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March, 2015 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Another cool start to the morning with little improvement as the day progressed. The wind again was a major factor. The first bird of the morning was an immature Bald Eagle at the north end of Lake Law. There again appeared to be a dip in the quantity of waterfowl from a few days ago. The wind made it very uncomfortable to view birds on A.E. Sea and Lake Law, but we did manage Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Hooded Mergansers, Common Mergansers and Red-breasted Mergansers. Added inside the Ring area were Redhead, Common Goldeneye and Ruddy Duck. The bird of the day was a Common Loon spotted by Peter later on Lake Law. Some other birds found were Double-crested Cormorant, Green-winged Teal, American Kestrel, Great Horned Owl, Hairy Woodpecker, and Horned Lark. One of the more interesting sightings that I found later was a gimpy Sandhill Crane wading the north end of A.E. Sea. One of its legs appeared to be swollen at the joint causing it to limp as it walked then twitching this leg as if trying to shake free from something (possibly fish line). Dave

Friday, March 27, 2015

This morning Peter spotted the first Great Egret of the year at Swan Lake on his way to work. Sounds like there was still a good number of waterfowl around like Wednesday according to Glenn's Friday list with highlights of six Canvasbacks (again on A.E. Sea), more Greater Scaup (also on A.E. Sea) and several Red-breasted Mergansers (Lake Law). It appears Great Blue Herons are beginning to show up more regularly; Glenn had four today. Raptors were well represented with a Northern Harrier, American Kestrel and three Great Horned Owls including the female on the Buffalo Savanna nest. Dave

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

This morning it was cool, windy, and overcast with a touch of fog. Conditions did not improve throughout the morning mostly due to the wind. Lake Law had about 100 Common Mergansers, about 35 Ring-necked Ducks, 10-15 Hooded Mergansers, several Lesser Scaup and an American Coot. At the water inlet from Lake Law, A.E. Sea had a pair of Blue-winged Teal and a pair of American Black Ducks along with many Mallards. I had another pleasant hike in the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes Region. There was quite a bit of activity but again nothing remarkable. Additional waterfowl found in A.E. Sea included Gadwall and Greater Scaup. All these lakes were well above normal levels with Lake Law almost over its banks in the southeast corner and the Sea of Evanescence the highest I have ever seen it. Interestingly, Evanescence had large numbers of divers and just about no dabblers. Todays list increased by Bufflehead and Common Goldeneye here. Among the singing birds in the Sparrow Hedge were American Robins, Song Sparrows, Northern Cardinals, Red-winged Blackbirds and a lone Fox Sparrow. Some of the other birds found in the area were Hairy Woodpecker (pair in Owl Nest Woods), American Tree Sparrows (again large numbers at south end of A.E. Sea), Common Grackle (Pair), and a Brown-headed Cowbird. Main Ring Lake again had a low bird count but a Redhead added to the days waterfowl list. Several Horned Larks were nearby on Ring Road. Swenson Road horse paddock produced a male Green-winged Teal. As I approached Great Horned Owl nest 1 inside the Ring, the male flushed overhead while the female observed me from around her tail. Nothing new was found in the Injector Moats but a male American Kestrel was in the area. Indian Creek woods had several Wood Ducks, a flyover Rusty Blackbird and about ten low flying Sandhill Cranes. Glenn also added three Canvasbacks (A.E. Sea) and seven Ruddy Ducks to today's Waterfowl list. Dave

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Again it was a cool start to the morning but this time it did not warm up. As a matter of fact the wind seemed to make it cooler throughout the morning, depending upon your location. We were unpleasantly surprised to see the waterfowl numbers well down from recent visits even though all the waters of the Lab were now open. Dusaf provided Mallards, Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, and Green-winged Teal. At Lake Law we added Common Merganser and Hooded Merganser. As we viewed the sparse birds in Main Ring Lake, a juvenile Peregrine Falcon zoomed low across the lake from over our shoulders. It was difficult to follow, as falcons can be, but it was made more difficult by the background of trees on the opposite side of the lake. It then climbed and flew up and away from us to the west. The Main Injector Moat provided an American Coot and some additional divers including Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, and Bufflehead. The north end of A.E. Sea again had a large number of Mallards and a pair of both Wood Ducks and American Black Ducks. A pair of American Kestrels were observed going in and out of a kestrel box on the northern portion of the Main Injector Ring. This area also produced a flyby Sharp-shinned Hawk. Out of a fairly large flock of blackbirds far out in a field along East Wilson Rd., only Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles could be confirmed. Eastern Meadowlarks could also be heard nearby. Denis' group added some interesting birds including Double-crested Cormorant (new), Greater Scaup, Eastern Phoebe (new), American Crow, Tree Swallow (new), Brown Creeper, and Eastern Bluebird. Dave

