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May, 2015 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Sunday, May 31, 2015

It was a fairly crummy day for birding with gray skies, cold temps and substantial winds keeping many of the birds down. There were not many singing birds today. The bird of the day was probably the fleeting look at an American Woodcock flushing from one of the paths in the Sparrow Hedge area. Lake law provided some activity with a flyover Caspian Tern and five of our six swallows including Tree Swallows, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Bank Swallows, Cliff Swallows and Barn Swallows. The only migrants found were a couple of late Tennessee Warblers, one in the Sparrow Hedge area. There were no visible changes in the Osprey status or population today. The only other sightings of mention were American Coots (3-A.E.Sea), Warbling Vireos, a possible pair of Green Herons (probably the one's the girls have been monitoring), several Cedar Waxwings and Dickcissels (one of few actively singing birds in good numbers). Peter also reported a Connecticut Warbler last week. Dave

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Unlike the windy, few mosquito-day the girls experienced yesterday, there was little wind early and lots of mosquitoes today. Other than that it was a pleasant morning. Blue-winged Teal are still in the Lakes Region and Wood Ducks in some wet woodlands. The Sparrow Hedge area had both an Alder Flycatcher and a Bell's Vireo singing, Chimney Swifts overhead and a flyby Caspian Tern. Osprey Nests 1 and 2 are still status quo, but it looked like chicks were being fed on Nest 1 from a distance at one point in the morning. Nest 3 is progressing quite well; the Osprey's were bringing in nesting materials both times I passed it. Other birds found were Pied-billed Grebe (singing again at Lake Logo), American Crow, Marsh Wrens (the most I've witnessed in years at several locations), Cedar Waxwings, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Dickcissels (after the girls first sighting yesterday, they're everywhere). Lastly, Ryan Campbell found a Red-headed Woodpecker in the Big Woods. Dave

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Marcia and Gail were out this morning, again wind being a factor (although they said, "the wind did keep the mosquitoes down). They think they're onto a couple of nesting species namely Green Herons and Spotted Sandpipers (the sandpipers had nested in the area previously, hopefully their back). They did come up with a couple of new year birds including a Wood Thrush and Dickcissel. Other birds of interest were another Turkey Vulture, several flycatchers (including Eastern Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher and Eastern Kingbird), a couple of Warbling Vireos and several Dickcissels. Dave

Monday, May 25, 2015

Denis was out this morning in the wind and rain, which did affect the birds. First of all he had an immature Bald Eagle flying over the south end of A.E. Sea. He was amazed at the third Osprey nest, especially being so close to Nest 1. Other birds he found during the morning were Wood Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Hooded Merganser, American Kestrel, Caspian Tern, Bell's Vireo (singing-Sparrow Hedge area), Horned Lark and Orchard Oriole. Dave

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The morning was quite pleasant (except for the gnats and mosquitoes) with warm temps, a slight breeze, overcast skies and occasional sprinkles. Peter had a couple of Caspian Terns over A.E. Sea. All our other birding was done in out-of -the-way locations with not a lot to show for our efforts. Some of the interesting finds were Green Heron, Spotted Sandpiper, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Great Crested Flycatcher (several locations - good showing for them this year), American Crow (again they seem sparse), Cedar Waxwing, Scarlet Tanager and Orchard Oriole (a pair performing mating displays). Again, the highlight was the activity at Osprey Nest 3 near the Main Injector. The nest has more than tripled in size since Friday. It's amazing how quickly the process has progressed in such a short time. On top of this we witnessed copulation by this pair a short distance from the nest. Lastly, one of the guards reported a Bald Eagle last week. Glenn led a bird walk in the eastern Lab area some of the highlights and birds not seen during the week were as follows. A female Hooded Merganser on Lake Law (curious if this is one of the 3 I had earlier in the week with ducklings) and 2 American Coots in A.E. Sea. A new for the year Yellow-bellied Flycatcher along with both Alder Flycatchers and Willow Flycatchers, Bell's Vireos and an American Redstart in the Sparrow Hedge Area. Finally, there were 11 Turkey Vultures (a high for the year) roosting on Wilson Hall. Dave

Friday, May 22, 2015

The weather was great for monitoring grassland birds this morning. It was sunny and mild with minimal wind. First of all the big news of the day was that there is now a third nesting pair of Osprey in the Lab. The nest is now under construction on the north end of the Main Injector Ring. I had seen an Osprey on this particular power pole on Tuesday. It remained on this pole for over half an hour during the time I was in the area. Initially I thought it was the male bird from the Main Injector Nest 1 since the pole is only about one third of a mile from Nest 1. In the same area this morning an Osprey flew overhead with a good size stick. Sure enough it flew to this same pole where its mate was waiting to put it into place in the starter nest. Earlier in the morning, during the monitoring session, the only key grassland species found were a sparse number of Henslow's Sparrows (4) and a good showing of Bobolinks (49). The other highlight of the morning was finding three female Hooded Mergansers with five chicks in the same wooded pond on the west side where they had been observed for the last several weeks. Some of the other birds of interest for the morning were Great Horned Owl, Alder Flycatcher (singing-Spr. Hedge), Bell's Vireo (singing-Spr. Hedge), Horned Lark, Sedge Wren, Marsh Wren, Cedar Waxwing, Orange-crowned Warbler (new-only migrant warbler found), Vesper Sparrow, and Swamp Sparrows (again singing A.E. Sea). Dave

Thursday, May 21, 2015

First of all, Marcia and Gail were out yesterday Wed. May 20 to do their regular monitoring. Their highlight was a very late Wilson's Snipe. The only migrant warbler they found was a Tennessee Warbler. Other birds of note were Green Heron (2), more Cedar Waxwings, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Bobolinks, and an Orchard Oriole. They also reported that the female American Kestrel was now outside the nest box near the security office. Today Glenn was in for a short time and reported a singing male Blue Grosbeak in the Sparrow Hedge area. He also found a Purple Finch, the only swallow I missed on Tuesday. He had a Lesser Yellowlegs at Dusaf and again the only warbler he reported was a Tennessee Warbler. Mark Donnelly reported hearing a Black-billed Cuckoo and got a call on his Dragonfly video. Dave

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The morning was cool and overcast with a substantial wind. There was a fair number of Swamp Sparrows and Marsh Wrens singing in the marshy margins around A.E. Sea along with a Sora. Sedge Wrens are still singing in several locations in the Hedge area. Other birds in the Hedge area were Chimney Swifts, an Alder Flycatcher, a Bell's Vireo (new-singing), a White-throated Sparrow and Baltimore Orioles (several singing). Dusaf was loaded with swallows including Tree Swallows, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Bank Swallow, Cliff Swallows and Barn Swallows (good numbers of all). Both Osprey nests are still active with the females in place. Seen in the Big Woods area were Cedar Waxwings (a group of about 20 birds), a Gray-cheeked Thrush (new), and, the only migrant warblers of the day, an American Redstart and two Tennessee Warblers. Lastly, the female American Kestrel was now standing guard above the Main Injector nest box. Hopefully this means hatchlings are inside. Dave

Sunday, May 17, 2015

This morning was warm, overcast, with an occasional light shower and mild wind. First we headed to the south end of A.E. Sea looking for the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. It was in the same location as Thursday and Saturday. Other birds found in the Sparrow Hedge area were singing Alder Flycatchers (2-new), singing Willow Flycatchers (several), Cedar Waxwings, and singing Sedge Wrens. There were also Blue-winged Teal on A.E. Sea. Except for the expected breeding Common Yellowthroats and Yellow Warblers, migrant warblers were virtually nonexistent. It was quite depressing that on what should be just past mid season for warbler migration none were to be found. The only other birds worthy of mention were several Turkey Vultures, a Cooper's Hawk and several Henslow's Sparrows. Also, I just learned that Glenn had an Olive-sided Flycatcher near A.E. Sea on Friday. Dave

