Category Archives: Summer Bird Reports

June 1 – August 31, inclusive

Water Crib Action

Wilson Avenue Crib

Wilson Avenue Crib (click to see the larger version)

If you’ve been to Montrose you’ve probably noticed the structure due east on the horizon that looks like it’s floating on Lake Michigan. This is the Wilson Avenue Crib and it was part of the water distribution system for Chicago. The cribs pump water to the filtration plants, also along the lakefront. The filtration plants purify the water and distribute it to the city and nearby suburbs for consumption. The Wilson Avenue Crib is no longer operational but several species of birds are making good use of it. The dark shapes in the photos are Double-crested Cormorants and they nest on the crib. State endangered Peregrine Falcons have also nested there.

I took this photo with my digital camera and Questar telescope in June 2019, a technique known as digiscoping. To read more about how I digiscope, see the Digiscoping with a Questar page on my main birding website, The Orniphile. The Wilson Avenue Crib is about 2 miles offshore.

Nesting Piping Plovers, Take 2

Piping Plover

Piping Plover on nest (click to see the larger version)

After the eggs from their first nesting attempt were removed by biologists, Rose and Monty, the intrepid Piping Plover pair, picked up their show and moved it a few hundred yards east to a new area. This is a more propitious location, both above the flood zone and away from people. One bird on the nest is visible in this photo (inside the protective cage). A couple of eggs have been laid. Note the photobombing Bank Swallow on the rope.

Nesting Piping Plovers!

Piping Plover

Rose, the female Piping Plover (click to see the larger version)

Hope is the thing with eggs. A pair of Piping Plovers at Montrose Beach has ended the long drought of nesting Piping Plovers in Chicago. As of June 10, Rose, the female, has laid 3 eggs in a nest on the public portion of the beach just northwest of the Beach House. The area has been cordoned off by authorities to protect the birds and their nesting effort, and a cage has been placed over the nest to further protect the eggs. With a little luck and a lot of help from volunteers, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and the United States Fish & Wildlife Service, the eggs will hatch within a few weeks. Stay tuned.

White-rumped Sandpipers, June 5, 2019

White-rumped Sandpiper

White-rumped Sandpiper (click to see the larger version)

White-rumped Sandpipers are late spring migrants in the United States. In fact, they’re one of the last migrants seen in the spring, with some still moving north well into June. This bird, one of two White-rumpeds present, was taking a break at Montrose Beach on June 5. Note the reddish base to the lower mandible, a field mark that helps distinguish White-rumpeds from other small sandpipers.

Still Going, June 1, 2019

Just because the calendar says it’s June doesn’t mean migration comes to a screeching halt. Early June can be good for shorebirds, flycatchers, late warblers, and other stragglers, and Montrose is a great place to see this late spring migration. Such was the case on June 1. I tallied 64 species in 3 hours of morning birding. My highlights include

Dunlin
Semipalmated Sandpiper (4)
Sanderling (5)
Black-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (4)
Alder Flycatcher (2)
Willow Flycatcher
Blue Jay (20)
Swainson’s Thrush (4)
12 species of warblers, including Northern Waterthrush, Black-and-white, Mourning, Connecticut, Magnolia, Blackburnian, Canada, and Wilson’s

Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.

eBird Checklist
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S56957065

Dunlin, August 23, 2018

Dunlin

Dunlin (click to see the larger version)

A juvenile Dunlin was at Montrose Beach on August 23. This is the earliest Dunlin I’ve ever seen in Chicago and only the second juvenile. We usually don’t start seeing immature Dunlin until the second or third week in September, and by then they’ve started to moult and show gray first basic/formative upperpart feathers, so this is significant.

eBird Checklist
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S48021520