey's Pond were Greater White-fronted Geese (2-first of the year), Canada Geese, Mallards, Common Goldeneyes, and Common Mergansers (over 100). Three species of gulls were also found here including Ring-billed Gulls (2-first of the year), Herring Gulls and a Thayer's Gull (first of the year). Additional waterfowl found inside the Main Ring were American Black Ducks, Northern Pintails (10), a Lesser Scaup (new for the year) and a Red-breasted Merganser (also first of the year). Other highlights of the morning were a Northern Harrier, a Northern Flicker, an American Kestrel, several American Crows and an Eastern Bluebird. Two more highlights greeted us in the village as we were about to leave the Lab. First, was a group of over a dozen Pine Siskins heard, then found moving from pine tree to pine tree. Second, were 2 or 3 Red-breasted Nuthatches found feeding off of pine cones at the base of one of the pine trees (great views). Dave

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Marcia, Gail and Glenn were all in the Lab this morning. Even though they reported fairly slow birding, they still came up with some good birds. They reported the same water birds as I had yesterday at Casey's Pond including Common Goldeneyes, Common Mergansers, a Great Blue Heron, and Herring Gulls (about the same quantity of 20-25 as yesterday). They also added American Black Ducks. Glenn also provided a picture of a Lesser Black-backed Gull which was taken at Casey's earlier in the week. The numbers of Canada Geese are on the rise with them reporting over 2000 around the Lab. Other bird highlights for the morning were a Bald Eagle, a Killdeer (first of the year), an American Kestrel, Horned Larks (only 4), and American Robins. Dave

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The temps (in the high 20's) were a little below average, but the mild winds kept the morning comfortable despite the occasional mist. Andy's Pond was open as was North Eola Road. Found there were a good number of Common Mergansers (about 50), several Common Goldeneyes, 20-25 Herring Gulls and a Great Blue Heron. The interesting sighting of the day occurred at the half-frozen Booster Ring Moat. A Red-tailed Hawk was found on the ice pecking and clawing at something, most likely a fish, frozen in the ice. After several unsuccessful minutes of work, the hawk gave up and flew off. Other sightings of interest were a Ring-necked Duck (first of year, Main Ring Lake), a Great Horned Owl, Horned Larks (only 3), Red-breasted Nuthatches, American Robins, Fox Sparrows (3-Ed Ctr. Feeders) and a White-crowned Sparrow (also at feeders). Dave

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The warmer temps and minimal wind did not produce many interesting birds, while the fog made it hard to ID any distant birds. Waterfowl were unchanged from Glenn's trip yesterday, although the number of Common Mergansers had clearly increased. Well, the seed experiment was not too effective, due to the Ag fields being mostly clear of snow allowing the birds to become well dispersed throughout the area. Only a small number of Horned Larks were found anywhere in the area. The only new birds of interest, for the weekend, were a Great Blue Heron, American Kestrels (3), Red-breasted Nuthatches, a White-throated Sparrow (at the feeders) and a Pine Siskin (heard in the Village). Dave

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Glenn was in this morning and did not report any changes in the Lab's waterfowl, with the same Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers found. The birds of the morning were Snow Buntings in the northern part of the Lab. Other finds of note were a Herring Gull, a Cooper's Hawk, a Hairy Woodpecker, Horned Larks and an American Crow. He placed some seed in the area of the Snow Bunting sightings to encourage them to stick around and maybe entice some other interesting ground feeders to the area. Dave

Friday, January 19, 2018

An abbreviated trip to the Lab this morning did not yield much of interest. The temps were much warmer than previous trips, but the winds were still quite strong. There was no change in waterfowl from Wednesday. The feeders were almost barren of birds, possibly a Cooper's Hawk visited the area just before my arrival. The first Long-eared Owl (inside the Main Ring) sighting of the year was the highlight of the morning. Other birds of note were a Herring Gull, a Hairy Woodpecker, American Kestrels (2) and Horned Larks (about 25 total). Dave

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

It was another cold morning in the Lab, starting out at around 0 deg. Again, as it slowly warmed, the wind increased to negate much increase in comfortability. The only waterfowl of interest were the regularly found Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. Sparrows made a good showing with 6 species including American Tree Sparrows, Fox Sparrows (3-Ed Ctr. Feeders), a Song Sparrow, a Swamp Sparrow (new for year), a White-crowned Sparrow (Ed Ctr. Feeders) and Dark-eyed Juncos. Other birds of note were a Great Blue Heron, a Cooper's Hawk (a small male, in the Village), Horned Larks (many locations, largest flock-40 plus) and Red-breasted Nuthatches. Dave

