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March, 2014 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Another morning with a cool start, but minimal winds and bright sun warmed conditions rather quickly. One of our very first birds on Lake Law was a Horned Grebe (a first for the year). Another impressive list of waterfowl was found throughout the Lab including Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Mallard, Blue-Winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-Winged Teal, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser and Ruddy Duck. American Coots and Killdeer were present in a couple of locations. Another new year bird found was Eastern Phoebe. The Ed Center feeders were very quite except for several Rusty Blackbird nearby. A pair of American Kestrels were huddled together on the kestrel box near Batavia and Eola Road intersection. A Red-breasted Nuthatch was found at a village feeder and American Crows were found in a couple of locations. Many of the same birds were found by Al Stokie, while he added a Lesser Black-backed Gull on Casey's Pond. Dave

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Although still cool by seasonal standards, it was quite pleasant with light winds for a trip around the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes Region. The cooler temps closed up a good portion of the previously open waters of A.E. Sea, but the area still held a good number of waterfowl. Waterfowl of interest in the area were Wood Duck, Gadwall, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler and Northern Pintail. There were a fair number of sparrows in the area; most were American Tree Sparrows. There were also good numbers of Song Sparrows, several Fox Sparrows, some Dark-eyed Juncos, and a couple of Swamp Sparrows. Also found were American Coots, Common Grackles and Brown-headed Cowbirds. A couple of other woodlots contained large sized flocks of blackbirds. Both had good numbers of Rusty Blackbirds (one was mostly Rustys). Some of the other waterfowl found were Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, and Ruddy Duck. Other sightings of interest were several Turkey Vultures (again near Wilson Hall), Cooper's Hawk, Northern Flicker, American Crow, and Eastern Meadowlark. Finally, the female Great Horned Owl was still atop the lone active nest we've found this winter. Dave

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Again it was a cool morning for the season, but the real problem was the wind which made for uncomfortable conditions. An increased number of waterfowl were found throughout the Lab including Cackling Goose, Canada Goose, Gadwall, American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, and Ruddy Duck. The best bird of the morning was a late Northern Shrike (historically none have been seen after March until mid-October). Other birds of note were American Coot (in increased numbers), Horned Lark, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Eastern Bluebird. Yesterday Peter added some first-of-the-year birds including Wood Duck, Blue-winged Teal and a Thayer's Gull. Dave

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Temps were fairly mild with cloudy skies clearing throughout the morning. Best of all the winds were minimal. Although waterfowl were not my key target group for the morning, it's hard to be in the Lab and not come up with a respectable species list of these birds. Found throughout the Lab were Cackling Goose, Canada Goose, Gadwall, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser and Ruddy Duck. There has been an increasing number of waterfowl being found in A.E. Sea as it thaws. In addition, today there were American Coots, and several Killdeer there. A highlight of the day was watching a pair of American Crows fly overhead and into the Village with nesting material. Eastern Meadowlarks were singing in several areas and Horned Larks were still along several roads. About the only sighting of note in the Garden Club were a pair of Eastern Bluebirds. The woods were much more active than in the recent past. Both American Robin and Song Sparrow numbers were considerably increased from last week. Woodpeckers were quite active including several each Hairy Woodpeckers and Northern Flickers. Also found were a Great Horned Owl and about a half dozen Fox Sparrows. The female was still atop the lone Great Horned Owl nest. A very large flock of blackbirds, at the edge of one woodlot, contained Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, Brown-headed Cowbirds and a good number of Rusty Blackbirds. Finally, a number of high flying Sandhill Cranes were heard while several Turkey Vultures patrolled the lower elevations. Dave

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Marcia and Gail had three new year birds today including Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, and Sandhill Crane (flyovers). Peter may have had some sandhills last week during the warming trend that didn't get recorded. Dave

