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October, 2013 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It was mild, overcast, and windless this morning; the only negative was a light fog that somewhat limited visibility. Both shorebird and sparrow numbers were down from Sunday's trip to the Lab. There were still two American Avocets on A.E. Sea. Also found were Killdeer, Least Sandpipers, Pectoral Sandpipers and Dunlin. Only the commonly found sparrows of recent trips were found but in much smaller numbers. Other than a large group of Canada Geese on Lake Law, waterfowl were almost nonexistent. Only American Black Duck, Green-winged Teal, and Hooded Mergansers were found. There was a large flock of Common Grackles on a power tower east of the Sea of Evanescence along with a couple of Rusty Blackbirds. The highlight of the morning was the first Northern Shrike of the season, it was calling several times. The only other birds of note were Winter Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush and Yellow-rumped Warbler. Dave

Monday, October 28, 2013

The American Avocets were again found today on A.E. Sea by Al. Also, shorebirds remain respectable with Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Dunlin, and Wilson's Snipe. Other highlights included American Pipits (A.E. Sea), Le Conte's Sparrow and Purple Finch (first for the year). Dave

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Crisp and clear early then warming throughout the morning were the conditions this morning at Fermi. There was pretty decent diversity in the three major birds groups (waterfowl, shorebirds and sparrows). Waterfowl numbers are still low and, though diminishing, the numbers of shorebirds and sparrows are holding their own. Most of the reported waterfowl were found on Lake Law including Canada Geese, Gadwalls, American Black Duck, Mallards, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails, Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Hooded Mergansers and Ruddy Ducks. We also found Pied-billed Grebes and an American Coot. Early on there was not too much excitement with the shorebirds with Killdeer, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Dunlin and Wilson's Snipe. Then late in the morning the American Avocets (3)( reported earlier in the week) showed up for great views on A.E. Sea. Though the sparrow numbers are again down slightly, the diversity was great including American Tree Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Le Conte's Sparrow, Nelson's Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, and Dark-eyed Junco. To round out the morning's list of notable birds we found Great Egret, Cooper's Hawk, Eastern Bluebird, American Pipit, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Rusty Blackbird and Common Grackle. Dave

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A crisp, frosty morning with a brisk NW wind did not seem to affect the birds around the Lab. Waterfowl, though the numbers are small, are starting to show increased species diversity. Found throughout the Lab were Canada Geese, Cackling Geese, Wood Duck, Gadwall, American Black Duck, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, and Ring-necked Duck. There is still a small group of Pied-billed Grebes on Lake Law. Most of A.E. Sea was iced over early, but there were still several shorebirds found including Killdeer, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Dunlin (about 10) and from an open puddle at the north end around twenty Wilson's Snipe were flushed. Two pair of Sandhill Cranes were flushed from the Sea of Evanescence; most likely they had spent the night there. Also many of the same shorebirds were found here as listed for A.E. Sea. There were also two groups of American Pipits at A.E. Sea (5 and 7 birds). Sparrow activity continues to be quite strong with an Eastern Towhee, Field Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Lincoln's Sparrows (5-6 were found), Swamp Sparrows (still most numerous species), good numbers of both White-throated Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. The highlight of the Sparrow Hedge area was a flyover Merlin (my favorite raptor). The Big Woods produced Hairy Woodpeckers, a Hermit Thrush and a Winter Wren. Other birds of note were Great Egret (2), Turkey Vulture (3), Eastern Phoebe, American Crow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, Yellow-rumped Warbler (only 2) and Common Grackle. Finally, Peter reported seeing an immature Peregrine Falcon flying around Wilson Hall yesterday. Dave

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Denis was out with his class today while Peter was covering other areas of the Lab. They found several highlight birds including a good number of Greater White-fronted Geese (Main Ring Lake) and a Snow Goose flying over with a group of Canada Geese. Shorebirds of note were Least Sandpiper, Dunlin, Stilt Sandpiper, and Wilson's Snipe. Notable sparrows were Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Nelson's Sparrow, Le Conte's Sparrow and Lincoln's Sparrow. Other birds of note were Gadwall, Turkey Vulture, American Coot, Eastern Phoebe, Tree Swallow, American Pipit, Orange-crowned Warbler and Brown-headed Cowbird. Dave

