Red-breasted Merganser (click to see the larger version)
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.
Several Cliff Swallows have been hanging around the dunes at Montrose with the scads of other swallows. I photographed this juvenile on July 16. Young Cliff Swallows are highly variable in terms of head pattern, much more so than our other regularly occurring swallows. Some can be dark headed like this individual while others can have white spotting on the forehead and throat. The dark head and dark centers to the undertail coverts identify this Cliff Swallow, vis a vis Northern Rough-winged and Barn Swallows.
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.
There were decent numbers of birds this morning. Last night’s south winds did us some good. Flycatchers seemed to be everywhere. Warblers were dominated by American Redstarts, Magnolia, Wilson’s and Common Yellowthroat. Most sparrows seemed to have pulled out. Here’s some of what I saw in about an hour and a half: