Montrose is a popular location for runs, charity walks, and other events. These are all for worthwhile causes but they complicate access and parking. This is the one event I know of so far. If you know of others, please let me know and I’ll update this post.
Event: AFSP Chicagoland Walk – Together to Fight Suicide
Date: Saturday, October 2, 2021
Time: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Location: Montrose Harbor
The best way to deal with these events is to arrive early at Montrose. You may also get caught in traffic as you leave, so be prepared to wait.
Montrose Dunes (click to see the larger version)
Montrose Dunes is completely open. Chicago Park District personnel removed the fence that prevented access to the beach. You can now walk out to the beach from the Dunes. Note that the pannes are still roped off; please stay out of them to protect the vegetation.
Birding tip: The small grove of willows near the shoreline in the Dunes can be good in fall migration for warblers and other passerines.
Montrose Dunes is once again open to the public. The Dunes were closed off over the summer to protect the nesting Piping Plovers. Now that the plovers have finished nesting, birders are free to explore this unique habitat. Note that this only applies to the Dunes south of the pannes. The beach and pannes are still fenced and closed to the public.
On August 10 I saw the two surviving juvenile Piping Plovers, Imani and Siewka, make sustained flights, first out over Lake Michigan north of the beach and back, and then over Lake Michigan east of the Point. One of the adults accompanied them on these sojourns. This is the first time I’ve seen them fly for any distance or length of time. Before they could fly, the young plovers were vulnerable to a variety of avian and mammal predators and competitors, including gulls, Cooper’s Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, Great Blue Herons, Raccoons, skunks, and aggressive parental Killdeer. Now they have at least a fighting chance against these threats and their chances for survival increase dramatically. Two of the siblings from the 2021 brood disappeared before fledging and were likely lost to predators.
2021 is the third year in a row Monty and Rose have raised young at Montrose to fledging, a monumental conservation success story by any measure.
One of the entrances to the sanctuary (click to see the larger version)
The handicapped accessible path is finished and the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary is now open to the public. Please remember that bike riding and dogs are not allowed in the sanctuary. See the Montrose FAQ for more information about what to do and not to do there.
The Dunes are completely fenced off and inaccessible to protect the nesting Piping Plovers. You can bird the periphery of the Dunes and scan the beach from the fishing pier and east end of the public beach. We’ve also been seeing shorebirds along the inlet next to the fishing pier. Again, the pier is the best place to check the inlet and beach, especially in the morning as the sun will be behind you. In the afternoon and evening, the east end of the public beach is the best place to check the beach inside the protected area.
The Bird Sanctuary
Sneak peek at the new handicapped accessible path (click to see the larger version)
The main parts of the bird sanctuary, including the Magic Hedge and peripheral plantings, are still closed due to construction of the paved walkway and will likely remain closed for the foreseeable future. You can walk around and bird the entire periphery but entering the sanctuary isn’t allowed.