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It’s (Mostly) About the Birds

Welcome to my blog about birding Montrose Point in Chicago. I created this blog to report some of my recent bird and nature sightings from Montrose. I’ll also write about non-Montrose bird sightings from time to time. Thanks for visiting and good birding. Unless stated otherwise, all images and content were created by and are the property of Robert D. Hughes; any unauthorized use is prohibited.

Questions or comments? Contact the website administrator, Robert D. Hughes.

About Me

Robert D. Hughes

I’ve been birding since 1978 and much of that time has been spent at Montrose. I’ve never lived far from Montrose so it’s always been easy for me to bird there before or after school or work.

I was born, raised, and currently live in Chicago. My professional background is in webmastering, front-end Web development, and content management. When I’m not working I apply my background in Web development and communications to promote the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary through social media and this blog. You could say I’m a Web guy at heart.

Robert D. Hughes
February 2020

Need a Birding Guide?

I offer guided birding services for Montrose Point as well as other locations in the Chicago area. What are you interested in seeing? Spring warblers? Specialty birds like Henslow’s Sparrow? I love finding and showing birds to people. Contact me for more information. I look forward to hearing from you!

I designed and developed this site and produce most of the content for it and its sister birding website, The Orniphile. I also pay for hosting and deal with the many challenges associated with hosting. Managing these sites is a labor of love – I thoroughly enjoy writing about birds and telling the story of Montrose Point, one of the most popular and renowned bird and nature sanctuaries in the United States. Empowering people with the information they can use to make informed decisions about birding Montrose is a passion of mine. With that in mind, I’m asking for contributions to help offset the hosting and management costs.

I use PayPal for donations. It’s safe, secure, and easy to use. To make a contribution, click the Donate button below and follow the instructions. Thanks!





What’s New

Construction of the paved, handicapped accessible path began in late June. See the Montrose Update post for more information.

Parking meters have been installed at Montrose. See the Montrose Parking Meters post for more information.

Header Photo: White-winged Scoters from Montrose Harbor

Montrose Update, June 17, 2021

Montrose Paved Trail Map

Montrose Paved Trail Map (click to see the larger version)

Construction of the paved, handicapped accessible path has begun. The path will allow people with mobility issues to more easily bird Montrose. The current dirt and woodchip paths are difficult for folks with disabilities to negotiate. As such, the main birding areas at Montrose, like the Magic Hedge, are closed for the time being. I don’t know how long this will last, probably several weeks. The beach and Dunes are unaffected by the construction and are accessible.

Marbled Godwit, June 10, 2021 – Which Way Are the Shorebirds Going?

Marbled Godwit

Marbled Godwit (click to see the larger version)

There’s nothing like seeing a big, brown, long-billed shorebird to lift the spirits and brighten the day. This Marbled Godwit made a brief appearance at Montrose Beach on June 10. It flew off to the south after a few minutes and did not return.

The middle of June is a gray period for shorebird migration. Most northbound migrants have passed through, and it’s too early for the first southbound migrants. What was this Marbled Godwit doing? Was it a tardy spring migrant? We’re still seeing Semipalmated and White-rumped Sandpipers, which are late spring migrants, but mid-June is outside the range for northbound Marbled Godwits. What about a southbound migrant? Mid-June seems too early for that, based on historical records. A failed breeder? There’s no way to know. More photos of the godwit are at my eBird checklist for the morning, URL below.

eBird Checklist
June 10, 2021

June 4, 2121 – More Late Migrants

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Olive-sided Flycatcher (click to see the larger version)

Migration is still going on, although at a reduced rate. Just two weeks ago Montrose was overrun with warblers and other migrant passerines. Today I had only two obvious warbler migrants. This shows how fast spring migration winds down. Birds are in a hurry to get to their breeding grounds and they don’t linger long. Bonafide migrants I had at Montrose on June 4

Dunlin
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Mourning Warbler
American Redstart

It’s hard to believe that in just a few weeks the first southbound migrants will start appearing at Montrose. Link to my eBird checklist for the morning below.

eBird Checklist
June 4, 2021

June 2, 2021 – Blue-headed Vireo and Lesser Black-backed Gull

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Lesser Black-backed Gull (click to see the larger version)

I had a couple of nice surprises on June 2. We’ve been seeing and hearing a Blue-headed Vireo for the last few days, and today I found it in the grove at the east end of the Point. Needless to say, it’s getting late for Blue-headed Vireo in northern Illinois – they should be gone by June and on their breeding grounds north of us.

An immature Lesser Black-backed Gull has been hanging around Montrose Beach. Today I saw it at the east end of the protected beach among the loafing Ring-billed Gulls and Caspian Terns. Lesser Black-backed Gulls are rare at Montrose in the summer. The protected beach is a haven for gulls, terns, and shorebirds to relax and not have to worry about people disturbing them.

There’s always something to look at and look forward to at Montrose, even with migration winding down. More photos of the Lesser Black-backed Gull and one of the Blue-headed Vireo are at my eBird checklist for the morning, URL below.

eBird Checklist
June 2, 2021

June 1, 2021 – Still Going

American Avocets

American Avocets working the western panne in the Dunes (click to see the larger version)

Just because May has ended doesn’t mean migration comes to a screeching halt. The following are just some of the bonafide migrants I saw at Montrose on June 1

American Avocet
Semipalmated Plover
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Alder Flycatcher
Philadelphia Vireo
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Mourning Warbler
Canada Warbler
Dickcissel

I ended up with 60 species in about 3 hours of birding. The first week in June isn’t as frenetic as mid-May but is still worth birding, and Montrose tends to hold migrants later in spring migration than most other places. Link to my eBird checklist below.

eBird Checklist
June 1, 2021

May 26, 2021 – Flycatcherpalooza

Continuing the trend starting last weekend, May 26 was excellent for flycatchers. I ended up with 9 species, including all 5 regularly occurring Empidonax. Best were an Olive-sided and an Acadian. Olive-sideds are uncommon but regular late spring migrants at Montrose, as are Acadians. Many of today’s Empis were silent, so I left them unidentified. We’re in the peak of migration for flycatchers, so don’t stop birding because the warblers have largely moved through. There’s always the chance of an uncommon or rare Tyrannid showing up – think Western Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, or better. Let your imagination run wild with the possibilities. Take a look at the Montrose List page to see the impressive number of flycatchers recorded at Montrose. Link to my eBird checklist for the morning below.

eBird Checklist
May 26, 2021