Cliff, Tree, and Barn Swallows (click to see the larger version)
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.
Barn, Tree, and Northern Rough-winged Swallows (click to see the larger version)
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.
Bank and Northern Rough-winged Swallows (click to see the larger version).
Montrose Dunes has been excellent for swallows lately. On July 15 I photographed a juvenile Northern Rough-winged Swallow next to a juvenile Bank Swallow on the yellow rope that cordons off part of the south end of the Dunes. These 2 “brown” swallows can look alike from behind.
In the photo to the right, note the narrow whitish edges to the tertials and primaries and the lack of rufous in the wing coverts of the Bank Swallow (left bird). The juvenile Rough-winged has duller edges to the tertials, and rufous edges to the primaries and wing coverts. The Bank Swallow also has a paler rump than the Roughie and pale edges to the tail feathers. I wasn’t aware of this later feature until I noticed it yesterday, and I’m not sure it’s a completely solid field mark but I didn’t notice it on any of the Rough-winged Swallows I looked at.
Short-billed Dowitcher (click to see the larger version)
Three Short-billed Dowitchers were at the beach this morning, July 16. Two birds were on the beach inside the protected area and another was feeding in the fluddle next to the Fishhook Pier. The 2 on the beach flew off shortly after I identified them but the bird in the fluddle remained. This bird was present yesterday evening as well. I also had 2 Least and 2 Semipalmated Sandpipers on the beach.
Montrose Dunes has been excellent for swallows lately. This morning I had all 6 of our regularly occurring species either flying around or perched on the yellow rope at the south end of the Dunes. This is a great opportunity to see, study, and photograph these birds, especially when they’re perching on the rope.