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Glen came up with some good birds while we were away around the beginning of the month. Here's a list of the highlights. On Feb. 27th he had an immature Bald Eagle and on March 6th a Lapland Longspur. On Mar. 8th he had an impressive list with highlights including a Peregrine Falcon (Wilson Hall area), a couple of American Kestrels (Main Ring and Injector areas) and, in the Village, a Red-breasted Nuthatch, a Brown Creeper, Cedar Waxwings and Pine Siskins. Dave

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Another morning with freezing temps to start but warming rather quickly. The minimal wind and mostly sunny start helped matters. The north end of A.E. Sea was mostly open and contained the largest group of Mallards I have seen this year. The west side of Lake Law had a fair-sized opening and contained over 50 Common Mergansers. A walk around the Sparrow Hedge and Lakes area showed a fair amount of bird activity although nothing too exciting was found. Many Red-winged Blackbirds were singing to stake their claim to a territory. A small opening on A.E. Sea produced several Ring-necked Ducks and a couple of female Buffleheads. There was a good number of Song Sparrows along the route and at the south end of A.E. Sea there were several large groups of American Tree Sparrows. This area also had several very active Killdeer. The Sea of Evanescence still had a thin layer of ice cover and no birds. A couple of American Crows called as they flew over while American Robins were well represented here and elsewhere around the Lab. Main Ring Lake was about 3/4 open. Added here were Wood Ducks (new), Gadwall, Northern Shovelers (new), Green-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, Red-breasted Mergansers (new), Ruddy Ducks and American Coots. Redheads were added at the Main Injector Moat and Common Goldeneye were added at a very small opening in Casey's Pond. Another male Northern Harrier was hunting the unburned area of the Main Ring Prairie. All woodlots visited were still quiet except for the regular woodpeckers and nuthatches and several singing Northern Cardinals. Finally, both Great Horned Owl nests were still active with both females sitting quite high most likely indicating hatched young. Marcia and Gail had much the same to report. In addition, they found some Greater Scaup (new) and Hooded Mergansers. Other new additions were Eastern Meadowlark and American Woodcock (heard). Peter also heard one recently. Dave

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The morning started at just below freezing but soon warmed into the 50's. This combined with mostly sunny skies made for a pleasant morning. Even with the recent warm weather, most ponds and lakes remain just about completely frozen over. The open waters of Main Ring Lake and the Injector Moats, however, did produce a nice selection of waterfowl (mostly divers). Main Ring Lake produced Gadwall (new), Green-winged Teal (new), American Black Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Ruddy Duck (new), and American Coot (new). Added at the Main Injector Moat was Canvasback, Redhead and Ring-necked Duck. The first Eastern Bluebird of the year was found at the Buffalo Savanna while checking out the Great Horned Owl nest. The bird of the day was a nicely marked Rough-legged Hawk along East Wilson Rd. A Red-tailed Hawk was found working on a nest but, more interestingly, a pair of Cooper's Hawks were also working on a nest (which is quite early). A brief walk through the Big Woods only produced White-breasted Nuthatches and several common woodpeckers including a Hairy Woodpecker. Some other birds found during the morning were American Kestrels (2), Killdeer, Horned Larks, Red-winged Blackbirds (everywhere), Common Grackles (new), and Brown-headed Cowbirds (new). Denis' group added Cackling Goose (new), and Greater White-fronted Goose to the days list later in the day on Main Ring Lake. He also reported lots of Sandhill Crane flyovers. Dave

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The morning started out mildly cool but warmed quickly to above the normal range of temps. Mild winds and sunny skies added to the pleasant morning. Searching for the shrike near Lake Law was unsuccessful but a singing Northern Cardinal and several Red-winged Blackbirds (new) were found in its place. The recent mild temps still have not opened most of the lakes. All the waterfowl still remain in Main Ring Lake and the Injector Moats. Main Ring Lake, still with only a small open area, produced Common Goldeneye (75- 80), Common Mergansers (15-20), Lesser Scaup (new - about 20) and a fly-in Trumpeter Swan. Added at the Main Injector Moat were Canvasbacks (2), Redheads (about 12) and Ring-necked Ducks (12). In the Garden Club the House Sparrows were staking claims for openings in the bird houses. More singing Northern Cardinals were joined by several singing American Robins and a flyover Killdeer (new) also in the Garden Club. The woodlots are still not showing much activity except for more singing cardinals and a fair number of White- breasted Nuthatches. Some Horned Larks still are along the roads in a few areas. The Great Horned Owl nest inside the Main Ring is still active with the female quite alert while the male was nearby. The second Great Horned Owl nest of the year is the old standby inside the Buffalo Savanna. The owls have not used it for a few years. Sandhill Cranes were reported by a couple of the restoration volunteers over the last two days. Dave

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