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May, 2017 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Marcia and Gail were in this morning where it was sunny, 62 deg, with winds of 12mph. They found both Osprey Nests 1 and 3 with a bird on the nest and one nearby. Later they found one Osprey flying over Betz Prairie. Sandhill Crane sightings included one flying over the Main Ring Lake and then 2 close to the road by the guard house at the East Entrance. Other birds of interest, found mostly in the area of the Main and Injector Rings, were Great Egrets (2), a Spotted Sandpiper, an American Kestrel (Wilson Rd), a Warbling Vireo, an Indigo Bunting, Bobolinks (6) and Dickcissels (4 - Bison Field). Dave

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The morning was sunny with temps ranging between the mid 50's and mid 60's. The mild breeze to start the morning soon increased. A trip around the Sparrow Hedge area produced a Pied-billed Grebe, a Green Heron, a singing Alder Flycatcher (quite a few of these this season), a singing Bell's Vireo and several Baltimore Orioles. One of the Nest 2 Osprey's and a couple of Caspian Terns were foraging for a meal over the area's lakes. The Village Sandhill Cranes were near the East Entrance Gate. The female at Osprey Nest 3 was sitting noticeably higher this morning, while at Nest 1 the female was fidgeting around both times I passed by. The only other birds of note were a Turkey Vulture and the first Blue Grosbeak of the year. Dave

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Aside from the viscous mosquitoes in the woods, it was quite a pleasant morning for birding today (60's, mostly cloudy and calm early). Most of our time was spent in the area of Main Ring Woods. We had 2 first-of-the-year birds (also our birds of the day). First, was a typically secretive Black-billed Cuckoo, next was a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. Other birds of interest in the area were Chimney Swifts, an Alder Flycatcher, a quite actively singing Yellow-throated Vireo, a Warbling Vireo, Marsh Wrens (still a good number singing), Cedar Waxwings (regular around the Lab over the last few trips), Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Bobolinks. We flushed a possible nesting pair of Wood Ducks (female was quite agitated when it flushed from the tree) in Main Ring Woods. Further confirmation will be required. Other birds of interest found around the Lab were a Pied-billed Grebe, an American Kestrel, Sandhill Cranes (pair in Village), a Caspian Tern, Horned Larks and both Orchard Orioles and Baltimore Orioles. Dave

Friday, May 26, 2017

The early morning weather today was just about perfect for a pre-breeding grassland bird survey. It was in the mid 50's, partly sunny, quite calm and the wet grasses, in most places, were below the waist. Results were quite good. Highlights found during the survey were Sedge Wrens (5 - new year bird), Savannah Sparrows (5), Henslow's Sparrows (9), Dickcissel (2), Bobolinks (25) and Eastern Meadowlarks (9). Other birds of interest for the remainder of the morning were a Great Egret, a pair of Blue-winged Teal, Great Horned Owls (2), an Alder Flycatcher, Horned Larks (3), Marsh Wrens, Eastern Bluebirds, Cedar Waxwings (5), a Vesper Sparrow, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and a still singing Western Meadowlark. No migrant warblers were found today. All 6 Ospreys were located associated with their nests with no change in status to any nest. Finally, the most interesting sighting of the morning was finding 3 Juvenile Eastern Phoebes huddled closely together on a branch. After a couple of minutes one of the adults showed up and the competition for food began. Interesting how sibling love and competition can ebb and flow so quickly. Dave

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The rain had pretty much ended as birding started today. Otherwise it was cool, overcast and windy. The most interesting occurrence in the Sparrow Hedge area was seeing several migrant hawks including Cooper's Hawks (3), a Sharp-shinned Hawk and a possible Merlin that could not be confirmed. Other birds of interest in the area were an American Kestrel, a Caspian Tern, a juvenile Great Horned Owl, Willow Flycatchers, a Bell's Vireo, a Philadelphia Vireo and a Swainson's Thrush. Marcia was also in the Lab doing her monitoring today. Looks like sparrow migration has wound down. Our cumulative list included Chipping Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, a Henslow's Sparrow and Song Sparrows, all summer resident birds. Except for the summer resident Yellow Warblers and Common Yellowthroats, migrant warblers were quite spotty. Found were a Magnolia Warbler, a Blackpoll Warbler, American Redstarts (5) and, my bird of the day, a singing Blue-winged Warbler (finally located). Other birds of note found around the Lab were a Turkey Vulture (preening atop Wilson Hall), Hairy Woodpeckers, an Olive-sided Woodpecker (same one as Sunday??? although approx 3/4 mi away), a Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireos, a Horned Lark, Cedar Waxwings and Indigo Buntings. Some more birds that Marcia added were Killdeer (2), an Eastern Phoebe, an American Crow and Bobolinks (3). Now for an Osprey update... First, Nest 2 had one Osprey on the pedestal above the nest early in the morning. Later, the nest was empty and, while watching, an Osprey flew in and landed on the side of the nest. At this time this nest is not being brooded, but there is still hope since both birds have been in the area. Both Nests 1 and 3 are still being brooded. While in the Main Ring Woods, a raptor flew from outside the woods and, while being chased by a blackbird, landed at the edge of the woods. After several seconds it flew out again laboring while carrying a large goldfish toward Nests 1 or 3. Another interesting Osprey sighting was made by Jim Kalina (of Roads and Grounds) when he watched a Nest 3 Osprey circle a dead tree then fly down and break off a fairly large branch and carry it to the nest. Dave

