Loggerhead Shrike. Photo by Mike Ferguson. (click to see the larger version)
This continues to be a stellar spring migration at Montrose Point. Today, May 24, was a bit weak for migrants but we made up for the lack of variety with 2 outstanding rarities. The more significant rarity was a Loggerhead Shrike, a bird I haven’t seen there since the 1990’s. That’s right, since the 20th century. The second and lesser rarity was a Bell’s Vireo, a bird that is less than annual at Montrose. Both birds were seen and enjoyed by multiple observers.
Here’s to a final week of May that’s bursting with migrants.
Montrose wasn’t quite as birdy (for me) as on Thursday, but it was still pretty good today, October 21. I ended up with 47 species in a little over 2 hours of effort, highlighted by
Baird’s Sandpiper – the continuing juvenile
Semipalmated Sandpiper – the continuing molting first cycle bird
Short-eared Owl – 1 in the dunes
Northern Shrike – 1 in the dunes
Black-throated Blue Warbler – female near the Magic Hedge
Le Conte’s Sparrow – 2 in the dunes
The Northern Shrike was my bird-of-the-day; I haven’t seen one at Montrose in a few years. Maybe this will be a flight year for them. The algae mat continues at the east end of the beach, and it continues to attract shorebirds and ducks. The dominant passerine was Swamp Sparrow.
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.
I had a brief look at a Northern Shrike at Montrose this morning. Northern Shrikes are rare anytime at Montrose so this was a nice surprise. There were also good numbers of typical October birds, including Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Hermit Thrushes.
The most dramatic sighting of the morning was a Red-tailed Hawk being mercilessly harassed and pursued by a group of American Crows. The group name for American Crow is “murder of crows”, and watching this spectacle I can see how this name originated.
I went back out later in the day and found a Snow Bunting on Montrose Beach. Snow Buntings are songbirds that nest in the high arctic all around the world and winter in mid-latitudes. This bird hopped up on a fence post and posed very obligingly for me.