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May, 2014 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Thursday, May 29, 2014

It was another beautiful morning today starting mostly cloudy and mild with minimal wind. Driving in by the north end of A.E. Sea were two Great Blue Herons, one holding a very large carp. I thought there would be another heron/carp exhibition as we had last Sunday, but a third heron flew in disturbing the carp-holding heron. The carp was dropped and swam off as the herons interacted. There was not much to report from the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes Region. Found were female Hooded Merganser (A.E. Sea), American Coot (Lake Law), Spotted Sandpipers, Chimney Swifts (about half doz. flying around the area), Alder Flycatcher (still at least one), Bell's Vireo (singing), and several Savannah Sparrows (edges of A.E. Sea). The two young Red-tailed Hawks on the nest in the Buffalo Savannah appear ready to fledge any day now. I missed the Ospreys at the Nepese Marsh nest, but Glenn found them there later in the morning. The female Osprey on the Main Injector Nest appears to be higher now and probably has hatchlings. We should hopefully see some chicks soon. A quick trip through the Big Woods did not produce anything exciting while many of the expected birds were singing away including Eastern Wood-Pewee, Great Crested Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, House Wren and Indigo Bunting. Some of the other birds of note around the Lab were Wood Duck, White-breasted Nuthatch (flew from possible nest tree), Cedar Waxwings (flock of around 20), Scarlet Tanagers (a couple singing), Dickcissels (singing just about everywhere), and Baltimore Orioles. Dave

Sunday, May 25, 2014

It was a beautiful morning with the only irritation being the gnats that were constantly in your face in most locations around the Lab. The migration has just about run its course. That being said, the migrants of the day were Alder Flycatchers. Typically we have two or three of these migrants come through in a season. Today, there were five or more just in the Sparrow Hedge area and we had some in other locations. Some of the other birds in the Hedge area were Blue-winged Teal, Green Heron, Spotted Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, and singing Bell's Vireos. Some other birds found in other locations were Pied-billed Grebe (a second was singing inside the Ring), Marsh Wren, Henslow's Sparrow, Dickcissel, Bobolink and Baltimore Oriole. A highlight for all of us was watching a Great Blue Heron fly into the Swenson Rd. horse fuddle with a very large bullhead. It would take the fish and throw it to the ground and (apparently) watch for movement. The heron would then spear at the fish several times, pick it up and throw it down again. This process was repeated numerous times (we watched for over five minutes). In the later stages the heron would start the swallowing process (obviously head first because of the fishes spines) but, apparently feeling life still in the fish, would throw it down again. Eventually, the heron was sufficiently satisfied that the fish was safe and gulped the fish down with several strained gyrations. Glen led a DBC Field Trip at the Lab this morning also. He seemed to have a little better luck. Some of the additional birds found were Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, Caspian Tern, American Kestrel (on Eola Rd nest box, where has he been Lately?), Warbling Vireo, Horned Lark, Sedge Wren, Cedar Waxwing, Connecticut Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Vesper Sparrow, and Orchard Oriole. Dave

Friday, May 23, 2014

Another beautiful morning today at Fermilab which was warm, calm (to start), and sunny. On the east side of the Lab the lakes provided little of interest with a Blue-winged Teal on Dusaf and Spotted Sandpiper by A.E. Sea. On a quick loop of the Sparrow Hedge area there was not much of note, except among the numerous singing Willow Flycatchers there was a single Alder Flycatcher. There was also an Osprey hunting the edges of Lake Law on my way in and again on my way out of the area. Most of the morning was spent monitoring several mixed woodlots with scrubby edges. Warblers were almost nonexistent, but there were some interesting finds. Of interest was a Red-headed Woodpecker, another Alder Flycatcher, several Warbling Vireos, at least one Red-eyed Vireo in each location, a Nashville Warbler, and a fair number of both Indigo Buntings and Baltimore Orioles. My favorite part of the morning was finding both Hairy Woodpecker and Black-capped Chickadee nests. The chickadee nest, in a small downed tree, contained five featherless chicks. A few other birds of interest were an American Woodcock (Main Injector area), Sedge Wrens (Main Ring), Grasshopper Sparrow (Interpretive Trail), and Henslow Sparrows (Main Ring).

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

On Monday, Glen found all swallow species (except martin) at Dusaf. An evening walk inside the Main Ring produced three displaying American Woodcocks, three Common Nighthawks, and two each singing Sedge Wrens and Henslow's Sparrows. On Tuesday, Marcia and Gail added some good birds in the area of the Main Injector including Least Flycatcher, American Crow, Tennessee Warbler, Henslow's Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Orchard Oriole. Dave

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The early morning was spent on a grassland, pre-breeding survey. The weather was very good with partly sunny skies, mild temps and just a little bit of wind. Some of the highlights were Sedge Wrens inside the Ring (this is an early return over the last several years), Grasshopper Sparrows (only in one location), Henslow's Sparrows (found in over half of the locations), Dickcissels (these first ones were in several locations), and Bobolinks (in very good numbers at about half the locations). The remainder of the morning was spent birding random locations. Warblers are on the decline finding only Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, American Redstart, and Common Yellowthroat. A late trip to the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes region provided some surprises. A Caspian Tern had returned to A.E. Sea. The only other bird of interest here was a Blue-winged Teal. An immature Bald Eagle was found in Owl Nest Woods. Other birds in the Sparrow Hedge area were Common Nighthawk, Black-billed Cuckoo, Willow Flycatcher (several singing throughout the area), and Yellow-throated Vireo. Shorebirds were very sparse but a White-rumped Sandpiper was found in Dusaf Pond. Some of the other interesting birds found were Ring-necked Pheasant, Marsh Wren, Swainson's Thrush, Wood Thrush, and Baltimore Oriole. Dave

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Other than being a little cool, it was a very nice morning for birding with partly sunny skies and moderate winds. Shorebird habitat is just starting to return to A.E. Sea and Dusaf but is still minimal. The only shorebirds found were Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Sandpiper, and Least Sandpiper. Denis' group added spotted Sandpiper. There were still good numbers of swallows around (though not the quantities of Friday) including some Cliff Swallows. Blue-winged Teal and Wood Ducks were found in their expected habitats. An Osprey was spotted on the Nepese nest with a second Osprey feeding on a fish about 75 yards away in a tree. Most of our time was spent in the woods. Even though the overall number of warblers was not large, the diversity was quite good. We had a dozen warbler species including Golden-winged Warbler (at least 3), Tennessee Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Palm Warbler, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Common Yellowthroat, and Wilson's Warbler. Other birds found in the Big Woods were Hairy Woodpecker, Yellow-throated Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Swainson's Thrush, Scarlet Tanager and Indigo Bunting. Some other birds of note froom around the Lab were Turkey Vulture, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Willow Flycatcher, Marsh Wren, Savannah Sparrow, and White-throated Sparrow. Denis' group added Pied-billed Grebe, Cattle Egret (same location as Friday), Chimney Swift, and Cedar Waxwing. Dave

