We usually get a nice spillover of migrants into early June, but this year activity has dropped sharply since the peak day on May 19. Migrants are in a hurry to get to their breeding grounds, so they probably took advantage of the favorable weather we’ve been experiencing and continued moving north without stopping. We should get one last push of flycatchers, cuckoos, Red-eyed Vireos, and later warblers sometime in the next week. Spring shorebird migration also continues into June, and a rare gull or tern could show up, so don’t forget to check the beach.
The Piping Plover monitors found a Whimbrel on the protected portion of Montrose Beach in the afternoon of May 23. Whimbrels are rare in spring and have a narrow window of occurrence from about May 15 to May 25. This bird delighted the many birders who came to see it. It’s also a reminder that afternoon and evening birding can be just as productive as morning birding, especially for shorebirds, gulls, and terns.
May 19 will go down as the best day for migration in 2023. Montrose was full of warblers, thrushes, and flycatchers. It was also full of birders. Over 140 species were reported to eBird by all observers, and several people topped 100, which only happens a couple times each year. My highlights include
American Wigeon (late)
Ruddy Turnstone (4)
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Mourning Warbler (6!)
Migration will start to wind down, but late May is still an excellent time for later warblers and vireos, and flycatchers will continue to increase through the end of the month.
Saturday, May 13 qualified as a fallout given the volume of warblers, sparrows, flycatchers, and other passerine migrants present. Over 140 species were reported to eBird by all observers. The rain, north winds, and temperatures in the 50s didn’t slow down the birds or the birders. My highlights include
Common Tern (14)
Common Loon (getting late)
Clay-colored Sparrow (2)
Orchard Oriole (4)
Scarlet Tanager (4)
We’re at the peak of spring migration; birding will be productive for the next 2 to 3 weeks. This is the time to call in sick or take those personal days off.
May 6 lived up to the billing and turned out to be the best day of the spring so far. The persistent south winds brought in a lot of migrants, including many first of seasons. About 130 species were reported to eBird by all observers, which is about as good as we do. Sparrows were well represented, with many White-throated and White-crowned. Warbler variety was low, but it’s still early. My highlights for the morning include
Golden-crowned Kinglet (getting late)
Clay-colored Sparrow (3)
Dark-eyed Junco (getting late)
Bobolink (3, all males)
Black-throated Blue Warbler
We’re close to the peak of spring migration. The next couple weeks should see an increase in warbler, flycatcher, and Catharus thrush numbers. Keep checking weather forecasts for warm fronts, and keep checking the Montrose Point eBird Hotspot for the latest sightings.
The forecast for this week has changed. We’ll get a shot of warmer air and south winds on Thursday and into Friday, so Friday could be a good day. This change is reflected in the BirdCast forecast showing a sizable movement of migrants into northern Illinois Thursday night. Hopefully some of these birds will hang around for our Spring Count on Saturday.