Robert D. Hughes lives and works in Chicago, Illinois. His professional background is in Web site management and front-end Web development. He also writes about Web development issues and works with Joomla! CMS. When he isn't sitting in front of a computer he's out in the field looking for and photographing birds and other critters.
LeConte’s Sparrow (click to see the larger version)
October is the month for LeConte’s Sparrows at Montrose. This particular LeConte’s was hanging around an isolated bush in Montrose Dunes. I think we should start calling this bush the Magic Bush for the way it’s been attracting sparrows this fall. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.
Highlights from October 12 were an American Avocet that almost became brunch for 2 of the local Peregrine Falcons, and this male Merlin that took a break from terrorizing songbirds long enough to have his pic taken. I ended up with 47 species in 3 hours of birding. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.
Painted Lady and Common Buckeye (click to see the larger version)
More October butterfly mania from Montrose. This Painted Lady and Common Buckeye were cheek to jowl, so to speak, on this aster in the Butterfly Garden. Asters are like magnets for attracting nectar-feeding insects. This has been one of the best falls for butterflies I can remember, with hundreds of Monarchs and other leps.
Lesser Black-backed Gull with Ring-billed Gulls (click to see the larger version)
The birding highlight for me on October 4 was this crisply marked juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull. I can’t remember the last time I saw a full juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull anywhere – usually by this time of the year first cycle birds have molted in at least a few second-generation upperpart feathers. Lesser Black-backed Gulls have increased dramatically in North America in recent years, including the Great Lakes, where they are uncommon but regular. I wonder where this one hatched? Europe? Iceland? Somewhere in North America? Impossible to know but fun to think about. More photos are at my eBird checklist for the day, link below.
Montrose Point was birdy on the morning of September 30. I ended up with 63 species in about 3 hours, my highest single-day total there this month. A little over 70 species were reported on eBird. Two of my better finds were a late juvenile Baird’s Sandpiper (by eBird standards) and a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk taking a bath in a flooded parking lot. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.
Montrose was bursting with Monarchs on September 27. I’ve been birding and looking at butterflies there for 40 years and I can’t remember seeing so many. They seemed to be dripping off the asters and goldenrods. Obviously they had a good year. Sanctuaries like the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary provide refuge for all kinds of wildlife and prove that nature will thrive when given a chance. Oh yeah, I did some birding too. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.