Today was the best day of the fall for me. I ended up with 53 species in about 3 hours of birding, with good numbers of passerines, especially warblers and Catharus thrushes. Highlights include Connecticut and 2 Golden-winged Warblers (10 warbler species total), Bobolink, Dickcissel, the continuing American Avocet, and a surprise Turkey Vulture. TVs aren’t rare at Montrose but we don’t see a lot of them. Shorebirds were skimpy, mainly because the fluddle has dried up. I also had impressive numbers of aerial insectivores, mostly Chimney Swifts and Barn Swallows, a few bonus Cliff Swallows, and what seemed like thousands of buzzing dragonflies. Link to my eBird checklist for the morning below.
Several Cliff Swallows have been hanging around the dunes at Montrose with the scads of other swallows. I photographed this juvenile on July 16. Young Cliff Swallows are highly variable in terms of head pattern, much more so than our other regularly occurring swallows. Some can be dark headed like this individual while others can have white spotting on the forehead and throat. The dark head and dark centers to the undertail coverts identify this Cliff Swallow, vis a vis Northern Rough-winged and Barn Swallows.
There were decent numbers of birds this morning. Last night’s south winds did us some good. Flycatchers seemed to be everywhere. Warblers were dominated by American Redstarts, Magnolia, Wilson’s and Common Yellowthroat. Most sparrows seemed to have pulled out. Here’s some of what I saw in about an hour and a half: