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December, 2020 Bird Sightings at Fermilab

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Wally submitted a brief list of birds found during this shortened week. Most of the expected winter residents were listed. Of note were Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle and Red-tailed Hawk. Dave

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Today was the annual Christmas Bird Count. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and continued limited access to Fermilab, the Count was performed by a much smaller group than typically is assembled. Although the weather conditions were very good, the overall number of species was below the 25-year average of about 50 species. Whether the low number of 45 species recorded was due to the reduced number of participants or a reduced number of birds in the Lab is hard to tell. I will say many times during the day we had numerous stretches of recording little or no bird activity. A reasonably nice list of waterfowl was compiled including Canada Geese, American Black Ducks, Mallards, a Ring-necked Duck, a Bufflehead, Common Goldeneyes, Hooded Mergansers (32, an all-time record for the entire Fermi Circle) and Common Mergansers. Other water related birds included a Wilson's Snipe, Great Blue Herons (3), Ring-billed Gulls, Herring Gulls and a Belted Kingfisher. Raptors were represented by the resident pair of Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks (16) and Northern Harriers (8, 5 seen at one time hunting the Dog Fields late in the afternoon). In addition, 9 Great Horned Owls were found throughout the day, starting with the early morning, unsuccessful, search for Screech Owls. Wally flushed the only Short-eared Owl of the day inside the Main Ring. The expected woodpeckers including Red-bellied Woodpeckers (19), Downy Woodpeckers (28), Hairy Woodpeckers (7) and a Northern Flicker were recorded. Blue Jays (31) and American Crows (24) numbers were on the high side while Black-capped Chickadees (64) were about average. Brown Creepers (3) and White-breasted Nuthatches (21) numbers were about typical while Red-breasted Nuthatches (8), though not at irruption numbers, were well represented. Sparrows were well represented in species count though only the expected winter species were found in good numbers. Found were American Tree Sparrows (53), Savannah Sparrow (1), Fox Sparrows (4), Song Sparrow (1), Swamp Sparrows (2), White-throated Sparrow (1) and Dark-eyed Juncos (57). All other more common/expected birds were close to their expected numbers. Some notable misses were Cooper's Hawk, American Kestrel, Eastern Screech-Owl (though rare in recent years, we did have one last year), Long-eared Owl, Northern Shrike, Horned Lark, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, Cedar Waxwing and any blackbird species. Dave

Friday, December 18, 2020

Waterfowl diversity dropped a little this week with Wally finding only Canada Goose, Mallard, Common Goldeneye and Common Merganser. Two Northern Harriers were found on Friday; hope they stay around for tomorrow's CBC. Other highlights included Bald Eagle, Hairy Woodpecker, American Kestrel, American Tree Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco and White-throated Sparrow. Dave

Friday, December 11, 2020

Wally still found a bit of diversity in the waterfowl around the Lab this week. Those found were Canada Goose, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser and Common Merganser. Three Bald Eagles were found including 2 adults and a juvenile that appeared to be fairly close to maturity. His other highlight was an Eastern Meadowlark. A Great Horned Owl and an American Kestrel also were birds of note. Dave

Friday, December 4, 2020

From Wally's report for the week, it appears birding in the Lab has slowed considerably. As he said of the birding, "Bit of a lackluster week for sure." He did search for possible crossbills, etc. He said, "There is a fair amount of cone production and looks like some has been tampered with. The only thing I saw in conifers was juncos. Lots of juncos. Lakes were also frozen over towards the end of last week, so waterfowl diversity dropped." Some of the birds he did find were Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Sandhill Crane, Cooper's Hawk, Bald Eagle, RT Hawk and Great Horned Owl. Dave

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