Late May is prime time for Connecticut Warblers at Montrose. We’ve had multiple sightings so far this spring. The best way to find them is to listen for their loud, distinctive song. Two were at Montrose on May 26, and both were located because they were singing. Good recordings of Connecticut Warbler songs are on YouTube.
The forecast for May 19 and May 20 looks good for a push of birds, with warmer temps and sustained southwest winds, ideal spring migration conditions. We’re a little past the peak of migration but we should see an influx of flycatchers, vireos, cuckoos, and “later” warblers like Connecticut and Mourning. As always, check the Montrose Point eBird Hotspot for the latest sightings.
The forecast for May 9 to May 14 looks good for a big movement of birds. We should see an influx of warblers, flycatchers, Catharus thrushes, and other migrants. Most of the week will see sustained south winds and temperatures in the 70s and 80s. This might turn out to be one of the best birding weeks of the year. If you can get out for a few hours on any day during the week, by all means do.
An immature Franklin’s Gull graced Montrose Beach on May 5. Franklin’s Gulls are uncommon but regular spring migrants at Montrose; most occur in late April and early May. The best way to look for them is to scan the flocks of gulls and terns that gather on the beach. This advice also applies to other, less common gulls, like Laughing, which also start to appear in late spring.
On a related side note, you should think about checking the beach in the afternoon and evening, especially the protected beach. Gulls, terns, and shorebirds settle down later in the day and you could find something unusual among the more common Herring and Ring-billed Gulls. The protected beach is fenced off on all sides and inaccessible to people and dogs, so the birds that end up there feel safer and tend to hang around.
Colorado State University and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology have an excellent tool for visualizing and forecasting bird migration called BirdCast. With BirdCast, you can see where migration is happening – lighter colors on the maps indicate stronger movements of birds. In the screenshot, note the vivid yellow and white in the southeastern United States on the night of April 30, 2022. This is where migration will be heavy for that date. Also note that in the Chicago area the colors are more subdued, indicating a less intense movement of birds. Follow the URL to start using it – BirdCast
The protected beach and most of the Dunes are now cordoned off and inaccessible to the public to protect the nesting Piping Plovers. Part of the Dunes at the south end is still open as of April 26 but this could change, depending on where Monty and Rose decide to nest. You can still view the protected beach on the east side from the fishing pier and on the west side from the public beach. Though inconvenient to birders, these changes will protect not only the Piping Plovers but also the fragile habitat in the Dunes. Another benefit is that gulls, terns, and shorebirds will gather on the protected beach now that it’s actually protected.