Monday, May 22, 2017

Dave Shemanske sent me a picture of the Nest 2 (Nepese Marsh) Ospreys on the nest this afternoon. Good to see they remain loyal to their nest. It's getting late, but there is still hope for a second attempt at breeding this season. Dave

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The conditions this morning were cool, windy and mostly cloudy. We still, however, had the best morning of birding in the Sparrow Hedge/Lake Region of the season. Notable birds were a Green Heron, a Caspian Tern, a Great Horned Owl (Juv.), Chimney Swifts (group of 7-8 hanging around), Willow Flycatchers (singing), Alder Flycatchers (2-3), Bell's Vireos (2), a Yellow-throated Vireo (new for year), a Philadelphia Vireo, a Red-eyed Vireo, Warbling Vireos (found inside Main Ring), a Brown Thrasher, Cedar Waxwings, Yellow Warblers, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Palm Warblers, American Redstarts (many also found throughout the Lab), Common Yellowthroats, a Wilson's Warbler, a Scarlet Tanager and an Orchard Oriole. Denis was about an hour behind us in this area with his group. He found many of the same birds plus adding some interesting finds. The additional highlights from his list included two Bald Eagles, a resting Common Nighthawk (not an everyday type of find - first of year), a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, a Northern Parula, a Magnolia Warbler, a Blackpoll Warbler and an Indigo Bunting. Bird highlights found in other locations around the Lab were Sandhill Cranes (Pr. in Village), an American Crow, a Swamp Sparrow, a Western Meadowlark and our bird of the day, an Olive-sided Flycatcher (considered a rare species in the Lab). Denis' bird of the day was a Le Conte's Sparrow (a regular fall migrant but only 2 previous spring (April) sightings have been recorded in the Lab). Glenn was in the Lab later in the day, his most interesting observation was an interaction between an Osprey and an Eagle. As he stated, " The highlight was definitely watching an adult Osprey from either nest one or three chase a Bald Eagle out of Main Ring. The Osprey was nipping at it and swooping down on the poor adult Eagle." Birding mostly in the Main Ring, he was able to add several birds to the day's list including a Turkey Vulture, a Sora, a Spotted Sandpiper, an American Kestrel, Northern Rough-wing Swallows, Eastern Bluebird, a Tennessee Warbler (which brought the day's warbler total to 11), Chipping Sparrows, Field Sparrows, a Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrows, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, an Indigo Bunting and Bobolinks. Dave

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The morning temps were mild (70's) with partly cloudy skies and strong, gusty winds. The wind had a huge affect this morning, if not on the birds certainly on the birder. A quick circuit of the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes area did not produce much. I'm sure wind was a factor. Willow Flycatchers and Common Yellowthroats were singing in many locations. Yellow Warblers were also singing but in lesser numbers. The only other birds of note in the Hedge area were some Baltimore Orioles and a singing Bell's Vireo. Other birds of interest or new for the week around the Lab were a Caspian Tern, a Great Horned Owl, a Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Parulas (seems a high number were around this season) and American Redstarts (2-3). I had my first fledged American Robin of the year in the Village. The first in the "bird of the day" category was a beautiful juvenile Northern Harrier fighting the wind and a harassing Red-winged Blackbird while trying to hunt in the Main Ring Prairie. The second and best was a female Black-throated Blue Warbler. Dave

