Eastern Wood-Pewee (click to see the larger version)
It was so cold at Montrose this morning, October 13, Lake Michigan was steaming. This is a common sight in winter but rare at this time of the year, caused by a large difference in temperature between the water and air (about 30 degrees today early in the morning). Birding was productive, with lots of expected mid fall migrants like Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Hermit Thrushes, plus a few late warblers and other passerines. Many insect-eating passerines were feeding on the ground or close to it because of the cold. I ended up with 56 species in about 4 hours. Best birds were Semipalmated Sandpiper, Merlin, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Eastern Wood-Pewee, and Nelson’s Sparrow. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.
I spent about an hour and a half at Montrose this morning, October 1. I would have stayed longer but when the rain started in earnest around 8:30 I called it quits. Birding while wet isn’t an enjoyable experience, even when there are birds to look at. I ended up with 47 species, highlights and link to my eBird checklist for the day below.
Another great day at Montrose, another day with boatloads of Nelson’s Sparrows, and another day I wish I could have spent the whole morning birding the lakefront. I ended up with 59 species in 2 hours today, September 27. Highlights include Merlin, 2 Northern Harriers, 2 early Common Loons, 3 Marsh Wrens, a Sedge Wren, 14 species of warblers, 2 Bobolinks, and a whopping 25-30 Nelson’s Sparrows. I think this is my highest count for Nelson’s ever, anywhere. Like yesterday, most of today’s Nelson’s were in the western panne. Link to eBird checklist below.
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.
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.
I had an early Merlin at Montrose this morning, August 3. It landed in a tree snag near the Magic Hedge and was immediately set upon by a group of irate Barn Swallows, which is probably why it flew off soon after. I didn’t see anything else of note today — we’re definitely in the summer birding doldrums. Even most of the swallows have left. Bring on the warblers.