After the eggs from their first nesting attempt were removed by biologists, Rose and Monty, the intrepid Piping Plover pair, picked up their show and moved it a few hundred yards east to a new area. This is a more propitious location, both above the flood zone and away from people. One bird on the nest is visible in this photo (inside the protective cage). A couple of eggs have been laid. Note the photobombing Bank Swallow on the rope.
Swallows are starting to gather at Montrose Point. On July 15 I had all 5 of our smaller swallows in the Dunes at Montrose. They like to perch on the white rope that cordons off protected areas in the Dunes. This is a great way to study and photograph these birds. This phenomenon has a narrow window – just a few weeks in July – and won’t last much longer.
Migrant Purple Martins once gathered by the thousands in late summer and early fall at Montrose. It was quite a spectacle, reminiscent of a scene from Hitchcock’s “The Birds”. For unknown reasons the large numbers stopped using Montrose and the spectacle is a thing of the past. The Purple Martins we see anymore are mostly the local breeders. I photographed these birds at Montrose Harbor on August 1, 2016.
Large numbers of swallows of several species are using Montrose Dunes for feeding and resting. This happens every year in mid summer and lasts only a few weeks. The swallows like to perch on the rope that cordons off the protected areas of the Dunes. The majority are Barn, Tree, and Northern Rough-winged, but a few Bank and Cliff Swallows are also seen. Most are probably local nesting birds and include many fresh juveniles. For some reason Purple Martins don’t perch on the rope but they do use the Dunes for feeding.
Juvenile birds are everywhere at Montrose, begging for food, following their parents, etc. The young of Tree, Barn, and Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, and European Starlings are especially obvious. The swallows like to perch on the rope that marks off the protected areas in the Dunes. These 2 juvenile Northern Rough-winged Swallows were taking a break from the hard work of being kids.
A female Red-breasted Merganser appears to be over summering at Montrose. She’s been seen near the fishhook pier and inside the boat harbor, where I saw and photographed her today.
I also saw my first juvenile Northern Rough-winged Swallows of the season today. Northern Rough-winged Swallows nest on the fishhook pier and can often be seen hawking insects over the dunes. They, along with other swallows, like to perch on the yellow rope that cordons off the protected areas of the dunes.