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Marcia and Gail were monitoring this morning in the strong winds, which no doubt affected the birds. Despite the wind, they did quite well with grassland birds in the Main Injector and Main Ring Prairie areas, most of which were singing. Two of their finds, a Grasshopper Sparrow (late for first arrival)and a Dickcissel (early), were first of the year birds. Other grassland birds were Field Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Bobolinks and Eastern Meadowlarks. They found several Baltimore Orioles (6) including a pair in suitable habitat making it a possible breeder for this 5 year period. Their only migrant warbler for the morning was a Tennessee Warbler. What is with the warblers this year? Other finds including some new week birds include a Great Egret, Eastern Wood-Pewees, Great Crested Flycatcher s, a Warbling Vireo, a Red-eyed Vireo, a Northern Rough-winged Swallow and Indigo Buntings. Finally, they found both Osprey Nests 1 and 3 still being brooded. Dave

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The morning started in the 60's, mostly cloudy and calm, which soon changed to the 80's, mostly sunny and windy. During an hour spent in the Sparrow hedge Lakes Region, over 30 bird species were found the highlights being Caspian Terns (2), a Great Horned Owl, an Alder Flycatcher (new year), Willow Flycatchers (new year - quite a few singing), Eastern Kingbirds, a Bell's Vireo (new year - singing), Marsh Wrens, a Brown Thrasher, Cedar Waxwings and a single Yellow-rumped Warbler. The recent southerly winds did not improve the warbler situation; actually it was quite disappointing. Other than the expected Yellow Warblers and Common Yellow-throats and the single Yellow-rumped Warbler (found at the Sparrow Hedge) only a Nashville Warbler, a Northern Parula and 2 Magnolia Warblers were found. Sparrow migration appears to be winding down. Found were Chipping Sparrows, Field Sparrows, a Savannah Sparrow, a Henslow's Sparrow, Song Sparrows, a White-throated Sparrow and White-crowned Sparrows (the only migrant sparrow still showing good numbers). The birds of interest found in other areas of the Lab were Wood Ducks, Blue-winged Teal (pair), Turkey Vultures, a Virginia Rail, Eastern Wood-Pewees (new bird), a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, an Indigo Bunting, a Bobolink and Baltimore Orioles. From a distance the female on Osprey Nest 1 was seen adjusting either the eggs or hatchlings??? Later, a closer view had her nestled in the nest as the male returned with a fish meal. Nest 3 is still being brooded while Nest 2 showed no activity. Dave

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A beautiful morning for birding greeted us today, with mild temps, partly cloudy skies and mild winds (which later increased somewhat). The only birding we did on the east side was to find a Hooded Merganser on Lake Law and a Lesser Yellowlegs on the Batavia Rd fuddle. Initially, we spent time checking for marsh birds and a reported Prothonotary Warbler. In both cases we were not successful. We had the best warblers of the year to date, finding 9 species (not too impressive, I know, but that's the way the spring has been). Warblers found were a Nashville Warbler, Northern Parulas (at least 2), Yellow Warblers, a Chestnut-sided Warbler (new for year), Yellow-rumped Warblers (quite a few), Black-throated Green Warblers, Blackburnian Warblers (at least 2 - new for year), a Black-and-White Warbler and Common Yellowthroats. Surprisingly, no Palm Warblers. Two other new-year birds missed during last week's SBC, were a Scarlet Tanager and a Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Other highlights, most needed for the week's list, were a Great Egret, Turkey Vultures (5), a Sandhill Crane, a Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireos, a Brown Thrasher, Bobolinks (6-10 in Main Injector area) and Baltimore Orioles (several locations). Dave

Thursday, May 11, 2017

It was a little breezy, but otherwise conditions were quite nice, mid 50's and partly cloudy. Migrants continue to trickle in ever so slowly. Starting with warblers, the only new arrival was an American Redstart. Others found were a Tennessee Warbler, Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats (both well distributed), Yellow-rumped Warblers, Black-throated Green Warblers (2) and Palm Warblers. The only new sparrow was a nice Clay-colored Sparrow (Garden Club). The other expected species were Chipping Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows (still in high numbers throughout the Lab). No new shorebirds only a Spotted Sandpiper and, in the fuddle on the north side of Batavia Rd (across from Dog Fields) were 15 Lesser Yellowlegs and 1 peep. The only other birds worth mentioning were a Green Heron, Great Horned Owls (3), a Ruby-throated Hummingbird (new year bird), a Least Flycatcher (new year bird) and Great Crested Flycatchers. Returning to the Red Barn, I watched a Red-tailed Hawk swoop down at the SE corner of the barn, apparently missing a rodent. It then flew to a nearby post and proceeded to intently watch the area of the miss. Finally, Dave Shemanske reported seeing both Osprey on Nest 2, so there may be hope for a retry. Dave

