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October, 2015 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Friday, October 30, 2015

Marcia was in this morning and had much more pleasant weather than I had yesterday. It sounds like she had more passerines enjoying the positive weather also. She had some Cedar Waxwings and sparrows were still around with some variety including American Tree Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos and a single Swamp Sparrow. A lone Eastern Towhee was a highlight, being one week before its typical last showing. In Main Ring Lake she found some water birds including Pied-billed Grebes, Greater White-fronted Geese (9), Wood Ducks (Indian Creek), and several Green-winged Teal. Dave

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The weather this morning was nasty. It was cloudy, cold with whitecaps on Lake Law - need I say more. Later, occasional light showers added to the "cheery" morning. Passerines in the Lakes region were very subdued due to the high winds. Sparrows were poor. When flushed they would immediately fly a short distance and drop out of sight. Only Song Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows were found. A.E. Sea did produce waterfowl and shorebirds, while several American Pipits still remain in the area. The bulk of the waterfowl were Green-winged Teal (approx. 200). In addition several each of Northern Shovelers and Gadwall were present. Shorebirds showed a little more diversity including Killdeer (80 plus), Greater Yellowlegs (10-12), a Lesser Yellowlegs, Dunlin (20) and a Wilson's Snipe. Sheltered in a corner of DUSAF Pond, out of the wind, were seven Great Egrets and three Great Blue Herons. There was quite a bit more activity in the sheltered Garden Club where White-crowned Sparrows (30 plus), Fox Sparrows and an American Kestrel were added. The west side of the Big Woods was very quiet, while the east (leeward) side showed some activity. Among the expected woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches and blackbirds were a couple of Golden-crowned Kinglets and several Rusty Blackbirds. Finally, among about 200 Canada Geese on Main Ring Lake were several Cackling Geese. Dave

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The morning started out a little brisk and sunny with very little wind. Other than Canada Geese, there was not a large number of waterfowl. There were, however, a fairly good variety including Cackling Geese, Wood Ducks, Gadwall, American Black Ducks, Mallards, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Ducks and Ruddy Ducks. There was also a good variety of late season shorebirds with Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpipers, Dunlins, a White-rumped Sandpiper, a Baird's Sandpiper, a Short-billed Sandpiper and a Wilson's Snipe. Seen today were a large number of Swamp Sparrows joined by American Tree Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Song Sparrows, White-throated Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. Other highlights were Pied-billed Grebes, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Eastern Phoebe (late), Marsh Wren (late), Golden-crowned Kinglets, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Brown-headed Cowbirds, a Hermit Thrush, several Purple Finches (Sparrow Hedge) and, the bird of the day, an early Northern Shrike. Later, Glenn added 4 Greater White-fronted Geese and a Belted Kingfisher. Again, all of today's birding was done on the east side of the Lab. Dave

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Here are some of the sightings from this past week that I received while on my fall camping trip. First, last Sunday's highlights were some Dunlins, three Orange-crowned Warblers (fairly high daily number for this species), Fox Sparrows and a Le Conte's Sparrow. Peter reported a Turkey Vulture around Wilson's Hall, while a Merlin was reported on Wednesday. Dave

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Marcia and Gail were in this morning doing their monitoring of both Rings. Here are their highlights. First, both a Northern Harrier and Cooper's Hawk were found. Next, an Eastern Towhee was still in the area along with a good number of Cedar Waxwings (this has been a very good year for them). Sparrows found included White-throated Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows and a couple of Lincoln's Sparrows. Dave

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Al Stokie was in the Lab this morning and accumulated an impressive list of birds. The waterfowl highlights were Gadwall, Northern Shovelers, American Wigeon, Northern Pintails, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, a Ring-necked Duck and Ruddy Ducks. Shorebirds found were Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpipers, a White-rumped Sandpiper and a Wilson's Snipe. Other interesting sightings were an adult Bald Eagle, a Northern Harrier, a Cooper's Hawk, a Sora, an American Coot, Bonaparte's Gull, American Pipits, an Orange-crowned Warbler and Purple Finches. Dave

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The morning started sunny, cool with a mild wind. It warmed up as the morning wore on while the winds increased only minimally. When I started on the east side of A.E. Sea, a large flock of Dark-eyed Juncos flew into the lab from the northeast and dispersed around the Sea. Both Greater Yellowlegs and Lesser Yellowlegs still remain in and around A.E. Sea along with American Pipits and, of course, Killdeer. Some of the Green-winged Teal are starting to show their true colors. Waterfowl are slowly arriving, found on Lake Law were Canada Geese (in increasing numbers), Gadwall, American Wigeon, Northern Shovelers, and Ring-necked Ducks. There were also Pied-billed Grebe there. Sparrows were quite active in the area including a Le Conte's Sparrow, a Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrows (most I've seen this season), Lincoln's Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows (most numerous aside from the juncos mentioned earlier), White-throated Sparrows, and White-crowned Sparrows. Added in the Garden Club were a Field Sparrow and several Savannah Sparrows. Other birds found in the Sparrow Hedge area were a Cooper's Hawk (buzzing the Hedge low), an Eastern Phoebe, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, an Eastern Bluebird, a Hermit Thrush (first of the season), and a couple of Purple Finches. Peter also reported a Snow Goose by Swan Lake on the west side of the Lab. Dave

