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March, 2017 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Monday, March 27, 2017

During a short trip to the Lab today Denis added a Great Egret and a Field Sparrow (new for year) to the week's survey list. Dave

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Despite the on-again off-again rain during the morning we came up with some pretty good birds. Peter started a little early and relocated the Loon on Lake Law. Before the rain chased us away, we found Northern Shovelers, Hooded Mergansers, Common Mergansers, Red-breasted Mergansers and a Pied-billed Grebe. Inside the Main Ring we added Wood Ducks, Gadwall, Blue-winged Teal, Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Ruddy Ducks and American Coots. At one point, a dripping wet Northern Flicker looked down on us as we scanned Lake Logo. Our first highlight was finding an Osprey (ties the Lab's earliest sighting) near Nest 1. Then a little later we found both Osprey's atop Nest 1. At A.E. Sea, Green-winged Teal , Pectoral Sandpiper (2) and a Wilson's Snipe were added to our list. On our return to Lake Law, Denis pointed out a couple of Bonaparte's Gull (new for year, our second highlight of the morning) flying over the lake. Other birds found there were a Cooper's Hawk, a Horned Grebe and a group of Double-crested Cormorants (new). A few other birds of interest were American Kestrels (3), Tree Swallows, Golden-crowned Kinglets and a Fox Sparrow. In the interesting mammal department, we found a pair of Beavers and a Mink along the Main Ring Moat. Dave

Friday, March 24, 2017

The morning was warm, partly cloudy and very windy with considerable gusts. The southerly winds over the last day or so brought a wave of new birds and the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes Region was alive with activity. Song Sparrows in particular were singing constantly here and everywhere else in the Lab. The third bird of the morning was the bird of the day, a Common Loon (first of year) on Lake Law. The pair of Village Sandhill Cranes were again at the north end of A.E. Sea. The highlights of an extensive list of birds in the area were Gadwall, Blue-winged Teal (new-year), Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Common Mergansers, Great Blue Herons, American Coots, a Lesser Yellowlegs (new-A.E. Sea), 2 Pectoral Sandpipers (new-A.E. Sea), an American Crow (calling for 10-15 min), Golden-crowned Kinglets (new-many throughout Lab), Eastern Bluebirds, Fox Sparrows (quite a few here and others throughout the Lab), a Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrows (a couple groups) and Common Grackles. Found in the Big Woods were several flyover Turkey Vultures, a pair of Great Horned Owls and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (new). Found in the area of the Main Ring were American Wigeons, Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead (pr.), Ruddy Ducks, a Pied-billed Grebe, Wilson's Snipe, American Woodcocks (new), a Hairy Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebes (new), Tree Swallows (on nest box) and Rusty Blackbirds (new, but quite late). Denis was also in and added a Horned Grebe for the morning. Glenn was in the Lab this evening to lead a Woodcock Trip, but soon after they started the bottom fell out on the temperature scale (in a matter of minutes the temp dropped 20 deg and continued to drop during the outing). They did find 5 American Woodcock displaying in the interpretive prairie near The Big Woods. Besides finding many of the birds found in the morning, a couple of common misses from the morning were added for the week. The Buffalo Wallow produced a couple of Wilson's Snipe and a good number of Pectoral Sandpipers (8). They also had a bonus, hooting Barred Owl to round out the evening. Dave

