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November, 2017 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Marcia and Gail were in this morning. While they enjoyed the pleasant weather, the birds were not as accommodating. Another medium sized flock of American Crows (9) was found in the central area of the Lab. They also found a Horned Lark and both American Tree Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos in this area. Their best bird was a Belted Kingfisher found hunting along the Main Ring Moat. It's good to still have a kingfisher in the lab after experiencing some occasional ice cover. The question is will it stick around for the CBC in two weeks? Dave

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Although The main quarry of my late afternoon early evening trip to the Lab, a Screech-Owl, was not found there some interesting encounters. The feeders (Ed Center) had no notable species and the overall number of birds there was quite low. The lakes were just starting to receive their overnight visiting Canada Geese. No divers (goldeneyes and mergansers) were found with this influx. Three Great Horned Owls were found. The first was perched in a tree near the intersection of Batavia and Eola Roads. The second was inside the Main Ring, heard calling while I was playing a Screech-Owl tape. The third was a juvenile begging for food, most likely a sign of hard Love (it is that time of year). The bird of the trip was a Short-eared Owl, the first of the year in the Lab. It was flying over the berm into the Main Ring. Dave

Sunday, November 26, 2017

This morning's weather was much like that of Friday, being cool to start and sunny with a mild breeze. Lake Law was totally open today but did not yield much more than on Friday. Found there were Canada Geese, Cackling Geese, American Black Ducks, a Northern Shoveler, several Green-winged Teal, Sandhill Cranes (10) and a Great Blue Heron. Four American Crows were observed mobbing a perched Red-tailed Hawk near the Main Ring Berm. This action was made possible due to the recent increase in the crow population around the Lab. Unfortunately, the bird deemed the bird of the day was a Brown-headed Cowbird (due to the lateness of the sighting). Other birds of interest for the morning were Hooded Mergansers (about 10 in Main Ring Lake, mostly males), Bald Eagles (2- 1-adult and 1-an almost adult), a Cooper's Hawk, a Sharp- shinned Hawk (a flyby Peter observed near the Ed Center Feeders upon entering the Lab), a Hairy Woodpecker, Red-breasted Nuthatches, an Eastern Bluebird (heard) and finally a White-throated Sparrow and a White-crowned Sparrow (both at the Ed Ctr. Feeders). Dave

Saturday, November 25, 2017

During a short trip to the Lab today Peter found a Canvasback (DUSAF) and an American Kestrel. Dave

Friday, November 24, 2017

The temps started in the high 30's, then climbed into the mid 40's by afternoon. The sunny skies produced warmth, but the winds suppressed some of this affect. Over 90 percent of Lake Law was ice covered early and all birds were found along the south and west shores. That said, not much was found except for the expected Canada Geese, Cackling geese, Mallards, several Green- winged Teal and 5 Sandhill Cranes. Other birds found in the Sparrow Hedge area were a flyover Great Blue Heron, American Crows, Cedar Waxwings (about 20), American Tree Sparrows, Fox Sparrows (2-3), Song Sparrows and a Red-winged Blackbird. The Ed Center Feeders produced the typical winter feeder birds in addition to a Hairy Woodpecker, White-throated Sparrows (2) and a House Finch with a white cheek and a partially white crown. Found inside the Main Ring were a Ring-necked Duck, a Northern Pintail, Common Mergansers (3-Fem; firsts of the season), American Coots and several Pine Siskins (3-4). Other highlight birds found around the Lab were Northern Shovelers, Great Horned Owls (pr), Horned Larks, Eastern Bluebirds (about a half doz.) and Dark-eyed Juncos. Dave

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Dave Shemanske reported finding several Sandhill Cranes forging in the fields along South Eola Road. This is the approximate area we thought we heard the cranes calling from on Sunday. Dave