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The morning again started out crisp and clear; very beautiful but with lots of dew on the vegetation. Most of our time was spent in the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes region with a short trip to the Garden Club. Along with the recently found Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, and Green-winged Teal were Ring-necked Ducks and Ruddy Ducks. Also a number of Canada Geese were found in Lake Law along with a couple of Pied-billed Grebe. Shorebirds found were Killdeer, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper and a couple of Dunlin. A nice list of sparrows was accumulated with Eastern Towhees, Field Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Le Conte's Sparrows (Denis' group), Nelson's Sparrows (Denis' group), Song Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, Lincoln's Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, and White-crowned Sparrows. Other highlights were Bald Eagle (immature), Bonaparte's Gull (two displaying an interesting, and apparent, insect -capturing flight just above the water's surface), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Cedar Waxwing, Tennessee Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Palm Warblers (both of these in much smaller numbers than recent trips), Rusty Blackbird and Common Grackle. Dave

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Another beautiful morning - cool to start then warming to pleasantly mild temperatures. Sparrows remain the key group to watch. In the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes region there were Eastern Towhees, Savannah Sparrows, Nelson's Sparrows (2), Song Sparrows, Lincoln's Sparrows (3), Swamp Sparrows (again most numerous species), White-throated Sparrow, and White-crowned Sparrow. In the Garden Club, Chipping Sparrow and Dark-eyed Junco were added. Shorebirds continue to drop in numbers. Found were Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, and Wilson's Snipe. Al added Dunlin and Stilt Sandpiper yesterday. No change in waterfowl with only Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, and Green-winged Teal found. Besides the typical Yellow-rumped Warblers and Palm Warblers, there was a flock of around a half dozen Tennessee Warblers. Other birds found were Northern Harrier (hunting the Sparrow Hedge area), Sora, Chimney Swift, Eastern Phoebe, American Crow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, American Pipit, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting (it still had a blue tail), and Brown-headed Cowbird. Dave

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Very nice autumn morning for birding; started cloudy and ended up mostly clear. The entire morning was spent in the Sparrow Hedge/Lakes region. Last night's rain brought up the levels of A.E. Sea again while the shorebird numbers remain similar to the last week or so. We found Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, and Wilson's Snipe. No new waterfowl arrivals. Still finding Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, and Blue-winged Teal. Among the many Yellow-rumped Warblers and Palm Warblers were several Common Yellowthroats and one Magnolia Warbler. Sparrows were the key group represented this morning. Found were Eastern Towhee, Savannah Sparrow, Le Conte's Sparrow, Nelson's Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow (most numerous), White-throated Sparrow, and White-crowned Sparrow. In addition, we had several other interesting finds including Cooper's Hawk, Sora, Chimney Swift, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Least Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Tree Swallow, Marsh Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Brown Thrasher, Cedar Waxwing, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Dave

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The morning started out foggy with a light mist in the air. By mid-morning it was raining and by late morning the rain had stopped. I was greeted by what appeared to be a family of five Pied-billed Grebes on Lake Law. Through the fog, I saw several Tree Swallows over Lake Law and later a Barn Swallow by A.E. Sea. There were over a dozen Yellow-rumped Warblers and Palm Warblers in the two, tall trees just north of the Lake Law drainage ditch to A.E. Sea. In addition, there were well over a dozen sparrows in the same trees including Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows (most numerous), and White-crowned Sparrows. These same species were extremely active throughout the Lakes/Sparrow Hedge area. There was more activity today than I have seen in a long time in this area; birds were everywhere. Some other birds of note were Sora (about a dozen), Marsh Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Common Yellowthroat, Clay-colored Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Shorebirds found on A.E. Sea were Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, and Pectoral Sandpiper. Waterfowl are still slowly increasing in numbers. I found Wood Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, and Green-winged Teal. I'm not sure if Al's American Wigeon was still around; the fog really limited visibility. Inside the Main Ring I had a Sharp-shinned Hawk and an American Kestrel in separate locations. Finally, inside the Ring during the rain I found a large flock of Red-winged Blackbirds containing mostly females and juveniles; with only a few adult males. Interestingly, there were well over a thousand birds in this flock and the only other species I spotted was two Brown-headed Cowbirds. Dave

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Some needed birds were checked off the list today by Al, Marcia and Gail. Al found the first American Wigeon of the fall migration season and a Semipalmated Sandpiper at A.E. Sea. In addition, the pesky Peregrine Falcon kept flushing the shorebirds during his observations. I guess one of the local Cooper's Hawks also caused similar disruptions. Marcia and Gail also did really well by adding Pied-billed Grebe, Green Heron, Sedge Wren, Swainson's Thrush, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Historically, these are all nearing the end of their time at Fermi. They also had a Tennessee Warbler. Dave

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