Three Franklin’s Gulls stopped at Montrose Beach on May 23. Two of these birds were immatures, the other an adult in alternate plumage. Breeding plumaged adult Franklin’s Gulls are always a treat to see; it’s by far the rarest age and plumage we get at Montrose. Franklin’s Gulls are uncommon but regular visitors to Montrose in spring and fall. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.
I took today off in anticipation of what I expected to be a great day of birding at Montrose Point in Chicago. It was fantastic, exceeding even my own optimistic expectations. The southwest winds brought in a ton of migrants – I’ve lost track of all the FOS’s I snatched up today. A review of eBird reports from Montrose shows about 125 species reported from about 20 submissions. This will probably go down as one of the best days this spring. My highlights include
Baird’s Sandpiper – Probably the same bird from yesterday. A very good spring bird for us.
Willet – 2
Franklin’s Gull – Older immature bird on the beach
All 6 regularly occurring swallows
All Catharus thrushes plus Wood Thrush. Excellent numbers of Swainson’s Thrushes.
19 species of warblers highlighted by Pine, Hooded, Blackpoll, Chestnut-sided, and Blackburnian
Grasshopper Sparrow – 1
Le Conte’s Sparrow – 1
Dickcissel – 1
Bobolink – 1
Orchard Oriole – 1
Rusty Blackbird – 1
I ended up with 102 species for the day, only the fourth time I’ve cracked the century mark at Montrose in the 30+ years of been birding the place.
Montrose was surprisingly birdy this morning, November 8, with several unexpected finds. I ended up with 35 species in about 1.5 hours of birding, which isn’t too shabby considering the date. Best were a Cattle Egret and 5 Franklin’s Gulls. The egret was flying around the beach and Dunes early in the morning. I think it landed briefly on the beach, but was flying north over Lake Michigan the last time I saw it. Cattle Egret is an unusual bird for Montrose; we don’t see them every year. This has been a good fall for them in the upper Midwest, so maybe this sighting shouldn’t have been surprising.
Three of the 5 Franklin’s Gulls were at the west end of the beach early in the morning and were still there when I left. The other 2 were flybys. This hasn’t been a good fall for Franklin’s Gulls along the Lake Michigan lakefront, probably because we haven’t had many storms with strong west winds. Link to eBird checklist below.
A first cycle Franklin’s Gull was the highlight of an otherwise uneventful early morning visit to Montrose today, October 12. Mid to late October is an excellent time to see Franklin’s Gulls at Montrose, particularly when the wind is from the west and strong, the stronger the better.
Who said summer birding is boring and predictable? This morning, June 26, I had an immature Franklin’s Gull at Montrose Beach. It flew off after a few minutes and I never saw it again. I also had a flyover Great Egret.
Franklin’s Gulls (click to see the larger version)
I spent a couple hours at Montrose this morning, May 27. Most of the passerines from earlier in the week must have flown north with the south winds, which isn’t surprising. The waterbirding however was much better. Two Black-necked Stilts and 2 immature Franklin’s Gulls were on the beach early in the morning. The stilts were in the fluddle on the beach, working west and feeding along the way. They flew to the east and disappeared after a little while. The Franklin’s Gulls didn’t stay long either. Black-necked Stilt is an accidental species at Montrose, with just one previous record.
The real excitement came when a group of Double-crested Cormorants flew over that contained a noticeably smaller cormorant. We could tell the bird was brownish, so it was probably an immature, and based on size likely a Neotropic, a species unrecorded at Montrose. The bird was too far away and the flock was moving too fast to make out any other plumage features. I’m not going to add it to the list of birds seen at Montrose because of the distance involved but I think it was a Neotropic.