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The morning started sunny and breezy but a little cool although it warmed up fast. Again the whole morning was spent on the east side of the Lab. It was an interesting morning in that we had a number of birds that were at or near the edge of their typical yearly Fermilab distribution. First was a migrant Osprey (next to the latest fall sighting week) heading south along the Lab's eastern boundary. Other birds "near the edge" were a Green Heron (new latest sighting), several Chimney Swifts (next to the latest sighting date), Barn Swallows (again next to the latest sighting date) and an American Tree Sparrow (tied for the earliest fall sighting). A.E. Sea provided some interesting birds starting with three White-rumped Sandpipers and several American Pipits foraging the edge of the shoreline plants (first of the year). The only other shorebirds were Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs and Lesser Yellowlegs. The only new waterfowl was a male Northern Pintail joined by the expected Northern Shovelers and Green-winged Teal. Sparrows were our main targets; found were American Tree Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Le Conte's Sparrow (found by Glenn before our arrival), Song Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow (been a good year for these), Swamp Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows (again, most abundant sparrow). Other birds found in the Sparrow Hedge area were an Eastern Phoebe, a Marsh Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Cedar Waxwings, Eastern Bluebirds, Yellow-rumped Warblers and Palm Warblers. Besides more sparrows, both Rusty Blackbirds and a Brown-headed Cowbird were added at the Garden Club. Lastly, Dave Shemanske reported Sandhill Cranes flying over the village on Friday. Dave

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Marcia and Gail today had many of the same birds on the west and central portions of the Lab today as were found yesterday. Plus they added a Wood Ducks, a Cooper's Hawk, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Common Grackles. Dave

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Weather-wise it was an almost perfect start to the morning being mostly cloudy, mild with no wind. The wind picked up throughout the morning as the sun slowly took over the skies. Despite these favorable conditions, the birds were quiet and did not show much movement to start. After awhile the birds perked up and showed some life. The one exception, again, the American Goldfinches which were feeding everywhere. Sparrows were the bulk of the action in the Sparrow Hedge area including Song Sparrows, Lincoln's Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows (most abundant species today, Swamp Sparrows second) and Dark-eyed Juncos (first of the season). Other than one Nashville Warbler, most of the warblers were Yellow-rumped Warblers with some Palm Warblers. Mixed in with these warblers were several each of Golden-crowned Kinglets and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Again at A.E. Sea there were no new waterfowl for the week, but the first American Coots of the season were together in a tight group (approx. 40). Shorebirds at the Sea are again diminishing. Found were several each of Greater Yellowlegs and Lesser Yellowlegs and a Solitary Sandpiper. The Garden Club had all the same sparrows as the Hedge plus a Chipping Sparrow. Other birds found, mostly on the west side of the Lab, were a Hairy Woodpecker, House Wrens, Marsh Wrens, Cedar Waxwings, Eastern Towhees, and Indigo Buntings. My favorite sighting of the morning was coming upon what appeared to be a sleeping Great Horned Owl on a tree limb on the west side. All of a sudden the owl dropped down and pounced onto the path. Unfortunately for him he missed his target, but it was neat to see a Great Horned actively hunting in the middle of the day. Finally, Peter reported finding a Belted Kingfisher yesterday, probably by Swan Lake. Dave

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Finally, there was some relief from the strong northeast winds we've had for almost a week. The birds definitely appeared to respond by being more active and readily available for viewing. Beyond this the day was cool and overcast. Our morning was spent wholly on the east side of the Lab. Our best bird of the morning was found early on. It was an early Lapland Longspur (tied for the earliest fall migrant for this species). Better than this was the experience of the sighting. The longspur was on the Lake Law berm feeding among the gravel of the trail. We were able to approach to within approx. 10 feet of the bird (of course I did not have my camera). This was a remarkable experience, only matched by the fact that Denis' group had the same experience about a half hour later. Sparrows are now the key family of interest around the Lab. Sparrows found were Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow (still most abundant), White-crowned Sparrow (a close second in abundance) and White-throated Sparrow. Not a lot of diversity in shorebirds was found. We had the typical Killdeer, a Stilt Sandpiper and a good number of Greater Yellowlegs (15 to 20) all seen from the west side of A.E. Sea. We went around Owl's Nest Woods to the south side of the Sea to get a better view, but when we got there all the shorebirds were gone. We questioned why they were gone. The answer came from Denis, who was behind us, reporting a Peregrine Falcon had flown by them carrying a yellowlegs. There were no new waterfowl to report for the week. Warbler numbers were down, but we did add a Nashville Warbler and a Orange-crowned Warbler to the expected Yellow-rumped Warblers, Palm Warblers and Common Yellowthroats found. Other birds found during the morning were a Green Heron, Coopers Hawks (4 or 5), Soras (heard), an Eastern Phoebe, a House Wren, Marsh Wrens, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a Swainson's Thrush, Cedar Waxwings, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Buntings and several Rusty Blackbirds. Dave

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The morning was partly cloudy, cool and quite windy. These winds did have an effect on the birds in such a way that "if" the sparrows flushed, they would drop out of sight into the foliage. Most of the warblers did not appear to be greatly affected. Speaking of warblers, only the late season warblers were found with a good number of Palm Warblers and Yellow-rumped Warblers (which outnumbered the Palms at least 4 to 1). There were also several Common Yellowthroats. Sparrows found in the Sparrow Hedge Area were Song Sparrows, Lincoln's Sparrows (3), Swamp Sparrows (most abundant species), a White-throated Sparrow (yes, just one?), and White-crowned Sparrows (many also found in Garden Club). Again, there was a good number of Chimney Swifts buzzing the Sparrow Hedge area. It was neat seeing the swifts fly in front of the Gibbous moon. A.E. Sea had about 25-30 shorebirds including a Solitary Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Stilt Sandpipers (at least 2), and a Wilson's Snipe. Additionally, a good number of Killdeer were found. Waterfowl there were Wood Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal and Hooded Mergansers (2). Additionally, only a Hairy Woodpecker and a couple of Eastern Phoebes were worth mentioning. Dave

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