Lesser Black-backed Gull with Ring-billed Gulls (click to see the larger version)
The birding highlight for me on October 4 was this crisply marked juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull. I can’t remember the last time I saw a full juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull anywhere – usually by this time of the year first cycle birds have molted in at least a few second-generation upperpart feathers. Lesser Black-backed Gulls have increased dramatically in North America in recent years, including the Great Lakes, where they are uncommon but regular. I wonder where this one hatched? Europe? Iceland? Somewhere in North America? Impossible to know but fun to think about. More photos are at my eBird checklist for the day, link below.
Montrose Point was birdy on the morning of September 30. I ended up with 63 species in about 3 hours, my highest single-day total there this month. A little over 70 species were reported on eBird. Two of my better finds were a late juvenile Baird’s Sandpiper (by eBird standards) and a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk taking a bath in a flooded parking lot. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.
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.
Cassin’s Kingbird . Photo by K. Kurylowicz. (click to see the larger version)
Krzysztof Kurylowicz found a Cassin’s Kingbird at Montrose on September 22. This is a first state record. The bird moved around a lot and could be difficult to see well, but a number of patient and persistent birders saw and photographed this extraordinary rarity. Unfortunately, it didn’t stay long and disappeared after a couple of hours. Obviously this is a new species for Montrose, number 346, as well as our 15th flycatcher. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below. More photos of the Cassin’s can be found there as well.
Townsend’s Warbler. Photo by M. Ferguson. (click to see the larger version)
Montrose Point has a loooong list of rare birds to its credit. This Townsend’s Warbler, found on September 15, had birders jumping for joy. Townsend’s Warbler is normally found in the Western United States and Canada; like other birds, they sometimes stray and end up far out of range. Amazingly, this is the second record for Montrose, the other occurring back in 2002. The bird was seen again on September 16. A big thanks and shoutout to Mike Ferguson for letting me use his photo.
We had a nice influx of shorebirds at Montrose Beach in Chicago on September 15, including a couple of late birds flagged as such by eBird. Best were a Willet and Short-billed Dowitcher, plus Pectoral Sandpiper and 2 Lesser Yellowlegs. Sanderlings and Semipalmated Plovers continue. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.