A strong movement of northbound waterfowl occurred at Montrose this morning, March 30. Geoff Williamson and I stood at the end of the fishing pier for a couple of hours and watched flock after flock of diving and dabbling ducks moving north along Lake Michigan. Most were scaup and Redheads but we also had small numbers of Canvasbacks (uncommon at Montrose), Northern Pintails, Gadwall, American Wigeon, and smaller numbers of Northern Shovelers and Green-winged Teal. We also had a couple of Common Loons and Iceland and Great Black-backed Gulls. A group of White-winged Scoters (~12) was still on the lake off the end of the fishing pier. Link to my eBird checklist for the morning below.
With morning temps in the teens and a wind chill even colder, today felt more like January than early March. I ended up with 23 species in about an hour and half of birding, highlighted by the continuing blue morph Snow Goose and White-winged Scoter, and a bonus adult Iceland Gull in the harbor. There were also good numbers of Red-breasted Mergansers in the harbor and in the lake just outside of the harbor mouth. I did not see the female Long-tailed Duck, which didn’t appear to be doing well when last seen. Link to my eBird checklist below.
The high winds and resultant high waves drove many ducks off Lake Michigan and into Montrose Harbor today, February 24. Most were Common Mergansers and Common Goldeneye but I also had one White-winged Scoter. Two adult Iceland Gulls were also in the harbor. Here’s a shot of a wave breaking over the fishing pier.
Thayer’s type Gull. Photo by Lou Munoz. (click to see the larger version)
Lou Munoz photographed the first year Thayer’s type Gull at Montrose Beach this morning. The bird is either a worn Thayer’s Gull or a dark Kumlien’s Gull. The line between these 2 species is sometimes fine and not all birds can be positively identified.
Glaucous Gull, with Ring-billed Gull (click to see the larger version)
A shrike flew in off the lake early this morning. I walked around the point looking for it without luck so it will have to remain unidentified. Either species is possible now though Northern is far more likely. A pale first year Glaucous Gull and a pale first year Thayer’s type Gull were at the west end of the beach.