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The morning was mostly cloudy, quite breezy and in the low 30's. The highlights at Lake Law were Snow Geese (3-white), several Cackling Geese and Tundra Swans (11 that took flight before everyone was settled on the berm). Also found were several Green- wing Teal, a Great Blue Heron and Sandhill Cranes (heard calling somewhere south of the Sparrow Hedge). Not much activity and nothing interesting found at the Ed Center Feeders. Only typical winter birds were found including Red-breasted Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, Blue Jays, Black-capped Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches, American Goldfinches, House Finches and Dark-eyed Juncos. We watched an Immature Cooper's Hawk as it observed a Red-tailed Hawk ripping apart a large bird (most likely a goose) in a grassy area. The Cooper's was most likely hoping for some leftovers for its breakfast. Also found were Northern Harriers (2-hunting inside the Main Ring), an Immature Bald Eagle (perched atop a dead tree also in the Main Ring) and a large group of American Crows (15-16 in the Lab's interior). The bird of the morning was a very late Vesper Sparrow (the Lab's latest sighting by 2 weeks in almost 20 years). Dave

Friday, November 17, 2017

Partly sunny skies soon became overcast with moderate temps (mid 30's to low 40's) and moderately strong winds. Not as many Canada Geese were on Lake Law to start as other recent visits (around 1500). Also at the lake were Cackling Geese, Mallards, Green-winged Teal and Sandhill Cranes (5). Water birds found in A.E. Sea and the Sea of Evanescence were American Black Ducks, Northern Shovelers, a Hooded Merganser (1-Fem), and Great Blue Herons (6- Sea of E). Other birds in the area were a Belted Kingfisher, American Tree Sparrows, Fox Sparrows (10-15) and Dark-eyed Juncos. It was quite a good morning for raptors starting with 3 Bald Eagles (1-adult and 2-Immatures) that were seen throughout my stay, mostly over Lake Law. Also found were 2 Northern Harriers hunting in the Sparrow Hedge area. Found elsewhere were a Cooper's Hawk, Red-tailed Hawks and an American Kestrel. Highlights found around the Lab were a Snow Goose (a blue in Main Ring Lake), Horned Larks, American Coots, Red-breasted Nuthatches, a Golden-crowned Kinglet, a White-throated Sparrow and Purple Finches (2-males at Ed Center Feeders). Dave

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Overcast skies, calm winds and cool temps greeted us early. Luckily the rain held off until our departure. Among the Canada Geese and Cackling Geese on Lake Law were 4 Snow Geese (3-white, 1-blue). Other birds at the lake were Northern Shovelers (1 or 2 here, others elsewhere), Green-winged Teal (still well represented), Hooded Mergansers, a Bald Eagle (sub-adult, working the west shoreline)), American Coots, Sandhill Cranes and a Killdeer (a flyover). All other birds were found in various locations around the lab. Other than several Fox Sparrows, only the winter sparrows were found, both American Tree Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. Other birds found for the morning were Wood Ducks, American Black Ducks, Ring-necked Ducks, American Crows (comments were made about how much more common they have become recently), Red-breasted Nuthatches, a Golden-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-rumped Warblers (2-3) and a flyover Red-winged Blackbird (which was missed on Friday). Dave

Friday, November 10, 2017

The morning started out in the teens and barely reached the freezing mark by early afternoon. In addition, it was partly cloudy and calm changing to cloudy and windy with occasional flurries. Lake Law was again loaded with Canada Geese and quite a few Mallards; plus American Black Ducks (pr), several Green-winged Teal and about a dozen Bufflehead (1-male and the rest females). The number of Sandhill Cranes at the lake had increased to 48. Other birds found in the Lakes/Sparrow Hedge Region were a couple of Great Blue Herons, American Coots (2-Sea of E), a Wilson's Snipe (A.E. Sea), Fox Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. Sparrows found elsewhere (all sparrows were in small numbers) were American Tree Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows. Other birds found throughout the Lab were Wood Ducks (about a dozen), a Ring-necked Duck, Hooded Mergansers (about a dozen), Double-crested Cormorants, a Killdeer (flyover), a Horned Lark, a Hairy Woodpecker, and a Yellow-rumped Warbler (in the Village). The big miss of the morning was not finding a single blackbird. The best bird of the morning was a perched Rough-legged Hawk (inside the Main Ring) being harassed by a Northern Harrier. Dave

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Glenn was back bright and early this morning for another short trip. He reported the Canada Geese ( over 6500) were back at Lake Law and other areas this morning. Yesterday afternoon they may have been on the south side of the Lab or in the Ring Lakes. Also at Lake Law were the Tundra Swans (pr), Cackling Geese (4) and a couple of Greater White-fronted Geese. Apparently the same 25 Sandhill Cranes were also still at Lake Law. Other birds found around the Lab were Wood Ducks (3), American Black Ducks (5), Red-breasted Nuthatches (2), a Marsh Wren (calling in the A.E. Sea area) and Pine Siskins (first of the year). Dave

