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 a Nelson’s Sparrow in the meadow at Montrose this afternoon, October 7. The meadow is the open grassy area east of the Magic Hedge. At this time of the year the dunes are the best place to see Nelson’s at Montrose but they occasionally show up in the meadow as well. I saw nothing else of note.
There were decent numbers of birds at Montrose this morning, especially Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers and both kinglets. I also had Magnolia, Tennessee, Black-and-white, and Black-throated Green Warblers, American Redstart, and Bobolink among others. I saw a Nelson’s Sparrow in the meadow east of the Magic Hedge, my first Nelson’s of the fall. The American Golden-Plover was still at the beach along with 5 Black-bellied Plovers.
Montrose was fairly slow this morning, September 22, at least compared to the reports from the day before. It seems like it’s always like this. My best find was a Nelson’s Sparrow in the meadow northeast of the Magic Hedge, the first of hopefully many more to come. I also had a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, a somewhat early Golden-crowned Kinglet, and a couple American Pipits on the beach.
On a side note, today’s Nelson’s Sparrow represents a birding milestone for me, the first time in 35 years at this game that I’ve seen all 7 Ammodramus sparrows in the same year. I had Baird’s Sparrow in North Dakota in May, Saltmarsh and Seaside Sparrows in Delaware in August, and LeConte’s, Henslow’s, and Grasshopper Sparrows in the Midwest in the spring.