Tag Archives: Best Fall Migration Days

Harlequin Duck, Black Scoters, Red-necked Grebe, Piping Plover, and Baird’s Sandpipers, November 4, 2018

Baird's Sandpiper

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.

It’s hard to go wrong in November.

Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.

eBird Checklist
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S49669117

September 26, 2016

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.

eBird Checklist
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31767162

September 24, 2016

Eastern Whip-poor-will

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.

eBird Checklist
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31731653

Nelson’s Sparrows, September 17, 2016

Black-bellied Plover

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.

eBird Checklist
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31620618

October 19, 2014

Montrose was very lively this morning, October 19, with lots of White-crowned and White-throated Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, both kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Hermit Thrushes around. Here’s a partial list of what Karen and I saw:

Black-bellied Plover – 2
Dunlin – 2
Sanderling – 2
Merlin – 1
Chimney Swift – 6
White-eyed Vireo – 1 immature (gray eyes)
Winter Wren – ~5
Brown Creeper – 4
Gray Catbird – 1
American Pipit – 1
Lapland Longspur – 4, in the dunes
Snow Bunting – 4, also in the dunes
Tennessee Warbler – 1
Nashville Warbler – 1
Orange-crowned Warbler – ~8
Northern Parula – 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler – 1 male
Black-throated Green Warbler – 1
Palm Warbler – ~6
Blackpoll Warbler – 1
American Redstart – 1
Common Yellowthroat – 1
Chipping Sparrow – 1
Grasshopper Sparrow – 1
Lincoln’s Sparrow – 2
Fox Sparrow – ~6
Harris’s Sparrow – 1 immature
Rusty Blackbird – 2
Purple Finch – 2
Pine Siskin – 2

The White-eyed Vireo was probably the best bird of the day, and I don’t think I’ve seen one at Montrose in the fall before. I first saw it in the willows in the dunes and later in the peripheral plantings and again near the Magic Hedge. I’m assuming this was the same individual that was just moving around a lot.

The Harris’s Sparrow was at the east end of the native planting area, not far from the tower.

September 26, 2014

Montrose was very birdy this morning, September 26. I hadn’t been there in over a week but I was impressed with the number of warblers around. Dominant among these were Tennessee, Blackpoll, Yellow-rumped, and Palm. I also had a couple of Northern Parulas and a male Black-throated Blue Warbler, all in the Magic Hedge. Other birds of interest this a.m. include my first Hermit Thrush of the season, a flyover American Pipit at the beach, a calling Sedge Wren in the dunes, and 5 flyover American Golden-Plovers at the beach. I didn’t have any Nelson’s Sparrows in the dunes but this is prime time for them.