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The morning started out cool and comfortable with mild winds. It remained cloudy most of the time while the winds picked up from the NE, again having some minor effect on the birds. Waterfowl were pretty much gone from the Eastern Lakes. Wood Ducks are still in the wet woodlands. The pond that had the pair of Hooded Mergansers last week today had a male and three females. A.E. Sea and Dusaf produced more shorebirds today including several Spotted Sandpipers, Solitary Sandpiper (2), Lesser Yellowlegs (1), and Least Sandpipers (over a dozen Pectoral Sandpiper yesterday). Warblers were not abundant though there were several small groups and nine species were found. A Nashville was new for the week and one of the birds of the day, a Canada Warbler (new), was found in Main Ring Woods. Over a dozen Chimney Swifts were flying over Dusaf. A resting Common Nighthawk (new) flushed from a small tree and flew into the Sparrow Hedge. There was a nice mix of flycatchers in Owl's Nest Woods including a Least Flycatcher. There was also another Veery there. Willow Flycatchers are in and were singing in several locations. Sedge Wrens were found in two separate location and Marsh Wrens at south Lake Law. A Broad-winged Hawk (new) was heard calling about half way down the Sparrow Hedge. It flushed and flew west down the Hedge. The two highlight sparrows of the morning were several Henslow's Sparrows and a Clay-colored Sparrow (new) (possibly two) originally found by Glenn. Two other good birds for the morning were a Tufted Titmouse (new) (Main Ring Woods) and another Red-headed Woodpecker (Big Woods). After a couple of days and several reports, it appears that the female Osprey on the Nepese nest is truly brooding eggs. Glenn spent the day in the Lab and added many good birds including one great one, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (new). This is only the second bird of this species found at the Lab (the last was June 2014). In the Big Woods, he had a Black-billed Cuckoo (new) singing, as were Northern Parula (new), Black-throated Green Warbler and Tennessee Warbler. Among the approximate dozen warblers he found Magnolia Warbler (new) and Wilson's Warbler (new) were new for the week, both in Sparrow Hedge. There is still a male Ring-necked Pheasant surviving the coyotes. No additional shorebirds were found but he did have a Sora. A couple of late Northern Harriers, a Cooper's Hawk and Vesper Sparrow rounded out his new birds for the week. At AE Sea, there was a female Ruddy Duck, Common Nighthawks, Black Tern (new), Forster's Tern (new), a Purple Martin, a Bank Swallow and a pair of Sandhill Cranes. He had a total of 102 species for the day. Finally, Penny Kasper had a Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Barred Owl yesterday (Tuesday). Dave

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Marcia and Gail were at the Lab this morning and added some good birds to the week's list. First they had three birds that were missed on last Saturday's Spring Count starting with two Green Herons. Then two birds that were also new for the year, a Yellow-throated Vireo and an Ovenbird. Some of their other highlights were Turkey Vulture, Spotted Sandpiper, Hairy Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Kingbird, Warbling Vireo, Swainson's Thrush, Northern Waterthrush, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Bobolink. They also noted that the female Osprey was again sitting on the nest as if brooding. Dave

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The morning was cold, overcast and windy. The strong wind was the major factor effecting the birds; out of the wind birding was best. Some waterfowl are still hanging around the Eastern Lakes including Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal (1), and Ruddy Ducks (3). Wood Ducks were seen, but in the wet woodlands elsewhere. The only shorebirds were a couple of Solitary Sandpipers and several Least Sandpipers. Sparrow numbers today were well below those found on the SBC. In the Sparrow Hedge were Song Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows. Elsewhere were Chipping Sparrows, Field Sparrows, a Savannah Sparrow, and Swamp Sparrows. In a nice, out-of-the-wind area (near the Sparrow Hedge), I found a group of warblers including Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler (new), Yellow-rumped Warbler, Palm Warbler (still most numerous), Blackpoll Warbler (new) and American Redstart. Found elsewhere were Golden-winged Warbler (new), Tennessee Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler and Black-and-White Warbler. An immature Bald Eagle was flying over the Lakes Region followed by a Red-winged Blackbird. Walking back along the L.Law berm, an Osprey was seen fighting the wind above the lake's edge. It dropped several levels before diving into the water and coming up with a 1 to 2 pound carp. Struggling a while to get altitude, it finally veered off toward the Nepese nest. In the afternoon, one of the Osprey was on the perch above the Nepese nest while it appeared the female was nestled into the nest possibly brooding. We'll see? Other birds of interest were Soras, a Virginia Rail, Red-headed Woodpecker (Spr.H), Great Crested Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Scarlet Tanager (several), Orchard Oriole and Baltimore Oriole. Dave

