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.
I spent about 2.5 hours at Montrose this morning, March 19, most of that
time looking at the lake. The visibility was good and there were birds
to look at, both on the water and flying around. Except for blackbirds
and Robins, landbirds were scarce. My highlights (not a complete list):
Gadwall – ~12
American Wigeon – 5
Redhead – ~30
Lesser Scaup – ~20
Greater Scaup – 1
White-winged Scoter – ~20
Common Goldeneye – ~12
Bufflehead – ~7
Common Merganser – 1 adult male flying north
Red-breasted Merganser – ~300
Red-throated Loon – 2 flying north, both in basic type plumage
Common Loon – 1 alternate plumaged bird flying north
Horned Grebe – ~50, most on the lake but a few in the harbor
Eared Grebe – 1 alternate plumaged bird on the lake
Great Black-backed Gull – 1 first cycle
Glaucous/Iceland Gull – 1 near adult flying north
The Eared Grebe was a big surprise. I tried to turn it into something
more expected but everything about the bird said Eared Grebe. Somewhat
surprisingly it was in full alternate plumage; most of the Horned Grebes
today were still in basic plumage or transitioning into alternate
plumage. I also had a meadowlark in the Dunes that looked good for a
Western but I let it go.
I walked around Montrose for a bit this morning, February 8, and I can confirm that it still feels like winter. My most unexpected find was a Horned Grebe in the lake on the beach side of the fishing pier. I’m guessing this is an overwintering bird instead of an early migrant because of the date.
I also saw the 2 continuing female type Ruddy Ducks in the lake south of the Magic Hedge. They’re been in the same area for over a week so they must like that spot.
There were also several hundred gulls, mostly Ring-billeds, swarming over the open water at the west end of the harbor. I didn’t spend a lot of time looking through them so I could have missed something unusual. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, some kind of small fish are running in the harbor, which is what’s attracting the gulls.
I walked around Montrose for a little while this morning, December 3. My best find was the continuing female Long-tailed Duck in Lake Michigan near the tower at the southeast corner of the point. I haven’t seen her in a couple of days but I assume this is the same bird.
Other birds seen at Montrose this a.m. include 3 Ruddy Ducks in the lake outside of the harbor, 2 Horned Grebes inside the harbor, and a flyover Pine Siskin.
I heard and then saw a Common Redpoll at Montrose this morning, November 21 near the south end of the Magic Hedge. This is my first Common Redpoll of the season, but not the first Common Redpoll OF the season at Montrose, since Al Stokie had one back in late October.
In other news, winter ducks have finally (and I guess this is a good thing) arrived at Montrose. I walked out onto the fishing pier and had decent numbers of Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, as well as a few Common Goldeneyes and Buffleheads. Also, a group of Hooded Mergansers, a Redhead, and a Ruddy Duck. I did not see the Red-necked Grebe in the harbor, just Horned Grebes.
The Red-necked Grebe was still in Montrose Harbor this morning, November 11. I saw it swimming among the starfloats on the west side of the harbor. A brief walk around the point also yielded one each of Pine Siskin, Purple Finch, Snow Bunting, Lapland Longspur, and Rusty Blackbird.