Tag Archives: Clay-colored Sparrow

Abbondanza!, May 19, 2019

Least Bittern

Least Bittern (click to see the larger version)

Montrose was on fire with birds on May 19, hands down the best day of the spring. I ended up with 107 species for the day, 103 in the morning and 4 more on a return visit in the afternoon and evening, my second best daily total ever there (over 130 species were reported to eBird for the day, which is about as well as we do). The Magic Hedge lived up to its name and was bursting with warblers, thrushes, vireos, and flycatchers. One of the highlights was a slightly out of place male Least Bittern in the peripheral plantings. We live for days like this. We suffer through Midwestern winters for experiences like this. My highlights include

Piping Plover – 2
Lesser Black-backed Gull – first cycle bird
Least Bittern
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Philadelphia Vireo – 4
Clay-colored Sparrow
Nelson’s Sparrow
Yellow-breasted Chat
24 species of warblers including Mourning, Connecticut, Black-throated Blue, and Hooded, plus gobs of Bay-breasted, Magnolias, and Blackpolls

eBird Checklist (morning visit)
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S56488818

eBird Checklist (p.m. visit)
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S56512714

The Sweet Season, May 9, 2019

Common Nighthawk

Common Nighthawk. Photo by M. Ferguson (click to see the larger version)

The sweet season has commenced. Days like May 9 make suffering through Chicago winters worth it. I don’t know if the volume of birds was better than the fantastic weekend of May 4-5 but the variety certainly was. I tallied 95 species in about 3.5 hours of morning birding, my best spring total to date (according to eBird, over 120 species were reported). My highlights include 3 Black-bellied Plovers, Willet, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common and Forster’s Terns, a roosting Common Nighthawk, 5 woodpeckers, 19 species of warblers (Pine, Northern Parula, and Blue-winged being the best), and Clay-colored Sparrow. Link to my eBird checklist below.

eBird Checklist
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S56042131

May 5, 2018

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Yellow-headed Blackbird (click to see the larger version)

The hit parade of spring migration wonderfulness continued today, May 5 at Montrose. I ended up with 101 species in 6 hours of birding, only the fifth time I’ve topped 100 species in a day at Montrose. Passerines were abundant, with White-crowned, White-throated, and Swamp Sparrows and Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers leading the way. There were also good numbers of Gray Catbirds and Swainson’s Thrushes. Interestingly, many of these birds were feeding in the tops of trees that were just leafing out, apparently on newly emerged midges. Shorebird variety, however, was low, which was surprising given the complete lack of dogs on the beach (thanks to CPD security) and the presence of a large fluddle on the public beach. The large number of people probably didn’t help (there were 2 major events at Montrose today). My highlights include

White-eyed Vireo – 1, feeding in the top of trees, a common theme today
All 6 regularly occurring swallows
Golden-crowned Kinglet – 1, getting late
20 species of warbler, the best being Prothonotary and Golden-winged. Only Yellow-rumped, Palm, Northern Waterthrush, and Ovenbird were common however
Clay-colored Sparrow – 2
Lark Sparrow – 1
Yellow-breasted Chat – 1
Yellow-headed Blackbird – 1
Orchard Oriole – 2

eBird Checklist
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S45299316

Blue Grosbeak, Lark Sparrow, and Clay-colored Sparrow, May 1, 2017

I spent about 3.5 hours at Montrose this morning, May 1, and it was worth just about every minute. Passerines were in in good numbers; I had a number of goodies and FOSs. Shorebirds, however, were disappointing. I woke up extra early and made it the beach just before sunrise, but all I could muster were a few Spotted Sandpipers, probably the nesting birds, and a couple Killdeer, again probably the local breeding birds. I ended up with 78 species, highlighted by

Virginia Rail – 1 in the eastern panne
Sora – 3
Forster’s Tern – ~60, strong movement
Merlin – 1
Great Crested Flycatcher – 1
Eastern Kingbird – 5
All 5 regularly occurring swallows
Sedge Wren – 1 singing in the eastern panne
Gray-cheeked Thrush – 1
Wood Thrush – 2
Veery – 1
11 species of warblers, Blue-winged being the best
Clay-colored Sparrow – 1, thanks Phil
Lark Sparrow – 1
Blue Grosbeak – 1 immature male
Bobolink – 1

Bird of the day goes to the immature male Blue Grosbeak. I’ve only seen 2 or 3 BLGR at Montrose in my 35+ years birding there, so I was fairly excited. Link to my eBird checklist below.

eBird Checklist
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S36453350

September 24, 2016

Eastern Whip-poor-will

Eastern Whip-poor-will (click to see the larger version)

I spent almost 4 hours at Montrose this morning, September 24. I didn’t have high hopes because of the east winds but it turned out to be a good day. I ended up with 61 species, my best count this fall so far. Highlights include Osprey, Eastern Whip-poor-will (see photo), Wood Thrush, Clay-colored Sparrow, Sedge Wren, and Black-throated Blue Warbler. Link to eBird checklist below.

eBird Checklist
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31731653

May 7, 2016

I spent a couple hours at Montrose this morning, May 7, from just before
sunrise to about 8 when the cold front passed and the rain and lightning
started. There were good numbers of birds and I ended up with 70 species
on the head. Sparrows were the big story, especially White-crowned,
which probably peaked today. Flycatchers, thrushes, and vireos on the
other hand were scarce and warbler diversity was low. Passerines were
coming in off the lake for about an hour after sunrise. I had several
FOYs. Here are my highlights:

Common Loon – 1 adult in breeding plumage in the lake
Great Egret – 3 flyovers
Northern Harrier – 1 going north low over the lake
Black-bellied Plover – 1 cracking adult male in breeding duds on the beach
American Avocet – 4 on the beach
White-rumped Sandpiper – 1 flying around the beach with a group of Least
Sandpipers
Lesser Yellowlegs – 13, a nice count for Montrose which tends to be
Tringa repellent
Dowitcher sp. – 1 with the yellowlegs
Great Crested Flycatcher – 1 This and an Eastern Kingbird were my only 2
flycatchers
Blue Jay – ~100 flying over and around the Point
Cliff Swallow – 1
Bank Swallow – ~25, moving north and south
Marsh Wren – 1 in the Dunes
Hermit Thrush – 1 This and a Veery were my only Catharus thrushes
American Pipit – ~5, all at the beach
Northern Parula – 1
Clay-colored Sparrow – 1
White-crowned Sparrow – Hundreds
White-throated Sparrow – ~75
Savannah Sparrow – ~30
Rose-breasted Grosbeak – 3
Orchard Oriole – 1 adult male

I also had a dead Sora on the fishing pier.