Sunday, January 14, 2018

With this morning's return of the cold temps (3 deg. to start), the bird activity and availability were again significantly reduced. None of the good birds found during the middle-of-the-week warm-up were found. As a matter of fact, as far as water birds go, the recently, regular coot was not to be found. The birds of interest were basically a one-liner. Those found were an American Crow, Horned Larks (several at the Buffalo Feeders) and Red-breasted Nuthatches (2-3). Dave

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Glenn made a two-part trip to the Lab this morning. The early fog and steady drizzle made him decide to go to breakfast after his initial visit, then return later to complete the morning. He did relocate the Tundra Swan, which appears to be moving around the Lab's open waters lately. His other waterfowl were the same as was found over the last week except for a Cackling Goose (possibly 2-3) which was new for the year. He did quite well with ground dwelling passerines including Horned Larks (9), Lapland Longspurs (3-another new one for the year) and Snow Buntings (6). These were all found in the north part of the Lab, sometimes associated with numbers of American Tree Sparrows. The highlights of his other bird finds were a Great Blue Heron and a Northern Harrier. Peter did a circuit of the Main Ring this morning also and added a Ross's Goose (new for the year, with only one sighting all of last year.) He also spotted a Northern Shrike. Dave

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Marcia and Gail experienced warmer temps this morning, but misty fog surely reduced visibility. Waterfowl were the same as Glenn witnessed yesterday, with a Tundra Swan, Common Goldeneyes, and Common Mergansers. Most likely the same American Coot was also found in the Injector Moat. Along with 35 Horned Larks, they found the first Snow Buntings (3) of the year in the northern portion of the Lab. Peter also reported finding Snow Buntings and an American Kestrel in the same area. He also added the first Cooper's Hawk of the year at the Ed Ctr. Feeders. Dave

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Glenn was in the Lab this morning but, despite the warm temps, his birding was hindered somewhat by the fog. Most of the Lab's waters were still covered by ice, still limiting the variety of waterfowl. He still came up with a number of very good birds, including 9 new species for the year. The new species found for the year were a Tundra Swan, Great Blue Herons (2), a Herring Gull, an American Kestrel, American Crows (3), a Northern Shrike, a Brown Creeper, American Robins and a White-crowned Sparrow. Other birds of interest were an American Black Duck, Common Goldeneyes (92), Common Mergansers (12), an American Coot, Red-breasted Nuthatches (9) and a Song Sparrow. I made an afternoon trip to the Lab that also produced some interesting results. I'm sure the warmer temps were a major factor in the much-increased bird activity from my last visits. Waterfowl of note were Common Goldeneye (60-70), Common Mergansers (about 20) and a Green-winged Teal (new for year). Other new birds for the year were a Great Horned Owl, a Belted Kingfisher and a Northern Flicker. Other birds of note were an American Coot, Horned Larks, American Crows, American Robins (15-20) and 2 Fox Sparrows (Ed Ctr. Feeders). Except for the Fox Sparrows, all other birds were found in the Ring areas. Dave

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Both the morning temps and winds ranged between the high teens to the low 20's today. This time it was the strong winds that seemed to suppress much of the bird activity. Waterfowl were unchanged from Thursday. Of interest were an American Black Duck (new/year,) Common Goldeneyes (around 20) and Common Mergansers (1 pr.). Other new birds for the year were an adult Bald Eagle (bird of the day), Red-tailed Hawks, an American Coot, Rock Pigeons, a Red-breasted Nuthatch, and a White-throated Sparrow (Ed. Ctr. Feeders). Also of note were Horned Larks (around 50 total found in several locations) and a Fox Sparrow (again at feeders). Dave

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Even with a later than normal start, the extremely cold temps (still below 0 at the time) kept bird activity suppressed. The birding activity did pick up but without any significant finds. Waterfowl diversity was again poor with only Canada Geese (400- 500), Mallards (about 50), Common Goldeneye (15-20) and Common Mergansers (1) found. The diminishing open water, no doubt, is the major cause for this reduction in numbers and diversity. Other than the Fox Sparrow found at the Ed Center Feeders, other sparrows found were the expected American Tree Sparrows, a Song Sparrow and Dark-eyed Juncos. Horned Larks (20-25) were found in small groups along the Northern Roads. Finally, only the common and expected birds were found including Mourning Doves, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, a Hairy Woodpecker, Blue Jays, Black-capped Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches, an European Starling, Northern Cardinals, House Finches, an American Goldfinch and House Sparrows. I only mention most of these common species because they are the first entries for the species this year. Dave

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