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Birding today started with mostly sunny skies, mild winds and temps in the low 30's, but warmed steadily. Several Great Blue Herons were found around Lake Law. These were the first found in over 3 weeks. Lake Law also produced Gadwall, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, Hooded Mergansers, Common Mergansers, Red-breasted Mergansers (firsts of the year spotted by Denis) and a Horned Grebe. We also had a pair of Sandhill Cranes fly over L.Law. To round out the morning's waterfowl we had an American Wigeon, Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks and Common Goldeneye inside the Main Ring. Other highlights of the morning were a Cooper's Hawk (Big Woods), American Coots, American Crows, a Brown Creeper, and Eastern Bluebirds. Glenn was in early and heard a Barred Owl calling for the first contact with this species for the year. Sounds like he spent most of the day birding the Lab and had an impressive total of 63 species for the day. Some of the birds of interest he added to the day's tally were a Wood Duck, Bufflehead (2), a Pied-billed Grebe, a Turkey Vulture (Main Ring), two Northern Harriers (1-near Casey's Pond and 1-along Eola Rd), American Woodcocks (3-Big Woods, new for year), a Great Horned Owl (B.Woods), Hairy Woodpeckers (2), an American Kestrel, a Northern Shrike (a late one in M.Ring), Horned Larks, 2 Hermit Thrushes (Sparrow Hedge-first of the year), also in the S.Hedge a first of the year Brown Thrasher (both were early arrivals), Fox Sparrows, a White-throated Sparrow, Swamp Sparrows (3-A.E. Sea), Common Grackles, Brown-headed Cowbirds and a Purple Finch (S.Hedge). Dave

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The morning started out quite cold, in the high teens, but the sunny skies and minimal winds allowed for reasonable warming throughout the day. Early in the morning A.E. Sea was ice covered while Lake Law was about 90 percent open. The scattered openings in L.Law provided both a good mix and quantity of birds. Found there were Canada Geese, Gadwall, Mallards, Northern Shovelers (most numerous species), Green-winged Teal, Redheads, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Mergansers, Hooded Mergansers and, the bird of the day, a Horned Grebe. Waterfowl found elsewhere in the Lab were American Black Ducks, Wood Ducks, a Canvasback, Ring-necked Ducks, Common Goldeneye and Ruddy Ducks. As the girls showed yesterday, there are quite a few Song Sparrows around, but I also ran into a flock of over a dozen Fox Sparrows near the Ed Center. The expected sparrows found included American Tree Sparrows, a Swamp Sparrow and Dark-eyed Juncos. Other highlights were a Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk (brooding on a nest in the Buffalo Savannah), American Coots, an American Kestrel (across from the Buffalo Barn), Hairy Woodpeckers, American Crows, Horned Larks, Eastern Meadowlarks (again with subdued activity in the cold), a Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbirds and a couple of American Goldfinches. Though I missed them, the pair of Sandhill Cranes were again hanging around the East Entrance. Dave

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Marcia and Gail were out this morning in the Lab monitoring in cold but sunny conditions. In their usual territory (in the area of the Rings) they found a large number of waterfowl. Included in their finds were Canada Geese, Wood Ducks (11), Gadwall, Mallards, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal (2), Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead (2), Common Goldeneye (6), Hooded Mergansers (12), Common Mergansers and Ruddy Ducks. Other birds of interest were American Coots, a Blue Jay, American Crows (2), Horned Larks (12) and Song Sparrows (9). Their bird of the day was a full adult Bald Eagle found in the Betz Prairie area. Dave

Sunday, March 12, 2017

It was cold, starting at about 18 degrees. Birding was considerably more pleasant, however, because of the minimal winds unlike other recent visits. A.E. Sea and DUSAF were almost totally ice covered. Lake Law, on the other hand, being mostly open, did provide some good waterfowl. Birds found on L. Law were Canada Geese, Gadwall, Mallards, Northern Shovelers, a Northern Pintail (found later in the morning), Green-winged Teal, Common Mergansers, a Hooded Merganser (fem. - there were others elsewhere) and Ruddy Ducks. There was an increasing number of both Ring-billed Gulls and Herring Gulls on the ice covered portion of the lake. Other birds of note in the area were several flyover Sandhill Cranes (6-7), an American Coot (a large number were also found inside the Main Ring), American Crows and a Common Grackle. Other waterfowl found around the Lab were several Wood Ducks (first-of-the-year birds on Swan Lake),an American Black Duck, Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Buffleheads and Common Goldeneye. Though not very active nor in large numbers, several sparrow species were found including American Tree Sparrows, Song Sparrows, a White-throated Sparrow, a White-crowned Sparrow and a Dark-eyed Junco. Other birds of mention during our morning were a Pied-billed Grebe, Northern Harriers (2-males in Main Ring), a Great Horned Owl, an Eastern Bluebird, Horned Larks and Eastern Meadowlarks (only a very few were singing due to the cold conditions). Later in the day Glenn was in the Lab and had many of the same birds as were found in the morning, but also added several birds needed for the week's list. Those additions were a Turkey Vulture (around Wilson Hall), an American Kestrel (Main Ring), a Swamp Sparrow and American Goldfinches. Dave

