Author Archives: rhughes

About rhughes

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.

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

Long-tailed Jaeger!, September 9, 2018

Long-tailed Jaeger

Long-tailed Jaeger. Photo by Terry Walsh. (click to see the larger version)

How do you spell excitement? L-O-N-G-T-A-I-L-E-D-J-A-E-G-E-R! This juvenile Long-tailed Jaeger, a first for Montrose, was seen there on September 9. I wasn’t one of the observers but still, this is a helluva good bird and long overdue.

To see a list of birds recorded at Montrose, refer to the The Montrose List page on this website.

Dunlin, August 23, 2018

Dunlin

Dunlin (click to see the larger version)

A juvenile Dunlin was at Montrose Beach on August 23. This is the earliest Dunlin I’ve ever seen in Chicago and only the second juvenile. We usually don’t start seeing immature Dunlin until the second or third week in September, and by then they’ve started to moult and show gray first basic/formative upperpart feathers, so this is significant.

eBird Checklist
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S48021520

Gathering of Swallows, July 15, 2018

Cliff, Tree, and Barn Swallows

Cliff, Tree, and Barn Swallows (click to see the larger version)

Swallows are starting to gather at Montrose Point. On July 15 I had all 5 of our smaller swallows in the Dunes at Montrose. They like to perch on the white rope that cordons off protected areas in the Dunes. This is a great way to study and photograph these birds. This phenomenon has a narrow window – just a few weeks in July – and won’t last much longer.

eBird Checklist
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S47207491

Semipalmated Sandpiper, June 24, 2018

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper (click to see the larger version)

We’re in the gray area for shorebird migration. The first southbound shorebirds should start appearing any day now (Least Sandpipers and Lesser Yellowlegs) if they haven’t appeared already, but a few shorebirds could still be moving north. This morning, June 24, I saw a Semipalmated Sandpiper at Montrose Beach. I tend to think this bird is a very late northbound migrant as opposed to a very early southbound migrant. We see Semi Sans regularly at Montrose well into June; I think this bird is at the tail end of that trend.

eBird Checklist
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S46761203