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October, 2011 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Author: Peter Kasper

September November
Oct 30Oct 29Oct 27Oct 23Oct 16Oct 18Oct 9Oct 6
Oct 2Oct 1

Sunday, October 30

Even though the strong winds made birding very difficult at times, the morning at Fermi turned out to be quite profitable. The best birds of the morning were a flyover Golden Eagle (appeared to be a 2nd year bird) at the Garden Club and an adult Harris's Sparrow in the Garden Club. Two Northern Shrikes were found; Peter and I had one along Swenson Road while Denis' class had one behind AE Sea. Denis noticed, interestingly, that the shrike was hunting somewhat like a kestrel above a tree with its main prey being American Robins. Following are some of the other birds seen between our two groups. First, in the sparrow Hedge area was a Northern Harrier, a female Ring-necked Pheasant, Yellow-rumped Warblers and Eastern Towhees. Lake Law produced a Pied-billed Grebe, several Hooded Mergansers and a flyover Ring-necked Duck. The list of other sparrows seen in several locations, but mostly in the Garden Club were the first American Tree Sparrows of the season, Song Sparrows, a Swamp Sparrow, Chipping Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows and a load of Dark-eyed Juncos. Eleven Species, not bad for the conditions. To round out the morning's birds, seen in various locations, were Belted Kingfishers, Hermit Thrushes, Eastern Bluebirds, and an American Kestrel. Dave

Saturday, October 29

The Red-necked Grebe reported earlier in the week was not found this morning. The only waterfowl seen this morning on Lake Law was a pair of Ring-necked Ducks and a Ruddy Duck. Also seen were several American Coots and a Pied-billed Grebe. A flyover Belted Kingfisher and Greater Yellowlegs rounded out the birds in the lakes area. American Black Ducks were in the Main Ring Moat while a Cooper's Hawk was seen flying in the area. Main Ring Woods produced a Brown Creeper, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, many Eastern Bluebirds, several Hermit Thrushes, several Fox Sparrows, many White-throated Sparrows and a Great Horned Owl. Dave

Thursday, October 27

A Red-necked Grebe was seen today in Lake Law by several observers. Dave

Sunday, October 23

It was a beautiful morning at Fermi today and the birding was equally satisfying. It was a morning of early and late season birds. The three highlights were all seen on the way to the Sparrow Hedge. First was a Northern Shrike which is typically first seen in the third week of Oct. Then there were several Sedge Wrens which tied for the latest sightings except for a single Nov. sighting and, finally, a Nelson's Sparrow which tied for the latest sighting and was also a first for the year. The other birds seen or heard in the Hedge area were Killdeer, Eastern Phoebe, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, Gray Catbird, Cedar Waxwing, Tennessee Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Swamp Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, and White-throated Sparrow. Geese numbers are rising slowly with more Canada Geese than in past weeks, at least one Cackling Goose and about a dozen Greater White-fronted Geese. However, other waterfowl still are not moving through. This morning's records were a single Ring-necked Duck on Lake Law and a single Blue-winged Teal on Nepese. A Winter Wren was also seen near Nepese marsh along with a bunch of Swamp Sparrows. Added to the morning's list from the Main Ring Woods were Hermit Thrush, Orange-crowned Warbler, Field Sparrow, and a couple of Great Horned Owls. Dave

Sunday, October 16

Denis and his class were at Fermi this morning and came up with the first Snow Goose of the year, yes none were recorded this spring. In the raptor department they had Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk and two Northern Harriers. The standout sparrows were Savannah Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, Lincoln's Sparrows and the first Dark-eyed Juncos of the season. Other birds of note were Pied-billed Grebe, Eastern Phoebe, House Wren, Eastern Bluebird, Orange-crowned Warbler, and Eastern Meadowlark. Dave

