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November, 2013 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Sunday, November 24, 2013

COLD is about the only comment one can make about this morning's weather. There were several small holes in the ice but for the most part Lake Law was frozen over. There were three Snow Geese on this ice along with a good number of Canada Geese, Mallards and a few Cackling Geese. We again had several groups of sparrows with Fox Sparrows the only birds of note. No other birds of note were found. Dave

Friday, November 22, 2013

It was quite windy with close to normal temperatures and a small number of snowflakes. Waterfowl remain unremarkable with Canada Geese, Mallards (lots), American Black Ducks, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Hooded Mergansers and a Common Goldeneye. The highlight of the morning was several Bonaparte's Gulls in and around Lake Law. There were several large groups of sparrows in various locations consisting mostly of the winter birds, American Tree Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. Also included in small numbers were Field Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, and White-crowned Sparrow. Dave

Sunday, November 17, 2013

It was mild and extremely windy this morning, with the wind having a major affect on the bird activity. In many locations birds were heard but could not be drawn out of their cover. The only waterfowl of mention were Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal and Hooded Merganser. Sparrows were not much better. Besides the expected American Tree Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos, we found Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow and White-throated Sparrow. Raptors were fairly well represented with Northern Harrier, Cooper's Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel (2) and a Great Horned Owl. The bird(s) of the day were about a half dozen Yellow-rumped Warblers in Main Ring Woods. We also had a Hairy Woodpecker, several Northern Flickers and a nice flock of Cedar Waxwings all inside the Main Ring. Dave

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It was quite cold this morning and the increasing winds negated the minimal temperature increase throughout the morning. Surprisingly, A.E. Sea was frozen enough to support my weight in some spots. We had a good run, but it appears that the shorebird season is just about over. The only shorebirds found were several Wilson's Snipe, while a couple of Killdeer were later found along Main Ring Road. Not much to list for waterfowl. Of note were Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Bufflehead and Hooded Merganser. Though not a lot of variety, there was a good quantity of sparrows with American Tree Sparrows (by far the most numerous, well over 100), Fox Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows (still a good number in the proper habitat), White-throated Sparrow (just one), and Dark-eyed Juncos. Some other birds of note were Cooper's Hawk, Northern Shrike, Golden-crowned Kinglet and Cedar Waxwing. The bird of the day was an adult Bald Eagle soaring over the village. But the highlight of the day was a Northern Harrier. It started with my viewing an American Coot through the scope on Main Ring Lake. Suddenly, a Northern Harrier appeared in my field of view; I then grabbed my binoculars to get a wider view. The harrier pounced at the coot but missed the diving bird. There were three coots in the area. Each time the harrier missed one of the diving coots the harrier would hover over the recent diver until the next coot surfaced. The harrier would then pounce at the closest coot, miss and hover again; this continued for about five minutes. Finally, one coot was too exhausted to get a breath and dive before the harrier could attack. The harrier grabbed the tired coot and sat on it keeping it below the water all the while keeping itself as much above the water as possible. The harrier would spread its wings regularly for lift to aid in its attempt to keep as dry as possible. The strong winds were a distinct advantage in the harrier's favor for this process. After about ten minutes the harrier easily lifted the now-drowned coot out of the water and flew to shore with its prize. What a great example of survival and failure in nature. Dave

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A brisk wind early this morning affected both birds and birders. Land birds were much more active on the leeward side of any habitat we birded. There was still a Dunlin and several Pectoral Sandpipers hanging around A.E. Sea. Waterfowl numbers were down some from Thursday. Found were Cackling Goose, Canada Goose, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck, and Hooded Merganser. The other birds of interest for the morning were: Northern Harrier (Main Ring), Sharp-shinned Hawk (Garden Club), American Coot, Sandhill Crane (several small groups flying high over the Lab), Northern Shrike (west of L.Law), American Crow (oddly 4 found in Main Ring), Red-breasted Nuthatch, Golden-crowned Kinglet, American Pipit (A.E. Sea), Fox Sparrow and White-throated Sparrow. On Friday Marcia and Gail added Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Savannah Sparrow, both needed for this week's list. Dave

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The morning started out bright and crisp, but as the morning progressed so did the wind and clouds. Early on only three shorebirds found were, two Dunlin and a Pectoral Sandpiper. More may have been in the shoreline vegetation but I never returned to investigate. Sparrow numbers were down another notch, as was their variety. Sparrows found were American Tree Sparrow (most numerous), Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow and Dark-eyed Junco. A.E. Sea had quite a few ducks but with little variety. Not having my scope I only found Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail and Green-winged Teal on A.E. Sea. Waterfowl found elsewhere were Cackling Goose, Lesser Scaup and Hooded Merganser. On Monday, Al had Gadwall and American Wigeon, both needed for the week's list. Other birds found were Cooper's Hawk (this one put a crimp in the Garden Club sparrow population), Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker (group of 7-8 birds) and American Pipit. Monday Al also added a Lapland Longspur also needed for the week while Peter added a Peregrine Falcon. Dave

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A beautiful, mostly sunny morning with a light fog early provided good birding conditions today. Other than the increasing number of Canada Geese, Northern Shovelers and Green-winged Teal, waterfowl have not really shown much movement. Other species found in small numbers were Greater White-fronted Goose, Cackling Goose, American Black Duck, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Lesser Scaup and Hooded Merganser. It was hide-and-seek with the shorebirds due to the high water and early ice forcing some birds into the vegetation. We had Lesser Yellowlegs and Pectoral Sandpipers walking on the ice early. Later in the morning Urs also found Greater Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper, Dunlin and Long-billed Dowitcher. Sparrow activity has slowed but there still was a very late Le Conte's Sparrow. Also of note was a fair number of Fox Sparrows (most were singing or chipping). Some other sightings of note were Great Egret, Cooper's Hawk, American Coot, Horned Lark, American Pipit, Cedar Waxwing and Common Grackle. In addition, Urs came up with a rare Franklin's Gull. Dave

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A quick trip to the Lab this morning to confirm the American Avocets for the first week in November, which is now the latest sighting for this species, was successful. Interestingly, of the two remaining Avocets one of these birds has an almost straight bill. The recent rains again filled A.E. Sea and greatly reduced the shorebird habitat. I was still able to find Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs (tied for latest sighting), Least Sandpiper and Pectoral Sandpiper. There's still a fair number of sparrows in the Hedge area - I found only the typical fall migrants. Waterfowl were not too productive, although there were good numbers of both Northern Shovelers and Green-winged Teal (both in A.E. Sea), and a Hooded Merganser on Lake Law. Several of birds worth mentioning were Pied-billed Grebe (several L.Law), Great Egret and American Coot (Main Ring Lake), and finally a very vocal Marsh Wren in the reeds along the Lake Law berm (our first November sighting). Marsha and Gail also added some good birds needed for this week's list including Blue-winged Teal (tied for latest sighting), American Avocet (they had them Friday), Brown Thrasher and Eastern Towhee (both very late sightings), and Field Sparrow. Peter has also been reporting recent Peregrine Falcon sightings, again around Wilson Hall. Dave

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