People standing on the shelf ice at Montrose Beach (click to see the larger version)
It’s mid winter and shelf ice has formed along the shoreline of Montrose Beach. This is typical. What you need to know is that walking on shelf ice is dangerous. The ice could collapse under your feet, taking you into the frigid water of Lake Michigan, where you’d have a hard time getting out. The two people in the photo walked onto the shelf ice at Montrose Beach on February 6, 2023. They were obviously unaware of the danger they were in.
If you visit Montrose this winter, stay off the shelf ice.
The annual Chicago Air and Water Show is on the weekend of August 20 and 21 this year. Montrose Point is a great place to view the show, especially when the military jets are flying. As such, the event attracts large numbers of people to the Chicago lakefront. If you plan on birding Montrose on August 20 or 21, keep this in mind and try to get there early for parking.
Coyote Cop on patrol at Montrose Harbor (click to see the larger version)
The folks who manage Montrose Harbor got tired of dealing with all the pooping Canada Geese and Mallards that like to roost on one of the docks, so they brought in a Coyote decoy to scare them off. This is a type of non-lethal pest control and it’s been working. Humans can tell the Coyote is fake but waterfowl aren’t so discriminating and have been avoiding the dock since Coyote Cop went on patrol in late July.
You can now park legally on the north side of West Montrose Avenue but the parking ban has been extended to May 27 for the south side of the road. Hopefully the street repair project will be finished by that date. You can still park along West Montrose Harbor Drive but you’ll have to feed a meter for the privilege. This Google Map shows the road system in and around Montrose Point.
Monty died unexpectedly on May 13, 2022, thus ending the saga of Chicago’s first nesting Piping Plovers in over 50 years. The Dunes habitat is protected and intact, so perhaps another pair of Piping Plovers will find their way to Montrose and try to nest.
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.