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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 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? Direct them to Robert D. Hughes.

About Me

Robert Hughes

Selfie by Me

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. I also write about Web development issues and get social with social media. My non-work life revolves around my family, birding, and managing my extensive online presence.

Robert D. Hughes
January 17, 2018

Header Photo: White-winged Scoters from Montrose Harbor

Harlequin Duck, Piping Plover, and Swainson’s Thrush, November 8, 2018

Harlequin Duck

Harlequin Duck (click to see the larger version)

I spent a couple hours at Montrose on Thursday, November 8. The female type Harlequin Duck was inside the fishing pier and the Piping Plover continues on the beach. The Plover has been present for 3 weeks now. My best passerine was a very late Swainson’s Thrush near the Magic Hedge. A strange mix of birds for November. I ended up with 43 species for my effort.

Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.

eBird Checklist
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S49754515

Harlequin Duck, Black Scoters, Red-necked Grebe, Piping Plover, and Baird’s Sandpipers, November 4, 2018

Baird's Sandpiper

Baird’s Sandpiper (click to see the larger version)

I wasn’t even going to bird this morning (November 4) because of rain in the forecast, but when I looked out my window at 7:30 I saw no rain, so I grabbed my gear and headed over to Montrose. I tallied a whopping 20 species for my effort, unimpressive even by early November standards. But, BUT, 25% of that tally consisted of good birds – Harlequin Duck (off the end of the fishing pier, found by Krzysztof Kurlyowicz), Black Scoter (2 flybys, found by Steve Huggins), Red-necked Grebe (flyby), Piping Plover, and Baird’s Sandpiper. The Baird’s (2 juveniles) represent one of the latest records of this species for Montrose, continuing the trend for late birds started by the Piping Plover.

It’s hard to go wrong in November.

Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.

eBird Checklist
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S49669117

Piping Plover and White-eyed Vireo, November 3, 2018

White-eyed Vireo

White-eyed Vireo (click to see the larger version)

When you think of November and the Chicago lakefront, birds like Black-legged Kittiwake, Purple Sandpiper, Harlequin Duck, and Red-throated Loon come to mind, but today’s highlights at Montrose include 2 species that shouldn’t be anywhere near northern Illinois at this time of the year. The Piping Plover found in mid-October was still on the beach. This bird has been present for 2 weeks and doesn’t appear to have any intention of leaving. I’m guessing that 98% of the world’s Piping Plovers are on their wintering grounds now, making this one of the latest Piping Plover records for Illinois.

The other late bird was a White-eyed Vireo (found by Jeff Bilsky). This is the latest White-eyed Vireo for Montrose I know of and one of just a handful of fall records for us (White-eyed Vireos are more or less regular in spring).

Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.

eBird Checklist
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S49644408

American White Pelican, October 21, 2018

American White Pelican

American White Pelican (click to see the larger version)

Hardly rare in Illinois these days but still unusual along the Chicago lakefront, this American White Pelican flew over Montrose Point on October 21. I’ve only seen a handful of American White Pelicans at Montrose in my 40+ years birding there, so this was exciting.

Sometimes when you look up you see good things.

Piping Plover, October 18

Piping Plover

Piping Plover (click to see the larger version)

A very late Piping Plover was at Montrose Beach on October 18. The bird has been present for a couple of days and represents the latest record of this species for Montrose.

While the Piping Plover was the best bird it wasn’t the only goodie. I tallied 59 species in about 3 hours of birding, highlighted by Short-eared Owl, the continuing Eastern Wood-Pewee, and a female Black-throated Blue Warbler. Link to my eBird checklist below.

eBird Checklist
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S49271735

October 13, 2018 – Brrr

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Eastern Wood-Pewee (click to see the larger version)

It was so cold at Montrose this morning, October 13, Lake Michigan was steaming. This is a common sight in winter but rare at this time of the year, caused by a large difference in temperature between the water and air (about 30 degrees today early in the morning). Birding was productive, with lots of expected mid fall migrants like Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Hermit Thrushes, plus a few late warblers and other passerines. Many insect-eating passerines were feeding on the ground or close to it because of the cold. I ended up with 56 species in about 4 hours. Best birds were Semipalmated Sandpiper, Merlin, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Eastern Wood-Pewee, and Nelson’s Sparrow. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.

eBird Checklist
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S49165548