Friday, May 16, 2014

The weather this morning made for miserable birding conditions with cold temps, rain and moderate winds. Conditions aside, the birding was very good. Most of the shorebird habitat on A.E. Sea and Dusaf Pond has been consumed by recent rains. Shorebirds found in this area were Spotted Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs and Least Sandpiper all in small numbers. A Greater Yellowlegs was added around Swenson Road. There were very large numbers of swallows around the lakes. Found were Tree Swallows, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Bank Swallows (good numbers), Cliff Swallows (largest number I have seen here), and Barn Swallows (most numerous). They would perch in large numbers regularly for great viewing. Most of the common shrubland birds were singing in the Sparrow Hedge area during the rain including Eastern Kingbird, Gray Catbird, Brown Thrasher, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Eastern Towhee, Field Sparrow and Song Sparrow. Other birds of interest in the area were Blue-winged Teal, Common Nighthawk (this one a flyby), Least Flycatcher, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Palm Warbler and Lincoln's Sparrow. A lone Cattle Egret (Bird of the Day) was in the Swenson Road horse fuddle. A single Osprey was again perched at Nepese Marsh. Earlier in the week Dave Shemanske found two Ospreys there. Additional warblers found inside the Main Ring Woods were Nashville Warbler, Northern Parula, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, and American Redstart (after Palm, the most numerous warbler) for a total of 13 species. Some other birds found around the Lab were Great Horned Owl, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Great Crested Flycatcher, Warbling Vireo, Swainson's Thrush, Henslow's Sparrow and White-throated Sparrow. Dave

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Today was our Spring Bird Count and the weather was just about perfect with mild temps, partly cloudy skies and fairly mild winds. The morning was spent on the east side of the Lab. Then after lunch we visited the Big Woods, the Main Ring, the North Roads and various spots in between. Most all the waterfowl were in the Lakes Region. The standouts were a pair of Gadwall and a female Hooded Merganser. Caspian Terns were still in this area also. All of the species of shorebirds were found at A.E. Sea or Dusaf Pond; later some were duplicated elsewhere. Species found (11) were Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper (including 4 chicks), Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper (93), White-rumped Sandpiper (2), Pectoral Sandpiper, and Dunlin. All the remaining sightings were found throughout the day in various locations. Sparrow species found (10) were Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow (38), Henslow's Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, and White-crowned Sparrow. Most of these were found in the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes Region. Next, are the warblers of which we had 18 species. Though not as impressive as locations along the rivers, this is a very respectable number of warblers for the Lab. Those found were Golden-winged Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Northern Parula, Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Cape May Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler (brilliant), Palm Warbler (59), Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, and Wilson's Warbler. The neatest sighting of the day was a perched Common Nighthawk found by Frank. We continue our drought of thrushes with only single sightings of both Gray-cheeked Thrush and Swainson's Thrush. We confirmed breeding of Horned Larks by finding a couple of adults carrying food to a nest. Some of the other sightings worth mentioning were Sora (5), American Coot (3), Great Horned Owl (3), Barred Owl, Red-headed Woodpecker (2), Willow Flycatcher (an early arrival), Blue-headed Vireo, Cedar Waxwing, Scarlet Tanager (2), Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, and Dickcissel (earliest sighting for the Lab). After everything was totaled up at the end of the day we ended up with 112 species. This is a new record for the SBC within the Lab. We want to thank Steve and Frank for their help. Dave

Friday, May 9, 2014

Here's a catch-up on some other sightings, on May 3rd Glen had a number of good birds including Sandhill Crane, Stilt Sandpiper, American Woodcock, Warbling Vireo, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Marsh Wren, Northern Waterthrush, Grasshopper Sparrow, and Baltimore Oriole. Marcia and Gail searched their areas on May 7th and found several good birds with highlights being Sora, Blue-headed Vireo, Northern Waterthrush, Lincoln's Sparrow (a very high number of 7 birds), Indigo Bunting (year's first), and a late Rusty Blackbird (typical last sighting week). On May 8th Glen supplied another list of birds some of the highlights were Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Great Crested Flycatcher, Bell's Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, Black-and-white Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Grasshopper Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, and Scarlet Tanager. Dave

