The late summer shorebird bonanza continues at Montrose Beach. The show stealer on September 8 was a Buff-breasted Sandpiper that walked and fed nonchalantly among birders on the fishing pier. Shorebirds will often feed on the pier but this may be the first time a Buffy has done so. Other shorebirds seen at Montrose Beach on September 8 include the continuing juvenile Red Knot, 2 Baird’s Sandpipers, and 2 Greater Yellowlegs. Though not a shorebird, a surprise American White Pelican was also resting on the beach. We see a few flyover White Pelicans at Montrose each year, but this may be the first time one has set foot on land there.
August is the best month for shorebirds but most of the regular August shorebirds occur in September, especially the first half of the month. As of September 4, we’ve had Red Knot, Baird’s Sandpipers, and an American Golden-Plover, plus several of the more common species. Though none have been reported, September is also good for White-rumped Sandpipers, so keep checking the beach this month.
Shorebirding Tip: Don’t forget to check the fishing pier while you’re at the beach. Shorebirds will use the pier for feeding and resting.
Shorebird activity is picking up. On August 19 I had a Willet, Red Knot, 6 Semipalmated Plovers, about 30 Semipalmated Sandpipers, and a Sanderling. The pool on the public beach we call the fluddle has been a hot spot and that’s where most of these shorebirds were. A Whimbrel was seen by others. Link to my eBird checklist for August 19 below.
August 19, 2020
Shorebirds have been moving south at Montrose since late June. This is typical. The first birds are invariably adult Least Sandpipers (adult shorebirds precede their offspring). It’s hard to believe they have enough time to breed before starting migration again. The earliest southbound migrants almost overlap in time with the last northbound spring migrants! Montrose Beach serves as a convenient stopover for feeding and resting. The public part of the beach is often flooded in summer and migrant shorebirds like to break there and fuel up before continuing their journey. Some of the more unusual birds we’ve seen this summer include Whimbrel, Red Knot, Western Sandpiper, and White-rumped Sandpiper. Montrose doesn’t get huge numbers of shorebirds but the ones we do get we usually see well.
Monty and Rose
Also on the shorebird front, our celebrity Piping Plovers Monty and Rose returned in 2020 and nested again. This year they set up in the Dunes among the thick beach grass, which made monitoring challenging. They successfully raised 3 young, and unlike last year’s brood, fish and wildlife officials banded all 3. The young were also given names — Hazel, Esperanza, and Nish. The family departed by mid-August.
For more information about shorebirds at Montrose, see the Shorebirds section on the What to See page.
A nice group of shorebirds were working the fluddle at the far west end of Montrose Beach late this afternoon, August 25, including a juvenile Red Knot and a juvenile Stilt Sandpiper. Also present were Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers and Semipalmated Plovers. Red Knot and Stilt Sandpiper are rare but regular migrants at Montrose.