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November, 2014 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Peter had a mini "Hawk Watch" on Sunday finding a Northern Harrier, a Sharp-shinned Hawk, a Cooper's Hawk, several Red-tailed Hawks and a Rough-legged Hawk. A Swamp Sparrow, always a tough bird in cold weather, was found along Indian Creek. The Ed Center Feeders produced probably the same Fox Sparrows and White-throated Sparrow that have been seen for weeks. Hopefully, these will stick around for the Christmas Bird Count. There was also a surprise Red-winged Blackbird feeding along with these sparrows. Dave

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It was another cold and cloudy morning to start the day. On the plus side the winds were mild, the clouds parted somewhat and temps did rise a little. This early season cold has closed most bodies of water; therefore, waterfowl were hard to come by. Lake Law had one pool-size opening with only Canada Geese and Mallards nearby. Main Ring Lake had three very small openings, with only two Hooded Mergansers using one. Only the Main Injector Moat had a large amount of open water but, other than a good number of geese, there were only several each Common Goldeneye, Common Mergansers and American Coots. Also in this area was an American Kestrel and an intently hunting Northern Harrier. There was a nice mixed flock of birds in the Garden Club area including lots of Black-capped Chickadees, Northern Cardinals, and American Goldfinches. There were also five to six each of American Tree Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. There was also the remains (fur and blood) of one of the last remaining rabbits in the Lab. In the snow were wing marks from a raptor (probably a resident red-tail) and a coyote. It's hard to tell what really happened, but the rabbit obviously lost the battle. Finally, I spent a good amount of time walking through wood lots, mostly pine areas. In one lot there was a flock of Black-capped Chickadees with several, quite late, Ruby-crowned Kinglets tagging along. Another surprise here was a Brown Creeper. Dave

Sunday, November 23, 2014

This morning it was warmer than recent visits, but the light rain did hamper most of our field birding. Still lots of Canada Geese around most open water areas and any surrounding ice. Lake Law also held several Common Goldeneye, and Common Mergansers and a Lesser Scaup. Some Cackling Geese were found on Main Ring Lake along with quite a few Greater White-fronted Geese and several Hooded Mergansers. Again, a Northern Harrier was patrolling the fields nearby. The only bird of interest in the Main Injector area was an American Kestrel. Probably due to the warmer temps, there were not as many birds around the Ed Center feeders. We did find, however, both a Fox Sparrow and a White-throated Sparrow. Some Canvasbacks were asleep on Casey's Pond when we passed by. A Cooper's hawk appeared to be patrolling the fields in the North Roads area. In addition, the bird of the day, a Peregrine Falcon was spotted on one of the tall power poles in that area. It appeared to be casing the joint. Then, on our return, the falcon was found several poles from its initial location ripping apart a blackbird. Dave

Friday, November 21, 2014

Marcia and Gail had some interesting sightings today while enjoying a warmer sunny day (at least compared with our recent cold wave). The Main Injector Moat had a couple Gadwall, a dozen Common Goldeneye, and a couple of Hooded Mergansers. There was also a Belted Kingfisher in the area. Finally, they found a Northern Shrike in the Main Ring (Bett's) Prairie. Dave

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Another cool, windy morning with skies changing from totally overcast to clear and then back and forth several times. Lake Law was about 10 percent open, with birds both on and off the ice. The highlight was five Tundra Swans (two were sleeping and I'm assuming they were Tundra's). Mixed in the large number of Canada Geese were several Cackling Geese and several Common Mergansers (all females). Main Ring Lake had a little more variety with Greater White-fronted Geese (at least four), American Black Ducks, Lesser Scaup (1 Fem), Common Goldeneye (2 Fem.), and an American Coot. A Northern Harrier zoomed low over the Main Ring Prairie then up and over the Berm toward the south end of the Lab. Only Hooded Mergansers (again females) were of interest in the Main Injector Moat. I finally found some male divers in Casey Pond which were Hooded Mergansers. The Ed Center Feeders must have been really busy recently, since I had to refill them all. The only birds of note here were several each of Fox Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows. Most of my time was spent on the west side of the Lab in my survey locations. As expected the bird count was down from the warmer weather visits and most of the birds were the expected winter residents. Highlights were one Great Horned Owl, a couple of Fox Sparrows, several White-throated Sparrows and the bird of the day a late Winter Wren. Dave

Sunday, November 16, 2014

It was another cold start today with just enough wind to increase the discomfort level another notch. The light snow did not seem to affect the birds. A.E. Sea was frozen over as was most of Lake Law (most of the birds here were on the ice). Lake Law was loaded with Canada Geese in addition to several each of Cackling Geese and Greater White-fronted Geese. The big surprise of the morning was finding 24 Sandhill Cranes on the Lake Law ice. These flushed and were later found in the North Roads area, picking up several more along the way. Several more Cackling Geese and Greater White-fronted Geese were found in Main Ring Lake. In the Main Injector area we added American Black Duck, Hooded Merganser and an American Kestrel. Casey's Pond had several each Ring-necked Ducks and American Coots. The larkspurs seen last week were nowhere to be found in the North Roads area; we ended up with just a few Horned Larks. There did appear to be an increased number of Red-tailed Hawks around the Lab today. There was a reasonable amount of activity around the Ed Center Feeders. The only highlights were a White-throated Sparrow and several Fox Sparrows. There was also a Red-tailed Hawk perched almost directly above the south feeders, but this did not seem to bother the birds feeding below. Dave

