Category Archives: Fall Bird Reports

September 1 – November 30, inclusive

Long-billed Dowitcher, September 11, 2019

Long-billed Dowitcher

Long-billed Dowitcher (click to see the larger version)

I checked Montrose Beach on the evening of September 11 to see if any interesting shorebirds had come in. A cold front was forecast to pass the next morning and I know from experience that shorebirds often move ahead of cold fronts in the summer and fall. To my great surprise, a juvenile Long-billed Dowitcher flew in and landed in the fluddle on the public part of the beach. This is a very rare bird at Montrose—in my 40 years of birding there I’ve only seen one (and this was the only record before the September 11 sighting). Hard to believe I know but we just don’t get them. More photos of the Long-billed Dowitcher are at my eBird checklist for the day, link below.

eBird Checklist
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S59698194

Common Terns, September 8, 2019

Common Terns

Common Terns (click to see the larger version)

I had a great time watching and photographing a group of 3 juvenile Common Terns at Montrose Beach on September 8. The birds were flying along the beach and fishing pier, diving occasionally for fish. They even landed briefly on the fishing pier. Common Terns are uncommon terns anymore at Montrose, especially in the fall. More photos of these birds are at my eBird checklist for the day, link below.

eBird Checklist
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S59616752

Western Kingbird, September 4, 2019

Western Kingbird

Western Kingbird. Photo by M. Ferguson. (click to see the larger version)

A Western Kingbird made an appearance at Montrose on September 4. The bird was hanging around the east end of the Point in the native planting area and enjoyed by many. Western Kingbirds are rare but regular (almost annual, actually) visitors to Montrose. Montrose is excellent for flycatchers, with 14 species recorded to date, including rarities such as Say’s Phoebe, Ash-throated Flycatcher, and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.

eBird Checklist
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S59505448

White-rumped Sandpipers, September 1, 2019

White-rumped and Semipalmated Sandpipers

White-rumped and Semipalmated Sandpipers (click to see the larger version)

This isn’t the best photo, and I had to enhance it a bit in Photoshop, but these 2 molting adult White-rumped Sandpipers (with 2 juvenile Semipalmated Sandpipers) were part of a nice mix of shorebirds at Montrose Beach on September 1. Stilt Sandpipers, a Pectoral Sandpiper, a Ruddy Turnstone were also seen. White-rumped Sandpipers are rare but regular fall migrants at Montrose. Unfortunately, most of these birds were present only early in the morning. I ended up with 48 species in a little over 2 hours of birding. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.

eBird Checklist
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S59425531

Piping Plover, November 22, 2018

Piping Plover

Piping Plover (click to see the larger version)

The long-staying Piping Plover was still at Montrose Beach on November 22. This is now the latest Piping Plover record for Illinois, the previous late record being November 21 from Mendota in 1982. Most of November has been unusually cold in Chicago, with high temperatures in the 30s and nighttime lows even colder for the last couple weeks. It makes you wonder what the bird has been eating – invertebrate activity must be seriously depressed in such cold conditions. This bird also survived at least one close encounter with a Cooper’s Hawk. We’ll see how long it holds on. Link to my eBird checklist below.

eBird Checklist
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50125138

Harlequin Duck, Piping Plover, and Swainson’s Thrush, November 8, 2018

Harlequin Duck

Harlequin Duck (click to see the larger version)

I spent a couple hours at Montrose on Thursday, November 8. The female type Harlequin Duck was inside the fishing pier and the Piping Plover continues on the beach. The Plover has been present for 3 weeks now. My best passerine was a very late Swainson’s Thrush near the Magic Hedge. A strange mix of birds for November. I ended up with 43 species for my effort. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.

eBird Checklist
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S49754515