Welcome to my blog about birding Montrose Point in Chicago. I created this blog to report some of my recent 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.
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. You could say that Montrose has been my obsession and love, and sometimes my disappointment.
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 passion for communication to promoting the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary through social media and this blog. You could say I’m a Web guy at heart.
Header Photo: White-winged Scoters from Montrose Harbor
Long-billed Dowitcher (click to see the larger version)
I checked Montrose Beach on the evening of September 11 to see if any interesting shorebirds had come in. A cold front was forecast to pass the next morning and I know from experience that shorebirds often move ahead of cold fronts in the summer and fall. To my great surprise, a juvenile Long-billed Dowitcher flew in and landed in the fluddle on the public part of the beach. This is a very rare bird at Montrose—in my 40 years of birding there I’ve only seen one (and this was the only record before the September 11 sighting). Hard to believe I know but we just don’t get them. More photos of the Long-billed Dowitcher are at my eBird checklist for the day, link below.
I had a great time watching and photographing a group of 3 juvenile Common Terns at Montrose Beach on September 8. The birds were flying along the beach and fishing pier, diving occasionally for fish. They even landed briefly on the fishing pier. Common Terns are uncommon terns anymore at Montrose, especially in the fall. More photos of these birds are at my eBird checklist for the day, link below.
Western Kingbird. Photo by M. Ferguson. (click to see the larger version)
A Western Kingbird made an appearance at Montrose on September 4. The bird was hanging around the east end of the Point in the native planting area and enjoyed by many. Western Kingbirds are rare but regular (almost annual, actually) visitors to Montrose. Montrose is excellent for flycatchers, with 14 species recorded to date, including rarities such as Say’s Phoebe, Ash-throated Flycatcher, and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.
White-rumped and Semipalmated Sandpipers (click to see the larger version)
This isn’t the best photo, and I had to enhance it a bit in Photoshop, but these 2 molting adult White-rumped Sandpipers (with 2 juvenile Semipalmated Sandpipers) were part of a nice mix of shorebirds at Montrose Beach on September 1. Stilt Sandpipers, a Pectoral Sandpiper, a Ruddy Turnstone were also seen. White-rumped Sandpipers are rare but regular fall migrants at Montrose. Unfortunately, most of these birds were present only early in the morning. I ended up with 48 species in a little over 2 hours of birding. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.
American Avocets (click to see the larger version)
This continues to be an excellent summer for American Avocets at Montrose. Four were feeding in the fluddle on the public beach on the afternoon of August 27. The shorebirds that use the beach don’t mind all the human activity, proving that if left alone and given some space wildlife and humans can coexist peacefully.
Olive-sided Flycatcher (click to see the larger version)
Shorebirds have been moving south for over a month in Chicago but the first passerine (songbird) migrants are just starting to appear. This Olive-sided Flycatcher was taking a break at Montrose on August 14. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.
The travels of birds are extraordinary. Our Olive-sided Flycather could have come anywhere from Northern Wisconsin to Alaska and will spend the winter in Central or South America. And it will keep making this journey for as long as it’s alive. Not bad for a creature that weighs a little more than an ounce.