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November, 2015 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Seasonal temps, partly cloudy skies and mild winds provided a very nice morning for birding in the Lab. Unfortunately, these agreeable conditions did not produce much birdlife. The waterfowl migration continues to be somewhat of a disappointment. Found on Lake Law were American Black Ducks, Common Goldeneyes, and Common Mergansers, all in small numbers. At the same time several Lapland Longspurs flew over the lake. Found inside the Main Ring were Hooded Mergansers and a Pied-billed Grebe. A Great Horned Owl was found peeking out of a woodlot in the North Roads area. Also found there was several Horned Larks. Other birds of note were a Northern Harrier, American Kestrels (1-Main Injector area and 1-North Roads) and a Red-breasted Nuthatch (in the Village). Yesterday (Sat.), Marcia and Gail were in doing their monitoring in the areas of the Rings. For raptors they had a Cooper's Hawk, Red-tailed Hawks, and an impressive four American Kestrels. The Sandhill Cranes were moving, they spotted about 70 flyovers. I'm really surprised we had none on Sunday morning, I had large numbers in the afternoon around home today. Other birds of interest were Great Blue Herons (2), Northern Flickers (2) and an American Crow (not found too often near the center of the Lab). Dave

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Another beautiful start to a morning of birding in the Lab with above normal temps, mostly sunny skies and moderate winds. It did cloud up later but the temperature remained pleasant. There were only Mallards and Canada Geese on Lake Law, but the Sea of Evanescence produced several Northern Shovelers. Later, three Green-winged Teal were found on DUSAF Pond. The Sparrow in the Lakes region had shifted to almost exclusively American Tree Sparrows except for one group of birds at the southeast area of the Sparrow Hedge. The flock consisted of Fox Sparrows (over a half dozen), Song Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos and of course American Tree Sparrows. Swamp Sparrows were later added near DUSAF. Several Great Blue Herons were still in the Lakes Region. The Garden Club was as quiet as I have ever heard it as were most of the other locations I visited. The feeders quite active, but only the typical year-round and winter residents. The only other bird of mention was a flushed Great Horned Owl on the west side of the Lab. Glenn had a very good day yesterday starting with a Greater Yellowlegs at the edge of a frozen A.E. Sea. He relocated one of the Wilson's Snipe found on Sunday in a ditch on the west side. A Pied-billed Grebe was again found inside the Main Ring. Horned Larks were found in several locations throughout the Lab and Lapland Longspurs (3) were along the North Roads. Other birds found as the morning warmed were a Great Horned Owl, an American Crow, a Brown Creeper, a Hermit Thrush and a White-crowned Sparrow. Dave

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The morning began cold and clear with a mild wind and snow cover. Both American Tree Sparrows and Cedar Waxwings were found in many locations. Dark-eyed Juncos were spotty, but we did have a nice "Oregon" Dark-eyed Junco near the center of the Lab. A couple of Wilson's Snipes were found in one of the still open creeks. Several Northern Flickers, an American Kestrel and around a half dozen Eastern Bluebirds were found in the Main Injector area. Waterfowl were sparse except for several large groups of Canada Geese and several Greater White-fronted Geese (in the Buffalo Fields). In the open waters around the Lab, several Gadwall, Common Goldeneyes and Hooded Mergansers were found. Also found was a Pied-billed Grebe (L.Law), a Northern Harrier, Horned Larks (North Roads), American Robins (again in many locations) and Red-winged Blackbirds (in diminishing numbers from past visits). Dave

Friday, November 20, 2015

It was another late afternoon trip to the Lab today. The wind was a nonfactor for the first visit in sometime. Later, the beginning snow had some impact as darkness approached. Main Ring Lake provided some diversity in water birds including a Pied-billed Grebe, a Lesser Scaup, a Bufflehead (both of these were females), Hooded Mergansers (about 20), several Ruddy Ducks, and an American Coot. A Great Horned Owl was heard hooting along Eola Road. Main Ring Woods produced a Hairy Woodpecker and Fox Sparrow. The most interesting experience started in MRW by hearing a group of Sandhill Cranes flying overhead. As their calls faded, I assumed they flew off. A little later, outside the woods, I heard a couple of crane calls. I drove around to the south end of the Ring and, sure enough, 26 Sandhill Cranes soon rose from a marshy area. All except one headed south. This one circled and went back to the original takeoff area. Several minutes later two more groups of 12 and 19 cranes arose and also headed south. Light was fading and I wondered if any remained to spend the night. Glenn was able to find what I missed, that being a Short-eared Owl as darkness fell. It was in a strange location flying from the Main Ring over the Ring's berm toward the Main Injector. On Thursday he also had another one in a more typical location, along North Eola Road. Dave