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The day started out with temps well below normal and mild winds, but the winds soon picked up and the temps started to fall. Though the activity was sparse on Lake Law the first Common Loon of the season was present. It was found joined by only a few Mallards and Canada Geese. A.E. Sea, however, was loaded with waterfowl, mostly Canada Geese. Other birds of interest there were Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, and Bufflehead. In addition, an immature Bald Eagle flushed from Owl's Nest Woods. The south end of A.E. Sea and the eastern portion of the Sparrow Hedge produced over forty Cedar Waxwings, American Tree Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows (over a dozen), and a singing White-throated Sparrow. The Garden Club's only activity was on the southwest corner due to the wind. Found in the area was an American Crow, a Yellow-rumped Warbler, and about thirty Dark-eyed Juncos. Main Ring Lake was not very active but there were three Pied-billed Grebes, a pair of Hooded Mergansers and about a dozen American Coots. There were several Gadwall and a few more American Coots on Lake Logo. Fox Sparrows were found in several locations including Main Ring Woods and the Ed Center Feeders. A pair of Great Horned Owls also flushed in a nearby woodlot. Yesterday, Peter also reported a Bald Eagle, this one by Swan Lake. Dave

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Today was another cool and mostly cloudy early morning with increasing wind and warmth to follow for today's birding. Lake Law gave up two very clean Horned Grebes (adult nonbreeding), several Lesser Scaup, a low flyover Cooper's Hawk (first of several for the day), and several high flyover Cackling Geese. On A.E. Sea, we found Green-winged Teal, Hooded Mergansers, Ruddy Ducks and two American Crows (on stickup in the water). The Sparrow Hedge was pretty dead, but we did manage a few sparrows at the south end of A.E. Sea including American Tree Sparrows, a Song Sparrow, a Swamp Sparrow and Dark-eyed Juncos. Arguably, the bird of the day was a late Common Yellowthroat (1st November sighting ever) found on the edge of the Main Ring Moat. Previously no yellowthroats were found in the Lab between late October and the end of April. A Tundra Swan was located on Main Ring Lake along with a Pied-billed Grebe and several American Coots. Our first Northern Shrike of the season was seen near the Main Injector. A stop at Casey's Pond added some Black Ducks and Gadwall. Finally, the experience of the day was encountered along the North Roads were we found several flocks of Lapland Longspurs (totaling several hundred birds). The winds made it hard to observe any birds that landed in the mowed corn fields since the birds immediately hunkered down upon landing. Another reason may have been the two Cooper's Hawks which were patrolling the fields just a foot or two above the surface. One hawk almost flew into our open car window, veering off at the last second. Also with the longspurs were a Snow Bunting and a bunch of Horned Larks. Dave

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Glenn had some notable sightings today starting with a Tundra Swan at A.E. Sea and a Belted Kingfisher at Dusaf Pond. At the north side of the Lab, he found a Wood Duck and in Casey's Pond, a pair of American Black Ducks and a dark morph Rough-legged Hawk nearby. A flock of 28 Horned Larks and 108 Dark-eyed Juncos were found in the North Roads area. A couple of Snow Buntings were seen on Main Ring Road while a Rusty Blackbird was found near the Ed Center. Dave

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The morning was cool and cloudy but the major factor affecting the birds was the strong and gusty winds. Lake Law produced about a dozen Hooded Mergansers and a Pied-billed Grebe. A.E. Sea had about a dozen Ruddy Ducks and a large number of Green-winged Teal. Added at Dusaf Pond were Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, more Green-winged Teal and a late Greater Yellowlegs. The only birds of mention in the Garden Club were some Eastern Bluebirds. Main Ring Lake had more Gadwall and Green-winged Teal (there were more G-W Teal today than I have ever seen in the Lab). At one of the Main Ring Marshes I watched a Northern Harrier fighting the wind to hold its position above an apparent prey, but eventually it had to capitulate to the wind. The Ed Center feeders were quite popular with the birds during this windy morning, but about a dozen Fox Sparrows and a couple of White-throated Sparrows were the only birds of note. On the way out later in the afternoon there were over 75 Greater White-fronted Geese near the buffalo pens. Dave

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Merlin was spotted by Glenn and Peter later on Sunday morning, as well as several other birders in the area. A Tundra Swan was also seen Sunday, I assume it was in the Lakes Region. Monday Peter had a Snow Goose on Swan Lake. Is this becoming the next Fermi hotspot? Finally, Glenn found a Snow Bunting in the Main Ring. Dave

Sunday, November 2, 2014

It was quite cold early this morning, with a thin layer of ice on much of A.E. Sea. Waterfowl and other associated birds found in the Lakes were Canada Geese, Mallards, Green-wing Teal, Hooded Mergansers, Ruddy Ducks, Pied-billed Grebes and an American Coot. A flock of calling Lapland Longspurs flew over the area. In the Sparrow Hedge region, sparrows were much more numerous and active than earlier in the week. Sparrows found were American Tree Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, Song Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. The numbers were nowhere near what they were a couple of weeks ago with American Tree Sparrows now the most numerous species. There were a good number of Cedar Waxwings and most all of them were adults. Earlier in the season the majority of the waxwings in the area were juveniles. Also, a Belted Kingfisher was heard near A.E. Sea. The Ed Center Feeders appear to be well established after only being filled on Wednesday. Many of the expected birds were found including a handsome Hairy Woodpecker. Another Belted Kingfisher was heard in the area (not too often do we have two in one day). Found on the south feeders were the birds of the day, three Purple Finches (2 females and 1 striking male) giving us great views. The Big Woods were very quiet with only another Hairy Woodpecker and a pair of Great Horned Owl worth mention. Killdeers were found in the Swan Lake area. On the way out we again found over 40 Greater White-fronted Geese in the Buffalo Fields. Dave

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