Montrose was bursting with Monarchs on September 27. I’ve been birding and looking at butterflies there for 40 years and I can’t remember seeing so many. They seemed to be dripping off the asters and goldenrods. Obviously they had a good year. Sanctuaries like the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary provide refuge for all kinds of wildlife and prove that nature will thrive when given a chance. Oh yeah, I did some birding too. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.
The WTTW news program Chicago Tonight ran a fine piece about the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary and its birds on May 24, 2017. The piece featured photos and videos from renowned nature photographer Rob Curtis and commentary from bird habitat expert Judy Pollock. Click the play button below to watch it in its entirety.
Who knew the human hand could double as a feeding platform for birds? I wanted to see if I could entice the resident Black-capped Chickadees at Montrose to take food from my hand (and video the experience at the same time). I’ve seen people hand feeding chickadees at Montrose, so I knew the birds were accustomed to this practice. I went over there one recent morning and when I found the chickadees I crumbled up a granola bar, put it in my left hand, and filmed the encounter with my phone camera in my right hand. After a few seconds and a little pishing the birds started coming in and taking the food. It’s amazing how tame wildlife can be. Video of the encounter below.
There were good numbers of waterfowl at Montrose this morning, March 5, including Canada Geese, Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Common Goldeneye, and Greater Scaup. I also had about 25 White-winged Scoters between the fishhook pier and the harbor mouth. Most of these birds were easy to see because of the extensive ice cover, forcing them into open water near shore. The video is from Montrose Harbor, where a pump is keeping a small patch of water open.
I had a drake Long-tailed Duck at the mouth of Montrose Harbor this morning, December 10. This looks like the same bird that was at Loyola recently. My other good bird for the morning was a flyover Common (I assume) Redpoll while looking at the Long-tailed Duck. Also, 2 lingering Ruddy Ducks and all 3 mergansers. Video of the Long-tailed below.
I went over to Montrose this afternoon to see the wave action on Lake Michigan from the storm that went through. I’ve lived in Chicago all my life and I’ve seen some impressive weather but this storm has to rank near the top in terms of violence and intensity. A large part of the dunes at Montrose Beach was flooded. At times part of the fishing pier was under water. Waves were crashing 20-30 feet high against the fishing pier. Lake Michigan was roiling. I even saw a few birds, including a Northern Harrier flying south over the lake.