Monday, November 6, 2017

Dave Shemanske today reported again seeing a Bald Eagle carrying sticks to Osprey Nest 2. Glenn was in later in the day for a short trip. Interestingly he only found about 130 Canada Geese along his route (and he was at the premium Ag Fields), quite a difference from the past several weeks. At Lake Law he found a pair of Tundra Swans, an adult Black-crowned Night-Heron and a whooping 25 Sandhill Cranes (those numbers are typically only found in the fields). Other birds he found, mostly in the north of the Lab, were an American Kestrel, a Swamp Sparrow (not typically where we look for sparrows) and an extremely low count of Red-winged Blackbirds (41). I only mention the blackbirds because of their low count. Strangely this season's numbers of blackbirds in general have been quite low, maybe this cold snap will bring more down (hopefully, with some variety). Dave

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The morning was quite dreary but mild with minimal winds. As a bonus, the rain did not start until late morning. Lake Law again had loads of Canada Geese early. The variety of other waterfowl was poor. Those found were Cackling Geese, Gadwall, American Black Ducks, Green-winged Teal and Ring-necked Ducks. Sparrow activity was way down from Thursday's visit. Those found, all in small numbers, were American Tree Sparrows (most numerous and largest number this season), Fox Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. About half way back to the Hedge, Peter thought he spotted a fly off Merlin. We spent most of the remainder of our tine in the area trying to relocate the bird. After a loop of the area and back at the Lake Law berm, Peter found it half way up in a small tree. After a short time this bird moved off and a second one moved up from below to fill the vacancy. The only other highlights in this area were a Northern Harrier (a flyover), a single Great Egret, and a Belted Kingfisher. Other good birds found elsewhere in the Lab were Wilson's Snipes (4), a Northern Flicker, Red-breasted Nuthatches (first of the year), Eastern Bluebirds, Cedar Waxwings and Common Grackles. Dave

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Temps were about average, winds were calm and the cloudy skies occasionally produced a light mist this morning. Sparrows in the Sparrow Hedge area were quite active, consisting mainly of Song Sparrows and Swamp Sparrows. Others found in the area, in decreasing numbers, were White-throated Sparrows, American Tree Sparrows, Fox Sparrows and a Field Sparrow. Waterfowl diversity in the Lakes Region was down. Those found were Canada Geese (easily a couple of thousand), Wood Ducks, Gadwall, Mallards, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Ducks, a Lesser Scaup and Hooded Mergansers (pr). Other birds of interest found in the area were Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a Golden-crowned Kinglet and a Yellow-rumped Warbler (in the cattails of all places). Later a flock of these warblers about a dozen were found. Highlights found in other areas of the Lab were a Pied-billed Grebe, Snow Geese (2), an American Black Duck, Ruddy Ducks, a pair of Cooper's Hawks (most likely the Garden Club residents), American Coots, Merlin (my 4th of the year in the Lab), Eastern Bluebirds, an Eastern Towhee, White-crowned Sparrows (probably the most numerous sparrow species of the morning) and Dark-eyed Juncos. What may have been the same Sandhill Crane family which bred in the Lab were again seen near their original nesting area. Marcia and Gail were also in this morning and had a nice mix of birds to report. Ironically, they also saw the Merlin in possibly the same tree inside the Main Ring, but they saw it about 3 1/2 hours before me. They estimated about 3000 Canada Geese were in the Ag fields on the north side of the Lab. Other waterfowl of interest were Gadwall, Northern Shovelers,and Cackling Geese. They did well with Sparrows finding an American Tree Sparrow, Savannah Sparrows (2), Fox Sparrows (6), Song Sparrows (6), White-throated Sparrows (6), White-crowned Sparrows(2) and Dark-eyed Juncos (33). Their favorite bird of the morning was a beautiful adult male Purple Finch (3 finches were found). Other birds of interest were a Cooper's Hawk, Sandhill Cranes (3), American Coots, Belted Kingfishers (pr), an Eastern Towhee and Common Grackles. Dave

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