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Marcia and Gail had fairly nice weather for their morning survey of the Main and Injector Ring areas, with partly cloudy skies, mild winds and temps around 60 deg. They reported that some migrants are starting to trickle into the Lab. Vireos led the way with a Philadelphia Vireo, a Warbling Vireo and a Red-eyed Vireo (only the Warbling Vireo was seen previously this year). Warblers still seem to be scarce. They had a Black-throated Green Warbler, a Tennessee Warbler, Common Yellowthroats and a Yellow Warbler. Three Eastern Kingbirds were joined by the first Great Crested Flycatcher of the year. Among several Eastern Meadowlarks, the singing Western Meadowlark was again located in the Main Injector area. Three of the four Main Injector Ospreys were found including the females brooding on both Nests 1 and 3. They found, as I did yesterday, that there has been a large influx of White-crowned Sparrows (12). Others found were Field Sparrows, Song Sparrows and a Henslow's Sparrow. Three Sandhill Cranes were spotted across from the Dog Training Fields. Other birds of note were a Green Heron, a Spotted Sandpiper, a Killdeer, Marsh Wrens (2), an Indigo Bunting (first of the year), Bobolinks (4) and Baltimore Orioles. Dave

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

It was a very nice morning for birding today. The rain stopped soon after my arrival. It was cool with moderate east winds that did not increase until late morning. Two groups of warblers were found with a total of 12 species found. The first flock, found east of the Sparrow Hedge, was the smallest and included a Tennessee Warbler, an Orange-crowned Warbler, a Yellow Warbler, a Black-throated Green Warbler, a Palm Warbler and a Common Yellowthroat. The second flock was much larger. In the Big Woods area the following were found; a Nashville Warbler, a Northern Parula, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Black-throated Green Warblers (7-8), Palm Warblers, a Blackpoll Warbler, a Black-and-white Warbler and an Ovenbird (not associated with the flock). Most of the morning's sparrows were found on the east side of the Lab. These included Chipping Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Song Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows (by far today's most abundant sparrow). A nice collection of shorebirds were found in the large fuddle on the north side of Batavia Rd (east of Eola). It included Killdeer, Lesser Yellowlegs (6), Least Sandpipers (2) and a Pectoral Sandpiper. Other birds of note were Wood Ducks (still many pairs around the Lab), Blue-winged Teal, a Northern Shoveler, a Pied-billed Grebe, an American Bittern, Soras, an American Coot, a Great Horned Owl, Northern Flickers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Marsh Wrens, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Eastern Bluebirds, a Veery and Baltimore Orioles. I watched one Osprey fly into Nest 3 with a large fish then take over brooding as the other Osprey flew off (I guess to find its own meal). Both Ospreys were at Nest 1 but Nest 2 still remains abandoned. Dave

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Today was the 2017 Spring Bird Count in the Lab as well as many other locations around the country. Unfortunately, a poor showing of both shorebirds and warblers yielded below average results (in the species count). The shores of A.E. Sea provided absolutely no shorebird habitat and the many fuddles throughout the Lab were not much more productive. The only shorebirds found were Killdeer (6), a Spotted Sandpiper, a Lesser Yellowlegs and a Pectoral Sandpiper. There was a little more variety in warblers, but the pickings were still well below par. The 8 warblers we found were Northern Waterthrushes (2), a Black-and-white Warbler, a Tennessee Warbler, Common Yellowthroats (2), Yellow Warblers (2), Palm Warblers (8), Yellow-rumped Warblers (2) and a Black-throated Green Warbler. Sparrows were respectable but in smaller numbers than found over the past week, in most cases. Those found were Chipping Sparrows (7), Field Sparrows (8), Vesper Sparrows (2), Savannah Sparrow (14), Henslow's Sparrows (4), Song Sparrows (14), Swamp Sparrows( 4), White-throated Sparrows (22) and White-crowned Sparrows. Thrushes were represented by Eastern Bluebirds (4), a Veery, a Gray-cheeked Thrush, a Hermit Thrush and, of course, American Robins (38). The only flycatchers were an Eastern Phoebe and an Eastern Kingbird. The only vireo was a Warbling Vireo. Marsh area birds were the savor of the count starting with one of the best an American Bittern (calling then seen). Other waders were Great Blue Herons (14), Great Egrets (30) and a Green Heron (first of year). Rails and coots were represented by a Virginia Rail, Soras (32 - a high for the Lab), American Coots (4) and, a first for an SBC in the Lab, Common Gallinule. Also, a Lab SBC high of 10 Marsh Wrens were found. Four Osprey were found, but the sad news is that Nest 2 (Nepese Marsh) has been abandoned. Other birds of note were a Sharp-shinned Hawk, a Cooper's Hawk, Caspian Terns (9 - another Fermi SBC high), a Great Horned Owl (a beautiful Rufus Adult), Chimney Swifts (5), a stunning Red Headed Woodpecker, an American Crow, Horned Larks (5), Gray Catbirds (3), Brown Thrashers (3) and another Lab SBC first, Western Meadowlark. As always Red-winged Blackbirds were the most numerous species with 111 individuals. Besides the poor showing of both shorebirds and warblers, some notable misses were Northern Shovelers, Northern Harriers, any other flycatchers, Red-eyed Vireos, Cliff Swallows, Swainson's Thrushes, Lincoln's Sparrows, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings, and any Orioles. Dave