Sunday, November 15, 2015

It was a beautiful but rather uneventful morning of birding at the Lab today. The bird of the day was a Merlin spotted by Glenn before anyone else arrived. Waterfowl were sparse with only Gadwall , Lesser Scaup and Hooded Mergansers worthy of note. Sparrow numbers continue to drop in both number of species and overall number of birds. Found were American Tree Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. A highlight was several mixed flocks of Horned Larks and Lapland Longspurs in the soybean fields on the north end of the Lab. Other birds of note were a juvenile Northern Harrier, a couple of American Kestrels and a Hairy Woodpecker. Dave

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Glenn was in the Lab today and again had a couple of late birds including an Eastern Meadowlark (Buffalo Fields) and, again, a Marsh Wren at A.E. Sea. Some of his other sightings were a Northern Pintail (Sea of Evanescence), a Ruddy Duck (Main Ring Lake) and an American Kestrel (male on Wilson Rd). He also reported a Cattle Egret (I assume by the Buffalo Wallow) on Tuesday. Dave

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A late afternoon, early evening visit to the Lab was intended to be all about owls but all I could come up with was a single Great Horned Owl. The heavy winds with strong gusts were the major issue. Short-eared Owls were one of the species I was searching for. The main target area, inside the Main Ring, was occupied by three Northern Harriers fighting the wind as they hunted. Included was a "Grey Ghost" male and two brightly colored juveniles. Finally, a Rough-legged Hawk showed up in the same area. If the short-eareds were in the area, there were certainly enough deterrents to keep them on the ground. Earlier in the day Gail was in to do some of her monitoring. Many of her sightings were of the typical resident birds of the Lab. Other birds of note were an American Kestrel, American Tree Sparrows, several White-throated Sparrows (12), Red-winged Blackbirds (2 groups) and a Common Grackle. Dave

Sunday, November 8, 2015

It was quite cold this morning as indicated by our first ice of the season (mostly on the edges of A.E. Sea and DUSAF). Otherwise it was quite pleasant with sunny skies and minimal wind. The passerines were quite still early on, but soon came to life. Most of the expected sparrows were, again, in the Hedge-Lakes region. Overall numbers are still diminishing. Found were American Tree Sparrows, Fox Sparrows (some singing), Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. Water birds found in the Lakes Region were a Pied-billed Grebe, Cackling Geese, Greater White-fronted Geese (actually found in the Buffalo fields), Gadwall, American Wigeon, American Black Ducks, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails, Green-winged Teal (still lots around), Hooded Mergansers, Ruddy Ducks and Killdeer. Highlight birds found mostly on the east side of the Lab were a Northern Harrier, a Cooper's Hawk, American Kestrels (2-Main Injector area), a Northern Flicker, Northern Shrike, a Marsh Wren (next to the latest sighting), Golden-crowned Kinglet, and a Pine Siskin. Later, in the early afternoon Glenn added a couple of Brown Creepers in the Big Woods. Denis reported a Great Egret (another bird at the edge of its yearly distribution) during midweek at Swan Lake. Finally, I had two Northern Harriers hunting the main Ring Prairie on Saturday morning. Dave

Monday, November 2, 2015

Glenn reported 14 Dunlin are back in the area, I assume at A.E. Sea. Other information from him listed the other birds of interest found as a Ring-necked Pheasant, a Marsh Wren (still at A.E. Sea) and a Golden-crowned Kinglet. Dave

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Bright and sunny with a moderate wind and seasonal temps for the morning at the Lab. Lots of Canada Geese were on A.E. Sea early. Other birds found there and on Lake Law were Pied-billed Grebe, Gadwall, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck and American Coot. The only shorebirds found were Greater Yellowlegs and a Dunlin. Sparrows are still around in decent numbers with some changes. First, Swamp Sparrows were almost nonexistent after being, by far, the dominant species last week. Sparrows found were American Tree Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Lincoln's Sparrows (several, tied for latest sighting week), Swamp Sparrow (one possibly two), White-throated Sparrows (second most abundant species), White-crowned Sparrows (most abundant species) and a Dark-eyed Junco. Other birds of interest for the morning started with probably the same Northern Shrike seen last week in the between-the-Lakes area. Others were Cedar Waxwings (still around in good numbers), a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebirds, a Yellow-rumped Warbler, a Purple Finch and a Common Grackle. Dave

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