Sunday, March 16, 2014

It was quite cold this morning compared to the last several days. In addition, the windy conditions made for uncomfortable open-area birding. We came up with three new year birds among a mixed blackbird flock at the Roads and Grounds feeders. They were Rusty Blackbird, Common Grackle and Brown-headed Cowbird. The Ed Center bird feeders were fairly active with the expected late winter birds. The only bird of note was a Fox Sparrow. The bulk of the morning was spent checking the increasing amount of open water around the Lab. The impressive list of early spring waterfowl included Greater White-fronted Goose, Cackling Goose, Canada Goose, Gadwall, American Wigeon, American Black Duck (first ones seen since early January, thanks Joe), Mallard, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Redhead , Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser and Red-breasted Merganser (2-pair). Additional birds found were Great Blue Heron, American Coot, American Woodcock, Horned Lark and Eastern Meadowlark. Dave

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Gail and Marcia found a new waterfowl species for the year today, with a pair of Hooded Mergansers. Dave

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

It was a very pleasant morning for birding at Fermilab today being cloudy, warm and, best of all, calm. There was lots of waterfowl activity in the air around the Lab, both the local and long range type. As a result, any open water around the Lab held birds. Main Ring Lake held the most and best variety of birds including Greater White-fronted Goose (about a half dozen), Cackling Goose, Canada Goose, Mallard, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye and Common Merganser. Birds added from the Main Injector Moats were Canvasback, Redhead, Greater Scaup, and Red-breasted Merganser in addition to the American Coots that have been winter residents. Northern Pintails were added from A.E. Sea. The woods still show minimal activity. Found in addition to the typical woodpeckers, nuthatches, chickadees and starlings were (from several locations) a Great Horned Owl, Hairy Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers, and Song Sparrows on the fringes. Most of the sparrows found were around the feeders and these were just American Tree Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. American Crows were found on both the east and west sides of the Lab. New for the year were both Killdeer and Eastern Meadowlark. Finally, the only Great Horned Owl nest of the year is still occupied and, from her stature, it appears the young have hatched. Dave

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Today there was a cool start to a mostly sunny morning with a little warming during our stay. Another good mix of waterfowl was found on the open waters around the Lab. Many more birds were more evenly dispersed than on Thursday. Those found were Canada Goose, Gadwall, Mallard, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser and Red-breasted Merganser. Again, several American Coots were found in the Main Injector Moat. Horned Larks were still observed along several of the roadways. An American Crow was again found on the west side of the Lab, while both American Robins and Red-winged Blackbirds were more noticeable than on recent trips. Peter mentioned also having Greater White-fronted Geese and Green-winged Teal over the last several days. Dave

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The morning started out cool but warmed quickly under the bright sun. It didn't reach the average temperature for this date but was very pleasant anyway. I spent most of the time in the woods but did check most of the open bodies water before hand. Found were most of the typical recent species including Canada Geese, Mallard, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneye and Common Merganser. There were noticeably less birds than my last two visits. Several American Coots were also still around. Despite spending much time and trudging through snow up to my knees (in some locations) in various wood lots, there is not much to report. Many wood lots were quite quiet only having the typical winter and year-round residents. Of note were a Great Horned Owl, several Northern Flickers, and a couple of American Robins. Sparrows were very sparse. Seen along the roads were several small groups of Horned Larks, an American Crow, and a Red-winged Blackbird. The bird of the day was the first Long-eared Owl of the season followed shortly by a second Great Horned Owl. Dave

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The snow had ended this morning when we started out, but it was still cold enough to keep us out of the woods. As with much of the winter, our focus was waterfowl. The big miss of the morning was the lack of White-winged Scoters. We checked all of the open waters around the Lab. It's still possible we may have missed them, but they may have gone to the river. Hopefully, they will be back before heading to Lake Michigan, as it should start to thaw soon. Most of the other waterfowl found were some regulars over the last several weeks including Canada Geese, Gadwall, Mallards, Redhead, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, and Common Merganser. The total number of waterfowl was far less than what I witnessed on Thursday evening. This is a typical phenomena in the Lab, whereby many ducks return to the Lab's open waters from elsewhere to spend the night. American Coots were found among the waterfowl as were a couple of Herring Gulls. Several flocks of Horned Larks were found throughout the Lab ranging in size from less than ten to about forty. A Great Blue Heron was seen flying through the Lab's cold air. Finally, a lone American Kestrel, rare for this winter, was spotted atop a small tree looking somewhat like a shrike. Marcia and Gail added a Canvasback on Friday. Dave

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