An impressive flight of dabbling and bay ducks took place on the morning of March 2. This flight included numbers of Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, Redheads, and Canvasbacks, the latter uncommon at Montrose. Most of these birds were flying north into a strong headwind. This seems counterintuitive but is typical behavior for migrating spring ducks along the western shore of Lake Michigan.
A strong movement of northbound waterfowl occurred at Montrose this morning, March 30. Geoff Williamson and I stood at the end of the fishing pier for a couple of hours and watched flock after flock of diving and dabbling ducks moving north along Lake Michigan. Most were scaup and Redheads but we also had small numbers of Canvasbacks (uncommon at Montrose), Northern Pintails, Gadwall, American Wigeon, and smaller numbers of Northern Shovelers and Green-winged Teal. We also had a couple of Common Loons and Iceland and Great Black-backed Gulls. A group of White-winged Scoters (~12) was still on the lake off the end of the fishing pier. Link to my eBird checklist for the morning below.
There seemed to be some movement this morning, especially waterfowl. The slight southerly component to the wind must have done some good, though it still felt like winter. Some of the birds I saw include:
Canada Geese – ~200, in groups of 10s, 20s, and 30s
White-winged Scoter – 1
Canvasback – 6
Ring-necked Duck – 2 in the harbor
Scaup sp – ~50
Northern Shoveler – 2
Green-winged Teal – 1
Gadwall – 2
Great Blue Heron – 1
Lapland Longspur – 1
Snow Bunting – 1
An Eastern Phoebe and Eastern Meadowlark were at Montrose this morning. There were also a lot of Song Sparrows around. On the waterfowl front I had 4 Canvasbacks, 3 Green-winged Teal, and 3 American Wigeon flying south along the lake. The trails and paths were wet and muddy but at least the snow and ice are starting to melt.
A drake Canvasback was in Lake Michigan a few hundred yards west of the end of the fishhook pier at Montrose this morning. I saw nothing else of note. Beware that sections of the pier are still icy and this ice isn’t always conspicuous.