Clay-colored Sparrow (click to see the larger version)
Saturday, May 13 qualified as a fallout given the volume of warblers, sparrows, flycatchers, and other passerine migrants present. Over 140 species were reported to eBird by all observers. The rain, north winds, and temperatures in the 50s didn’t slow down the birds or the birders. My highlights include
May 6 lived up to the billing and turned out to be the best day of the spring so far. The persistent south winds brought in a lot of migrants, including many first of seasons. About 130 species were reported to eBird by all observers, which is about as good as we do. Sparrows were well represented, with many White-throated and White-crowned. Warbler variety was low, but it’s still early. My highlights for the morning include
Golden-crowned Kinglet (getting late)
Clay-colored Sparrow (3)
Dark-eyed Junco (getting late)
Bobolink (3, all males)
Black-throated Blue Warbler
We’re close to the peak of spring migration. The next couple weeks should see an increase in warbler, flycatcher, and Catharus thrush numbers. Keep checking weather forecasts for warm fronts, and keep checking the Montrose Point eBird Hotspot for the latest sightings.
What’s more interesting in this photo? The male Bobolink feeding near the top of the tree or the midges buzzing around him?
If you were at Montrose in late April or early May 2022, you couldn’t help but notice the swarms of midges (midges are insects related to mosquitoes). If you happened to walk through a cloud of them, a few may have ended up in your eyes or mouth. The midges may have been annoying to us but the birds were loving them. Seeing White-throated and Swamp Sparrows feasting on these tiny insects in the tree tops was odd, something you’d expect from warblers, but they were taking advantage of an abundant food source, like any smart bird would.
Photo: Male Bobolink from Montrose Point in Chicago, May 7, 2022
Adult male Baltimore Oriole (click to see the larger version)
We’re about a month from peak landbird migration but we’ve been getting a steady trickle of Empidonax flycatchers, cuckoos, Baltimore Orioles, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and a few warblers, all expected late summer/early fall migrants. On the flip side, the Tree, Bank, and Northern Rough-winged Swallows that were such a visual and noisy presence in the Dunes have moved on. We’re still seeing Barn Swallows and Purple Martins, but the martins are getting restless and will be gone in a few weeks. Link to my eBird checklist for August 16 below.
Brewer’s Blackbird (click to see the larger version)
It’s hard to believe Brewer’s Blackbird is rare anywhere in Illinois but they are at Montrose Point in Chicago. They nest to the north of us in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan, but for whatever reason, they largely avoid the Chicago lakefront. So seeing one at Montrose on October 10 was exciting. The bird, a female, was in the Dunes for a few minutes before flying south and disappearing. More photos of the Brewer’s are at my eBird checklist for the morning, URL below.
Today was the best day of the fall for me. I ended up with 53 species in about 3 hours of birding, with good numbers of passerines, especially warblers and Catharus thrushes. Highlights include Connecticut and 2 Golden-winged Warblers (10 warbler species total), Bobolink, Dickcissel, the continuing American Avocet, and a surprise Turkey Vulture. TVs aren’t rare at Montrose but we don’t see a lot of them. Shorebirds were skimpy, mainly because the fluddle has dried up. I also had impressive numbers of aerial insectivores, mostly Chimney Swifts and Barn Swallows, a few bonus Cliff Swallows, and what seemed like thousands of buzzing dragonflies. Link to my eBird checklist for the morning below.