Northern Harrier (click to see the larger version)
The Northern Harriers put on quite a show on October 23. I counted 16, all southbound flybys, in about 2 hours of morning birding. Most were female/immature type birds, like the individual pictured here. Several were coming in low off Lake Michigan and flying right over the beach and dunes (and me). Other birds seen include Short-eared Owl, 3 Surf Scoters, Franklin’s and Bonaparte’s Gulls, Merlin, American Woodcock, Wilson’s Snipe, and Purple Finch. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below. October rocks!
Montrose Point was birdy on the morning of September 30. I ended up with 63 species in about 3 hours, my highest single-day total there this month. A little over 70 species were reported on eBird. Two of my better finds were a late juvenile Baird’s Sandpiper (by eBird standards) and a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk taking a bath in a flooded parking lot. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.
Baird’s Sandpiper (click to see the larger version)
I wasn’t even going to bird this morning (November 4) because of rain in the forecast, but when I looked out my window at 7:30 I saw no rain, so I grabbed my gear and headed over to Montrose. I tallied a whopping 20 species for my effort, unimpressive even by early November standards. But, BUT, 25% of that tally consisted of good birds – Harlequin Duck (off the end of the fishing pier, found by Krzysztof Kurlyowicz), Black Scoter (2 flybys, found by Steve Huggins), Red-necked Grebe (flyby), Piping Plover, and Baird’s Sandpiper. The Baird’s (2 juveniles) represent one of the latest records of this species for Montrose, continuing the trend for late birds started by the Piping Plover.
Today was the kind of day I could have stayed out all morning and then some, it was that good. All this morning’s bird activity confirmed that cold fronts and west winds are fantastic bird producers along the west side of Lake Michigan in fall. I ended up with 54 species in about 2 hours of early morning birding at Montrose, highlights including Merlin, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Wilson’s Snipe, 2 Pine Warblers, Northern Parula, 12 Nelson’s Sparrows, 3 Marsh Wrens, Bobolinks, and a Purple Finch. No pics today – I was too busy looking. Link to my eBird checklist below.
Eastern Whip-poor-will (click to see the larger version)
I spent almost 4 hours at Montrose this morning, September 24. I didn’t have high hopes because of the east winds but it turned out to be a good day. I ended up with 61 species, my best count this fall so far. Highlights include Osprey, Eastern Whip-poor-will (see photo), Wood Thrush, Clay-colored Sparrow, Sedge Wren, and Black-throated Blue Warbler. Link to eBird checklist below.
Black-bellied Plover (click to see the larger version)
Montrose was pretty good this morning, September 17. I ended up with 58 species in about 4 hours of birding the Point. Swainson’s Thrushes and Palm Warblers were the most obvious, but the 8 – 10 Nelson’s Sparrows were the highlight for me. All these birds were in the Dunes and most were in the western panne. These are the first Nelson’s Sparrows I’ve seen at Montrose this fall. When it rains it pours I guess. Other goodies include a flyover American Golden-Plover, Merlin, several Bobolinks, Dickcissel, Marsh Wren, and a variety of warblers.