I had a latish LeConte’s Sparrow this morning in the grass at the base of the willows at the east end of the beach. I have had LeConte’s in November in Lincoln Park but not very often so this is unusual. There were good numbers of other birds in the dunes, mostly American Robins and Savannah Sparrows but I also had a flyover Snow Bunting and Lapland Longspur. No Short-eared Owl this a.m. I saw nothing else of note in a short walk around the point but I didn’t stay long.
Tis’ the season for Short-eared Owls at Montrose. This morning I kicked one up out of the western panne in the dunes. The bird flew out over the lake and circled around a few times before I walked away and lost sight of it. This is typical Short-eared Owl behavior at Montrose, and sometimes they come back and sometimes they don’t.
Migration is really winding down, especially passerine migration, but I did have a few other birds, including:
Great Black-backed Gull – 1 second cycle type
Sanderling – 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet – 1
Hermit Thrush – ~10
Yellow-rumped Warbler – 1
Palm Warbler – 1
Winter Wren – 2
American Pipit – 1
Swamp Sparrow – 1
White-crowned Sparrow – 1
Savannah Sparrow – 1
Pine Siskin – ~40
Lapland Longspur – 2
Rusty Blackbird – 1
That’s about everything. In another couple of weeks there will be even less.
The gusty west winds produced a Short-eared Owl and 9 Franklin’s Gulls this morning, October 29. The owl flushed out of the dunes and the Franklin’s flew south over the east end of the beach. I only spent an hour in the field so I imagine there were more Franklin’s moving. I also had a Greater Yellowlegs on the beach, a Wilson’s Snipe in the dunes, 2 Snow Buntings, and 15 or so Pine Siskins at the point. The Snow Buntings posed obligingly on the fishing pier for a photograph (try to ignore the graffiti).
I had a late juvenile Baird’s Sandpiper this morning, October 18. This is over a month past their peak time of occurance. I also had a first cycle Franklin’s Gull on the beach and 6 Lapland Longspurs in the dunes. Other landbirds seen include 2 Purple Finches, several Pine Siskins, and a few Orange-crowned Warblers, in addition to the usual mid October fare of kinglets, Hermit Thrushes, Winter Wrens, and White-throated Sparrows.
I spent about an hour at Montrose this morning, December 7. The birds and birding feel mostly like winter, which means I didn’t have a lot of variety, but the morning wasn’t a total loss. I didn’t see the Snowy Owl, and it wasn’t seen yesterday, so perhaps it has moved on. I suspect there will be a few more this winter, judging from the numbers to the north of us. The large raptor highlight was the continuing juvenile Red-tailed Hawk, which was dining on a rabbit near the Magic Hedge. This bird has been around for about a month and has no doubt made significant progress in reducing the rabbit population at Montrose. I also saw a young Great Black-backed Gull flying around the fishing pier, a male Red-bellied Woodpecker, and a heard only Snow Bunting. There were birds inside the harbor too, including a lone lingering Horned Grebe, a handful of Greater and Lesser Scaup, and what looks like a young male Ring-necked Duck.
I walked around Montrose for a little while this morning, November 26. My best find was a female Long-tailed Duck in Lake Michigan near the tower at the southeast corner of the point. I’m guessing this is the same Long-tailed Duck that was seen at Loyola a couple of days ago.
Other birds seen at Montrose this a.m. include good numbers of Red-breasted Mergansers, both on the water and migrating south, the continuing Ruddy Duck inside the fishing pier, a small loon that was probably a Red-throated, flyover American Pipit and Snow Bunting, and a lingering Fox Sparrow at the Magic Hedge.