Black-legged Kittiwake. Photo by Geoff Williamson. (click to see a larger version )
One doesn’t usually associate Black-legged Kittiwakes with strong west winds on the west side of Lake Michigan but this morning a first year Black-legged Kittiwake flew south past Montrose Point, delighting the several people who were conducting a lakewatch at the end of the fishing pier.
Other birds seen on today’s westerlies include about a dozen Franklin’s Gulls (a more expected species on strong west winds), numbers of Bonaparte’s Gulls, several Northern Harriers, an American Woodcock, and a few Lapland Longspurs and Common Redpolls.
There was a lot of activity on the lake at Montrose this morning, April 25, including good numbers of Caspian Terns, Double-crested Cormorants, and Red-breasted Mergansers. More exciting were the Bonaparte’s Gulls. In about 45 minutes I estimate I had about 200 moving north past the point, and I only stopped looking when the rain started coming down in earnest. Bonaparte’s Gulls have become rare at Montrose in the spring, so seeing this many was a pleasant surprise. I also had a single Common Loon and White-winged Scoter and flocks of Lesser Scaup. Migrant landbirds were scarce, as would be expected with northeast winds.
Bonapartes Gulls (click to see the larger version)
Four second calendar year Bonaparte’s Gulls were on the beach inside the protected area at Montrose late this afternoon. Two Semipalmated Plovers were also inside the protected area. The Curve-billed Thrasher continues near the Magic Hedge.
Karen and I spent a couple hours at Montrose on October 26.
The highlight were a 100 or so Franklin’s Gulls. Most were flying over
and continuing south but a few spent some time on the beach. The largest
flock was about 50 birds, the smallest 4. This is one of my best counts
of Franklin’s Gulls at Montrose ever, a consequence no doubt of the
recent strong westerly winds. In addition to the Franklin’s we had a
number of other birds of interest, including:
American Bittern – 1 in the dunes
Bonaparte’s Gull – 6, all first cycle birds
Short-eared Owl – 2 flying around the dunes and over the lake
Greater Yellowlegs – 1 on the beach
Wilson’s Snipe – 1
American Woodcock – 1
Lapland Longspur – 1
Snow Bunting – 2
American Pipit – 1