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

It was a beautiful morning for birding today with mild temps, partly cloudy skies and moderate winds. In the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes Region both waterfowl and sparrow numbers were down from Sunday with only one shorebird, a Lesser Yellowlegs found. Waterfowl, all in A.E. Sea, were Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal and Hooded Merganser. In this region Swamp Sparrows were still most prominent with White-crowned Sparrows a close second (in other locations the White-crowned Sparrows were by far the most prominent). Other sparrows in the region were Field Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, and White-throated Sparrow. Warblers in the region were overwhelmingly Palm Warblers. Others found were Blue-winged Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler and Common Yellowthroat. Other birds of note in the region were Green Heron, Eastern Kingbird, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Bobolink. Found at Dusaf Pond were Spotted Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper and American Crow (they are again fairly regular on the east side of the Lab). The remaining birds were found inside the Main Ring and a few small woodlots around the Lab. About 20 American Coots were in Lake Logo. In the Main Ring Savannah there was another late Winter Wren and the bird of the day, a singing Carolina Wren (only the second sighting of this species in the Lab). Additional Sparrows found here were Henslow's Sparrow and Lincoln's Sparrow while additional warblers found were Nashville Warbler, Northern Parula, and Northern Waterthrush. I was surprised to find both Gray-cheeked Thrush and Wood Thrush without seeing a single Swenson's yet this year. The Great Horned Owl owlet has left Nest 2 - hopefully it fledged successfully. Only one adult was found in the area. Other birds of note were Wood Duck, Eastern Phoebe, Blue-headed Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Brown Thrasher, and Orchard Oriole. Dave

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The morning started mild and mostly cloudy then cooled slightly later on. Birding was again quite good starting with our first stop at the Lakes/Sparrow Hedge Region. Waterfowl were about the same with Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, and Ruddy Ducks found. Shorebirds included Semipalmated Plover, Spotted Sandpipers, Solitary Sandpipers, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, and Dunlin. Also seen were seven species of Sparrows including Field Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Song Sparrows, a Lincoln's Sparrow, Swamp Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows. Warblers were present but not in big numbers. Seen were Yellow Warbler, Pine Warbler, Palm Warbler and Common Yellowthroat. Other birds found in the area were American White Pelicans (at least 40), a Green Heron, a Red-headed Woodpecker, a Least Flycatcher, American Crows, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Bobolinks. Shorebirds added at Dusaf Pond were Stilt Sandpiper and Short-billed Dowitcher (5). In the Big Woods we added a very late Winter Wren, a Gray Catbird, Black-throated Green Warblers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Black-and-White Warblers and another Pine Warbler. Other birds found during the morning were Tree Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Sparrow, Bank Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, Chipping Sparrow, Barred Owl and a pair of Great Horned Owls. Dave

Thursday, May 1, 2014

It was cold, rainy and windy this morning, but birding was quite good. Once again the morning started in the Lakes/Sparrow Hedge Region. There were still 10 Caspian Terns and 3 American White Pelicans there. Waterfowl included Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, and Green-winged Teal. Down on the flats were Savannah Sparrows, Song Sparrows and Swamp Sparrows. The Hedge area was filled with the songs of multiple White-throated Sparrows. Also up in the Hedge area were Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and two large groups of Cedar Waxwings. There were American Crows in the Village while Eastern Bluebirds and Field Sparrows were added in the Garden Club. Dusaf Pond was all about shorebirds. Found there were Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpipers, Dunlin and a Short-billed Dowitcher. The Big Woods was quite active. Some of the highlights were Wood Ducks, a Solitary Sandpiper, Hairy Woodpeckers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Hermit Thrushes, Black-throated Green Warbler, Palm Warblers (in good numbers), Black-and-White Warblers and a Turkey Vulture (flyover). Added from some small wood lots were House Wren, Pine Warbler, and Lincoln's Sparrow. The female Osprey on the Main Injector nest was barely visible in the nest due to the inclement weather. Good news from the owl front - two Great Horned Owl owlets were found huddled together on a branch about twenty-five yards from the pine tree that contained their downed nest. One of the adults was nearby keeping an eye on their charges. Marcia and Gail also added Spotted Sandpipers (Year's first), but more significantly they were in the same area in the Main Injector area where they have successfully bred for the last several years. They also found an American Kestrel in the area of the Swenson Rd. nest box, hopefully, the European Starlings I spotted in the nest box last week will be evicted. Dave

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