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

By far, today's winds were the strongest I have experienced in the Lab for some time and they had a considerable affect on the birds. How windy was it? Windy enough to blow down the new Chimney Swift tower between A.E. Sea and Lake Law. Luckily, the bright sunny skies and mild temps made the birding a little more tolerable. A.E. Sea still had Northern Shovelers (100 plus) and Green-winged Teal (about 100) plus a bonus pair of Tundra Swans (first of the year). On a very choppy Lake Law only Common Mergansers could be found. Added at DUSAF Pond were Gadwall and American Wigeons. Both Song Sparrows and Swamp Sparrows were found around A.E. Sea with a Fox Sparrow added in Main Ring Woods. Other waterfowl found inside the Main Ring were Redhead, Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, a pair of Bufflehead (new for year, kind of late), Common Goldeneye, Hooded Mergansers and Ruddy Ducks. Marcia and Gail, also covering the Ring area, recorded most of these. They also added a Cooper's Hawk which was needed for the week. Walking several wetland areas produced only a couple of Wilson's Snipe, I expected many more. Other birds of note were an American Kestrel (fighting frantically to stay on top of the kestrel box at Batavia and Eola), a Hairy Woodpecker, a Northern Flicker, Horned Larks and only 3 or 4 Eastern Meadowlarks (others were surely suppressed by the wind). Lastly, upon arriving the girls also spotted the pair of Sandhill Cranes near the east entrance. Peter added a Turkey Vulture to round out the day. Dave

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Wind, again this morning, was a major factor in the bird activity and thus the birding. The temps were mild but the overcast skies and wind made it somewhat uncomfortable. We did, however, find 3 new year birds despite the wind. First we had a Horned Grebe (Lake Law - tied with earliest prior sightings). Next we had a Tree Swallow (over Lake Logo - one week ahead of its earliest sighting) and finally a Great Egret (flying high over Lake Law - 2 weeks ahead of its earliest sighting). Other waterfowl found on Lake Law or A.E. Sea were Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Hooded Mergansers and Common Mergansers. Several other waterfowl were found, mostly in the Main Ring's waters, including Gadwall, American Black Ducks, Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneyes and Ruddy Ducks. A few of the other birds of interest were a nice male Northern Harrier, an American Kestrel, a Northern Flicker, Horned Larks, Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Meadowlarks, and Common Grackles. Dave

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The morning varied between cloudy and partly cloudy with periodic snow showers and temps just below freezing. A.E. Sea was mostly open but not with a lot of activity. Found there were Gadwall, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Common Mergansers and a pair of Sandhill Cranes on the far north end. Lake Law only added Hooded Mergansers to the list. Waterfowl found in the Ring areas were American Wigeon (first of the year), Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneye, and Ruddy Ducks. Most of the Sparrow activity was due to several nice sized flocks of American Tree Sparrows. Others sparrows found were Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos and a Fox Sparrow. The bird of the day was a Northern Shrike found inside the Main Ring. Other interesting finds were a Northern Harrier, an American Kestrel, American Coots, Killdeer (not as prevalent as in last week's warmth), a pair of Great Horned Owls, Blue Jays, Horned Larks, Cedar Waxwings (a flock of 50 or more birds feeding on berries-North Roads), Eastern Meadowlarks and Brown-headed Cowbirds. Dave

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