Thursday, May 4, 2017

It was cool and cloudy to start with mild winds, but the winds picked up throughout the morning. There was much less activity in the Sparrow Hedge area than on Tuesday. Yellow Warblers were singing in several locations along the trails. Other birds of note in the area were an Eastern Bluebird, a Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrows, a Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrows and several White-throated Sparrows. Two Black Terns were circling the large fuddle along North Eola Rd. while another was back at the Security Office Marsh. The bird of the day was a very cooperative Veery in the Big Woods (unfortunately it was not singing, love the song). Other birds of interest this morning were an American Kestrel, a Great Horned Owl, several Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a Hermit Thrush and Palm Warblers (only 2). An interesting observation was watching 2 Osprey soaring together in an area just south of the Main Injector. I then rushed to check both Osprey Nests 1 and 3, a short distance away. Both nests were still being brooded. So, were these the males from Nests 1 and 3, the pair from Nest 2 (from the other side of the Lab) or a couple of nonresident Osprey checking out the area? I thought it an interesting dilemma. Dave

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Marcia and Gail were in monitoring their usual area in the Main Injector and Main Ring this morning. They had 3 new year birds for the Lab including a Gray Catbird, a Tennessee Warbler and a Yellow Warbler. An American Kestrel was above a nesting box in the Main Injector Ring. There seems to still be some sparrow movement. Those found were Chipping Sparrows (2), Field Sparrows (2), Savannah Sparrows (3), Song Sparrows (4) and Swamp Sparrows (2). They also ran across a pair of Canada Geese with recently fledged young. Some of their other highlights were Turkey Vultures (5), Ospreys (5), Red-tailed Hawks, American Coots, Killdeer, a Spotted Sandpiper, an Eastern Phoebe, an Eastern Kingbird, a Horned Lark and a Brown Thrasher. The highlight of their morning was finding a Barred Owl in a wood lot near the Main Injector. Only once before had one been found there. Dave

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The morning was almost the same as Sunday, cloudy, rainy and windy. It rained less but the wind was a little stronger. I still cannot visually confirm brooding on Osprey Nest 2 (Nepese), but all observations to date point to the nest being brooded. Both Nests 1 %26 3 definitely had the female Ospreys brooding their nests. Both Lake Law and A.E. Sea were well over their normal levels, thus there was no shorebird habitat. The strong winds limited the bird activity in many areas of the Sparrow hedge area. The best bird in the area was a migrating Sharp-shinned Hawk fighting the westerly winds as it headed north. Other interesting birds in the area were Wood Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Soras (several calling around A.E. Sea), American Crows, a singing Brown Thrasher, a Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, and White-throated Sparrows. Sparrow numbers and activity was well below what it was on Friday. It was a day for terns with Caspian Terns (2) over the Main Injector Moats and Black Terns (3) feeding at the Security Office Marsh. This is a week ahead of a typically narrow spring migration period for Black Terns. Other birds of interest in various locations around the Lab were American Coots (L.Logo), a Great Horned Owl, Northern Flickers, a Palm Warbler, Marsh Wrens, Savannah Sparrows (6-8 in Garden Club), and a White-crowned Sparrow. My first fledglings of the year were 3 gosling Canada Geese with parents on Dusaf Pond. Dave

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