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Today was the Spring Bird Count. Though not optimum, the weather was quite nice. Although, the overcast skies did impair the ID of birds high in the canopy, and the afternoon wind had some minor effect on birds. We squeaked out 99 species for the day. I say squeaked because of the only 14 species of warblers found about half were only single birds late in the day. It is respectable though since the average Fermi SBC is 91.3 species. There were still some waterfowl to be found including Wood Duck (1), Gadwall (2), Blue-winged Teal (8), Northern Shoveler (7), and Ruddy Duck (1). A lone Wild Turkey was again near the Garden Club. Only three of the nesting Osprey were found; the one male was probably out hunting. Raptors were poorly represented with only Red-tailed Hawks (3) and American Kestrels (2) found. We did well on rails with Soras (10) and a Virginia Rail. Shorebirds were somewhat of a disappointment. Seen were Spotted Sandpipers (6), Solitary Sandpipers (7), Least Sandpipers (18), a Pectoral Sandpiper (new), Wilson's Snipe (2), and Killdeer (11-my favorite was a juvenile with parent). We did get the Barred Owl but only one Great Horned Owl (both nests had emptied). My highlight for the day was watching over 70 Chimney Swifts buzzing, both high and low, over the Sparrow Hedge area for over a half an hour. There were no exciting flycatchers. Those found were Eastern Wood-Pewee (2-new), Eastern Phoebe (2), Great Crested Flycatcher (2), and Eastern Kingbird 8). No transient vireos were found only Warbling Vireos (7-new) and Red-eyed Vireos (4), both breeders. Quite a few swallows were around. Of note was a Purple Martin and two Bank Swallows. Warblers were a disappointment with only 14 species including Northern Waterthrush (4), Golden-winged Warbler (1-new), Black-and-white Warbler (1), Tennessee Warbler (4), Nashville Warbler (1), Common Yellowthroat(24), American Redstart (2), Cape May Warbler (1-new), Bay-breasted Warbler (1-new), Blackburnian Warbler (1-new), Yellow Warbler (21), Palm Warbler (61), Yellow-rumped Warbler (47), and Black-throated Green Warbler (1-new). Sparrows were pretty much as expected with Chipping Sparrow (1), Field Sparrows (19), Savannah Sparrows (13), Song Sparrows (12), Lincoln's Sparrows (2), Swamp Sparrows (29), White-throated Sparrows (22), White-crowned Sparrows (31) and a bonus of two Grasshopper Sparrows. Orioles were well represented with 15 Baltimore Orioles and 7 Orchard Orioles. Other highlight birds found were Ruby-throated Hummingbird (1-new), Red-headed Woodpecker, (1-new) Sedge Wren (1), Veery (2), Swainson's Thrush (3), Scarlet Tanager (3), Rose-breasted Grosbeak (2), and Bobolink (6-new). Dave

Thursday, May 7, 2015

It was a beautiful summer morning, a little over a month early. Winds increased later in the morning and did have some affect on the bird activity. The waterfowl in the Lakes Region were about the same but, again, fewer in number. Many of the other birds were the same as found over the last couple of days. I'll list highlights and exceptions. First was a Sedge Wren in a small field in the Sparrow Hedge area (earliest found in several years). There were 8 warbler species found , mostly Yellow-rumps and Palms but nothing new. The only shorebird was a Spotted Sandpiper (disturbing). Another highlight was several Grasshopper Sparrows in one of the grassland bird monitoring locations. The Nepese Osprey couple were again together on the perch. Dave Shemanske observed these Osprey's copulating again later in the morning. The female Osprey in the Main Injector was again diligently sitting on her nest. Both owlets from the nest inside the Main Ring have fledged. Other birds found this morning were a couple of Turkey Vultures, an adult Bald Eagle (soaring on the west side), a male American Kestrel (by nest box in Main Inj.), Marsh Wren (new), another Veery, and several Scarlet Tanagers (new). The bird of the day was found by Mark Donnelly. He found a Northern Mockingbird in the Ed Center parking lot. There have been only five previous sightings, the last in 2012. Glenn Perricone had some additions to the list including several Gadwall, and both a Solitary Sandpiper and Least Sandpiper at Dusaf. He also had Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Scarlet Tanager, Henslow's Sparrow (new) and Vesper Sparrow. He once again found the Barred Owl and added Black-throated Green Warbler for the year. Dave

