Category Archives: General

Montrose Is Open Again (sort of)

On June 22 the city reopened the Chicago lakefront trails after being closed for 3 months. The lakefront trails are the paths in the lakefront parks for running, walking, and bike riding. The trails extend out to and through Montrose Point, so accessing the Point is possible, but only on foot or by bike (parking is not allowed at this time). Note that activities such as picnicking, going to the beach, playing sports, and gathering in groups are prohibited.

Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird in the catbird’s seat at Montrose Point (click to see the larger version)

I live about a mile from Montrose and I started walking there when the trails reopened. The park looks very different from when I last visited in late March – a lot greener, with many fewer people, and an even higher Lake Michigan. Breeding season is in full swing with lots of begging immature birds around. Monty and Rose, the pair of Piping Plovers that nested at Montrose in 2019, have returned and are raising a family again in the Dunes. As of this writing, they have 3 ping pong ball-sized downy young. The male Red-winged Blackbirds are in attack mode and sparing no one. The first southbound shorebirds are starting to appear, signaling the beginning of migration.

If you want to visit Montrose you’ll have to walk in until the park fully reopens. I don’t know when this will be. People have been parking west of Lake Shore Drive and walking in, not very convenient but the only option available now. I’ve included a link to one of my eBird lists from a recent visit, URL below. Also, check the Montrose Point eBird Hotspot to find out what’s being seen there.

eBird Checklist
June 29, 2020

Montrose Closed, March 26, 2020

Police closing Montrose Point

Sign of the times. Police closing Montrose Point. Photo courtesy of Ben Sanders (click to see the larger version)

On March 26, 2020, the city of Chicago closed all of Lincoln Park, including Montrose Point, to the public to limit the spread of COVID-19. It’s unclear how long Montrose will be closed. It could be weeks, it could be months. DO NOT attempt to access Montrose (or any other part of Lincoln Park) while it is closed – you could be fined or even arrested.

eBird is the Word

If you want to know (and be in the know) what’s going on bird-wise at Montrose Point, there’s no better resource than eBird. Migration is picking up and more people are reporting their sightings using this invaluable tool. Click the image below to be taken to the Montrose Point eBird hotspot.

Knowledge is power.

Montrose Point eBird Hotspot

2019 Birds & Birding Recap (it was a very good year)

2019 was a phenomenal year for birds and birding at Montrose, both for migration and the number of rarities and vagrants seen. We also had a historic nesting record. I can’t remember a more exciting year, and I’ve been birding Montrose for over 40 years. Some of the notable happenings include (underlined text points to a story on this blog)

By my tally, at least five new species were added to the list of birds recorded at Montrose, bringing the total to 348. This is above the 2-3 yearly average for the last few years. I’m not sure why 2019 was so special but 350 is within striking distance and will likely happen in 2020. To see a list of birds recorded at Montrose, see the Montrose List page on this site, URL below.

The Montrose List

It’s (Mostly) About the Birds

Welcome to my blog about birding Montrose Point in Chicago. I created this blog to report some of my recent sightings from Montrose. I’ll also write about non-Montrose bird sightings from time to time. Thanks for visiting and good birding. Unless stated otherwise, all images and content were created by and are the property of Robert D. Hughes; any unauthorized use is prohibited.

Questions or comments? Direct them to Robert D. Hughes.

About Me

Robert D. Hughes

I’ve been birding since 1978 and much of that time has been spent at Montrose. I’ve never lived far from Montrose so it’s always been easy for me to bird there before or after school or work.

I was born, raised, and currently live in Chicago. My professional background is in webmastering, front-end Web development, and content management. When I’m not working I apply my background in Web development and communications to promote the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary through social media and this blog. You could say I’m a Web guy at heart.

Robert D. Hughes
February 2020

Need a Birding Guide for Montrose?

I offer guided birding services for Montrose Point as well as other locations in the Chicago area. What are you interested in seeing? Spring warblers? Specialty birds like Henslow’s Sparrow? I love finding and showing birds to people. Contact me for more information. I look forward to hearing from you!

I designed and developed this site and produce most of the content for it and its sister birding website, The Orniphile. I also pay for hosting and deal with the many challenges associated with hosting. Managing these sites is a labor of love – I thoroughly enjoy writing about birds and telling the story of Montrose Point, one of the most popular and renowned bird and nature sanctuaries in the United States. Empowering people with the information they can use to make informed decisions about birding Montrose is a passion of mine. With that in mind, I’m asking for contributions to help offset the hosting and management costs.

I use PayPal for donations. It’s safe, secure, and easy to use. To make a contribution, click the Donate button below and follow the instructions. Thanks!




What’s New

NOTE: On June 22 Chicago opened its lakefront trails to the public. This includes Montrose Point. See my Montrose Is Open Again blog post for more information.

Rising water levels on Lake Michigan have changed the shoreline dynamics at Montrose Point. The public portion of the beach is frequently flooded, reducing the amount of beach available to beachgoers, but creating habitat for gulls, terns, and shorebirds. Also, the winter of 2020 saw a couple of severe storms that flooded and damaged the Dunes, including the pannes. The effects of this damage will be long-lasting. A video of one of these storms is at this link – January 11, 2020 Storm

Header Photo: White-winged Scoters from Montrose Harbor