Tuesday, October 18

The first diving ducks of the fall migration were found in small numbers this morning. There were several Ring-necked Ducks on A.E. Sea and fifteen Ruddy Ducks on Lake Law. Sparrows still dominate the migrants seen throughout the Lab, with approximately half of those seen today being White-crowned Sparrows. The Sparrow Hedge area produced White-crowned Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, Fox sparrows and a Lincoln's Sparrow. Also in the area were Yellow-rumped Warblers, Palm Warblers, Eastern Towhees and a Cooper's Hawk seen at the eastern end of the Hedge, probably one of the residents. On my return from the Hedge a Sharp-shinned Hawk was resting in a tree, while he scanned the area for a meal. Nepese marsh produced a Pied-billed Grebe and several more Swamp Sparrows. Just north of Nepese was the first large flock of Dark-eyed Juncos of the season. There was a fair number of sparrows in the Garden Club but they were quite subdued. The reason for this behavior soon flashed by as a group of sparrows cringed in a nearby bush, a Cooper's Hawk. The hawk eventually flew off, but the sparrows remained quite shy. New species in the area were Field Sparrows and Chipping Sparrows, in addition to two more Lincoln's Sparrows. The Main Ring Moat had three American Black Ducks while an American Kestrel was perched just below the Osprey Nest. The Main Ring Woods had more of the same sparrows, but here the dominate species was the White-crowned Sparrow. Also seen here were Hermit Thrushes, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and the year's first Winter Wren. The Big Woods was devoid of migrants, with just a few of the local woodpeckers, etc. Dave

Sunday, October 9

This morning the Sparrow Hedge was blessed with a good quantity of late fall warblers, though not a lot of variety. The best activity was at the eastern end of the Hedge where the sun warming the trees. Seen were lots of Yellow-rumped Warblers, several Tennessee Warblers, Orange-crowned Warblers, Nashville Warblers and a Palm Warbler. Other birds observed in the area were Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Cedar Waxwings, White-crowned Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows. On our return from the Hedge several Eastern Towhees were seen and heard, in addition to a Sharp-shined Hawk. The only sighting of note near Nepese marsh was a flyover Caspian Tern. The Garden Club added several more birds to the morning's list including an Eastern Phoebe and several Field Sparrows, Lincoln's Sparrows, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and Indigo Buntings. Dave

Thursday, October 6

The migration at the Lab appears to have shifted from the earlier neotropical migrants to the later sparrows. The lakes of the Sparrow Hedge area were very quiet except for the still numerous Double-crested Cormorants. On the way back to the Hedge there were Yellow-rumped Warblers, Cedar Waxwings, Eastern Towhees, Swamp Sparrows, a Fox Sparrow and White-crowned Sparrows. The Hedge itself was fairly quiet with just White-throated Sparrows added to those already mentioned. A large flyover flock of blackbirds contained a good number of Common Grackles. On the way back to the car a Cooper's Hawk was flushed. Several American Crows were present in the area. I only mention these to document their continued resurgence. Nepese marsh was quiet with just one Northern Shoveler and a reluctant Sora that finally succumbed to the calls from my iPod. The Garden Club had all the same sparrows of the Hedge area plus Field Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows and a first of the year Clay-colored Sparrow. Also, a very agitated House Wren was scolding from one of the gardens. Main Ring Woods had many of the same sparrows and a bunch of Yellow-rumped Warblers. Finally, on the way to Wilson Hall a Turkey Vulture was seen circling the area. Dave

Sunday, October 2

The Sparrow Hedge area was hopping this morning with a good mixture of birds. First, a Caspian Tern was seen searching Lake Law. The Hedge actually started off quite slow but, activity quickly improved was we moved west along it. Birds seen were Several Chimney Swifts, an Eastern Phoebe, many House Wrens, a Brown Thrasher, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, several Tennessee Warblers, Nashville Warblers, many Yellow-rumped Warblers, a Magnolia Warbler, several Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, several Eastern Towhees and an Eastern Meadowlark. Also seen were a first for the year Cape May Warbler and first for the season Palm Warbler. Sparrows have started their movement south, seen were Field Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, and a Vesper Sparrow. The surprise for the morning was a Sandhill Crane heard then spotted on the ground in the reeds southwest of Lake Law. On the way back to the car a Sharp-shinned Hawk was seen flying southwest. The Nepese Marsh area produced several of the same sparrows, three Northern Shovelers and a Sora. Dave

Saturday, October 1

Sandhill Cranes were heard flying over during the seed harvest held inside the Main Ring today. Dave

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