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Marcia and Gail were out this morning in the Main Ring and Injector areas. They had many of the same birds I had yesterday in addition to a couple of Spotted Sandpipers and several new year birds for the Lab. The new birds were Green Heron, Red-eyed Vireo, Black-and-white Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting and the bird of the day a Grasshopper Sparrow. I'm hoping more of these show up because I have a monitor point nearby and they have been absent in the area for several years. Dave

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Birds are on the move. Thirteen new (year) Lab birds were found today. Once the rains diminished it became a very pleasant and rewarding day of birding. The Nepese Ospreys put on an interesting show today. Starting early, they were together on the perch above the nest. Later they were again copulating on the nest. Then in the Garden Club an Osprey circled the area and landed in the corn field, picked up some corn husks and flew toward the nest. Finally, passing by the nest about 10 minutes later, one Osprey was working on the nest while the other just landed on the perch with a fish. Waterfowl are thinning out in the Lakes Region. Found were small numbers of Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers and Green-winged Teal. Other water birds were Pied-billed Grebe, Sora, Solitary Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs and Least Sandpiper. Sparrows found were Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow and White-crowned Sparrow (new) none in large quantities. Much activity was provided by lots of both Yellow-rumped Warblers and Palm Warblers along the Hedge. Other birds in the area were Cooper's Hawk, Least Flycatcher (new), Eastern Kingbird (new), Bank Swallow (new), Gray Catbird (new), Yellow Warbler and Common Yellowthroat. There was good sparrow activity in the Garden Club most of it by many White-crowned Sparrows. Interestingly, in the G.C. I watched a House Wren fend off a House Sparrow while its mate carried nesting material into a flowerpot bird house. The sparrow then receded. Birds found in other locations around the Lab including several new year birds were Wood Duck, Great Crested Flycatcher (new), Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Veery (new), Swainson's Thrush (new), Nashville Warbler (new), American Redstart (new), Northern Waterthrush (new), Lincoln's Sparrow (new), Rusty Blackbird and Baltimore Oriole (new). Dave

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Denis was the only one out birding this weekend. His highlight was witnessing the Nepese Ospreys copulating. This is the first, to my knowledge, observation of intimacy between this pair of birds. This is an excellent sign; we'll just have to wait and see if this leads to success at our 2nd Osprey nest. Shorebirds are showing more diversity with Spotted Sandpiper (new), Solitary Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper and Wilson's Snipe. He also reported Soras. Waterfowl appear to be at a status quo from recent visits. Multiple Cooper's Hawks were again seen. Finally, he had another new arrival, a Cliff Swallow. Where are the Warblers? The early arrivers are a week or two behind schedule. Dave

Friday, May 1, 2015

It was another beautiful morning for birding with a slight chill to start but again warming quickly. The slight wind had no affect on the birds. Most of the same birds found throughout the week were found today with the following exceptions. First, there were a couple of Greater Yellowlegs in the north A.E. Sea mud flats. There were only about half the Ruddy Ducks (6) on Lake Law as earlier in the week. Yellow Warblers have made it back to the Sparrow Hedge Area -- many were singing today. The number of Yellow-rumped Warblers and Palm Warblers increased but only slightly. A pair of Cooper's Hawks were soaring high and interacting near the Nepese Osprey nest. There was a nice group of White-throated Sparrows (10-12) in Main Ring Woods. The pair of Hooded Mergansers were still in the same remote quiet pond on the west side as they were over a week ago. The Ospreys provided some interesting observations this morning. First, at the Nepese nest at 7:00, there was a single bird. At 9:00 both birds were at the nest. Then, as I leaving about 12:30, the nest was empty. At the Main Injector Nest both birds were on the nest when a third Osprey tried to land. This interloper was chased off by the male (assuming), but it just circled the nest area. The nesting male returned to the nest while the interloper circled closer and made one more attempt at landing but then gave up and flew off. A guess would be that this was a previous offspring trying to return? Dave

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