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November, 2016 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Marcia and Gail were out monitoring birds in the Lab this morning which started out nicely with sunny blue skies. Unfortunately, conditions soon became cloudy and windy. Birds they found in the Main and Injector Ring areas were Common Goldeneye (5), a Pied-billed Grebe, Great Blue Herons (3), an American Kestrel, American Crows (5 - not typically found in the Ring areas), American Robins, Cedar Waxwings, American Tree Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. Dave

Sunday, November 27, 2016

It was cool and a little foggy to start but, as the morning wore on, it got more foggy, more windy and cooler. There was more sparrow activity than had been seen for several weeks. Sparrows found in the Sparrow Hedge area were American Tree Sparrows (most numerous species), Fox Sparrows (well represented), Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows and one or two White-throated Sparrows. Found elsewhere were several small groups of Dark-eyed Juncos. Waterfowl found between A.E. Sea the Sea of Evanescence were Canada Geese (small numbers), American Black Ducks, Mallards, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails (3) and Green-winged Teal. Other birds found in these areas were an American Crow, Cedar Waxwings (flyovers), Northern Cardinals (fairly large group) and House Finches (one male was bright red). Other birds found in several locations around the Lab were Common Goldeneye (2 pr.), Great Blue Herons, American Kestrels (4), a Killdeer, a Horned Lark (heard) and American Robins (in a feeding frenzy at some honeysuckle bushes). Peter mentioned observing three Sandhill Cranes (probably the recently resident birds) during the past week. Dave

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The morning was quite cold, partly cloudy with mild winds. The sub freezing temps overnight were sufficient to completely cover A.E. Sea with a layer of ice, thus no bird activity. The Sea of Evanescence was ice-covered as well except for a small opening which a Canada Goose was struggling to fit into. Among the several Canada Geese on the ice were 2 juvenile Snow Geese (one white and one dark). Lake Law was fully open but had only a small quantity of waterfowl including Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, a Canvasback, a Bufflehead and a pair of Hooded Mergansers. A couple of groups of sparrows were encountered in the Sparrow Hedge area which included American Tree Sparrows, Fox Sparrows (a good number, but hard to count) and White-throated Sparrows. All in all it was a pretty slow morning with the only other birds of note around the Lab being several Great Blue Herons, an American Kestrel, an Eastern Bluebird and American Robins. Yesterday, Nov. 19 a Greater Yellowlegs (second to the last sighting in the lab for this species) was reported in the Lab, I assume at A.E. Sea. This will probably be one of the last shorebirds of the year. We did not even have any Killdeer today. Dave

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The conditions were very pleasant for a late afternoon visit to the Lab today; with above average temps, mild winds and mostly sunny skies. The only waterfowl of note at A.E. Sea were a large flock of Green-winged Teal (around 85) and a pair of Northern Pintail. Other birds in the area were a Great Blue Heron, American Tree Sparrows and a Swamp Sparrow. Sparrows were sparse throughout the Lab, but I did add several Fox Sparrows and a bunch of Dark-eyed Juncos in the Garden Club. Again, the local Cooper's Hawk was on patrol in the Garden Club which probably suppressed the passerine activity there. As dusk was beginning I saw a large, light bird with dark wings flying to the west over South Eola Road. I hurried over to Main Ring Lake and sure enough I found an American White Pelican (now the latest sighting for the Lab) in the water with a large number of Canada Geese, a pair of American Black Ducks and several Hooded Mergansers. Other birds found before dark were American Coots (over 100 in Lake Logo), a Great Horned Owl, an American Crow and several Eastern Bluebirds. Dave

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The morning started out quite cool, enough to put a thin ice cover over approx. 60 percent of A.E. Sea. The only waterfowl of note there were Northern Shovelers and Green-winged Teal. Added at the Sea of Evanescence were Hooded Mergansers. Also at A.E. Sea were Killdeer and a Wilson's Snipe. A pair of Sandhill Cranes were seen foraging in a northern corn field as were several Horned Larks and Lapland Longspurs. An American Kestrel was also seen patrolling the area. The sparrows, though not abundant, did still have some variety including American Tree Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, Song Sparrows, a Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. The two birds we deemed the "birds of the day" are on opposite ends of the yearly distribution charts. First, we had late Great Egrets (2 - tied for the latest sighting in the Lab) fly over A.E. Sea. Then, as we were leaving, a fairly early Rough-legged Hawk was found hunting on the east side of North Eola Road. Dave

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Glenn was out for some late morning birding today and witnessed some more seasonal changes in the birds found around the Lab. Numbers were down at A.E. Sea. Found there were Northern Shovelers (only 3), Northern Pintail (3), Green-winged Teal (still in reasonable numbers with 83) and Ruddy Ducks (5). Other waterfowl found in the Main Ring were Canada Geese (450 - lowest count in quite awhile) and Greater White-fronted Geese (22). Also found there was a pair of Pied-billed Grebes. There was still some diversity in the sparrows found around the Lab including American Tree Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows and Dark-eyed Sparrows. Three Sandhill Cranes were found in the Bison Wallow - most likely the same ones around the Lab for the last several months. Other birds of note found around the Lab were an American Kestrel, Horned Larks (20), Lapland Longspurs (52), Red-winged Blackbirds (75) and Rusty Blackbirds (5). His bird(s) of the morning were 9 flyover American White Pelicans (tied for the latest sightings in the Lab). Dave

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The morning started cool, calm and very foggy. With the heavy fog in the Lakes/Sparrow Hedge Region it would have been hard to see anything on A.E. Sea. I decided, instead, to try the Garden Club. There I could hear many sparrows but find few. The problem was soon found in the form of a Cooper's Hawk perched upon a post near the Club's center. After the hawk flushed, the sparrows started to show themselves more readily. Found throughout the area were Song Sparrows (a group of 15-20 migrants), a few White-throated Sparrows, a good number of White-crowned Sparrows (20 plus), Dark-eyed Juncos (lots, now the most numerous species) and the first American Tree Sparrows (about 10-15) of the season. Found at other areas of the Lab were several Swamp Sparrows and a good number of Fox Sparrows (15-20 in Main Ring Woods). American Crows (5) have become more common over the last several weeks, especially on the east side of the Lab. The fog was still too heavy for doing A.E. Sea around 9:00. The fog was not near as thick on the Lab's west side. A large flock of Canada Geese in an Ag field along West Wilson also produced several Greater White-fronted Geese. A quick loop around the Big Woods produced most of the expected species in addition to a Hairy Woodpecker (not always expected) and a Winter Wren. Also of note on the Lab's west side were a couple of American Kestrels and an Eastern Meadowlark. Dave

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Marcia and Gail had another rainy morning, but most of it came later in their visit. They had a better sparrow morning than we did on Sunday finding a Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrows (6), Swamp Sparrows (2) and Dark-eyed Juncos (2). They found a large flock of around 100 Mourning Doves (possibly migrants) in the area of the Rings. Other birds of interest found this morning were Wood Ducks (2), a Pied-billed Grebe, a Great Egret ( a late one still hanging around) and an American Kestrel. Dave

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