Great Crested Flycatcher (click to see the larger version)
Migration doesn’t come to a screeching halt when May ends. We always get some spillover into early June, and this June 1 proved the point. Over 70 species were reported to eBird by all observers, and I ended up with 60 species in about 2.5 hours of effort. My migrant highlights include
All of the above birds are bona fide migrants that don’t breed at Montrose. I also had Great Crested and Willow Flycatchers and Eastern Wood-Pewees. These birds have bred at Montrose or nearby but could just as well be migrants. The point is you should keep checking Montrose into early June. The pace has slowed down from mid May but we’re still seeing a variety of shorebirds, warblers, flycatchers, and other birds. Why not squeeze every last drop out of migration while it lasts?
Olive-sided Flycatcher (click to see the larger version)
We’re about a month from the peak of songbird migration but we’ve been seeing small numbers of warblers and flycatchers for a few weeks. This is typical and expected. Migration starts as a trickle and gradually gains momentum until the peak. Some of these early migrants include Least, Yellow-bellied and Olive-sided Flycatchers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and Cape May, Bay-breasted, and Black-and-white Warblers among others. August is shorebird month but after you’re done checking the beach head up to the Magic Hedge for some early warblering.
Bay-breasted Warbler. Photo courtesy of Craig Millard. (click to see the larger version)
I don’t think anyone had high expectations for October 2. BirdCast and radar didn’t indicate a strong movement overnight, and the last few days have been flat for migrants at Montrose. Early October is usually an excellent time for warblers and sparrows, but the number of Bay-breasted Warblers exceeded anything I’ve experienced before. They were the most common warbler and at times seemed to be everywhere, including on the ground feeding. My final Bay-breasted count was 16. Not surprisingly, eBird wanted details as this is a big number for a bird that isn’t abundant in Chicago. We also had large numbers of Tennessee and Black-throated Green Warblers. I’m not sure what caused this incursion of Boreal forest breeding warblers, as we’ve been experiencing unseasonably mild weather and few cold fronts, which are usually the impetus for birds to move in the fall. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.