Tag Archives: Piping Plover

Still More Summer Shorebirds

Piping Plover

Piping Plover (click to see the larger version)

Another good morning for shorebirds at Montrose Beach, August 21. The Red Knot and Willet continue in the fluddle on the public beach. Also, an unbanded juvenile Piping Plover made a brief appearance early in the morning, and a Pectoral Sandpiper came in and was still there when I left. Link to my eBird checklist for the morning below.

For more information about shorebirds at Montrose, see the Shorebirds section of the What to See page.

eBird Checklist
August 21, 2020

Summer Shorebirds

Sanderling

Sanderling (click to see the larger version)

Shorebirds have been moving south at Montrose since late June. This is typical. The first birds are invariably adult Least Sandpipers (adult shorebirds precede their offspring). It’s hard to believe they have enough time to breed before starting migration again. The earliest southbound migrants almost overlap in time with the last northbound spring migrants! Montrose Beach serves as a convenient stopover for feeding and resting. The public part of the beach is often flooded in summer and migrant shorebirds like to break there and fuel up before continuing their journey. Some of the more unusual birds we’ve seen this summer include Whimbrel, Red Knot, Western Sandpiper, and White-rumped Sandpiper. Montrose doesn’t get huge numbers of shorebirds but the ones we do get we usually see well.

Monty and Rose

Also on the shorebird front, our celebrity Piping Plovers Monty and Rose returned in 2020 and nested again. This year they set up in the Dunes among the thick beach grass, which made monitoring challenging. They successfully raised 3 young, and unlike last year’s brood, fish and wildlife officials banded all 3. The young were also given names — Hazel, Esperanza, and Nish. The family departed by mid-August.

For more information about shorebirds at Montrose, see the Shorebirds section on the What to See page.

Montrose Is Open Again (sort of)

On June 22 the city reopened the Chicago lakefront trails after being closed for 3 months. The lakefront trails are the paths in the lakefront parks for running, walking, and bike riding. The trails extend out to and through Montrose Point, so accessing the Point is possible, but only on foot or by bike (parking is not allowed at this time). Note that activities such as picnicking, going to the beach, playing sports, and gathering in groups are prohibited.

Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird in the catbird’s seat at Montrose Point (click to see the larger version)

I live about a mile from Montrose and I started walking there when the trails reopened. The park looks very different from when I last visited in late March – a lot greener, with many fewer people, and an even higher Lake Michigan. Breeding season is in full swing with lots of begging immature birds around. Monty and Rose, the pair of Piping Plovers that nested at Montrose in 2019, have returned and are raising a family again in the Dunes. As of this writing, they have 3 ping pong ball-sized downy young. The male Red-winged Blackbirds are in attack mode and sparing no one. The first southbound shorebirds are starting to appear, signaling the beginning of migration.

If you want to visit Montrose you’ll have to walk in until the park fully reopens. I don’t know when this will be. People have been parking west of Lake Shore Drive and walking in, not very convenient but the only option available now. I’ve included a link to one of my eBird lists from a recent visit, URL below. Also, check the Montrose Point eBird Hotspot to find out what’s being seen there.

eBird Checklist
June 29, 2020

COVID-19 Update, October 2020

Parking
Parking is not allowed on West Montrose Harbor Drive or West Montrose Avenue. You run the risk of getting ticketed or towed if you do. The safer bet is to park on North Marine Drive (west of Lake Shore Drive) and walk in. See the map on the Montrose FAQ page for details.

Restrooms
The public restrooms at the beach house are closed. The only options are portable toilets at the north end of the harbor, just west of the yacht club building, and on the south side of the harbor. The toilets are within easy walking distance of the Magic Hedge. They’re not the Ritz but if you’re in a pinch they’ll do.

Additional Advice
If you visit Montrose wear a face mask, don’t gather in groups, and maintain at least six feet of distance between yourself and others. These rules are meant to promote public safety. The city closed Montrose in March because visitors were gathering in large groups and not maintaining enough distance between each other. Don’t be part of the problem, and don’t give the city an excuse to close Montrose again. We missed most of spring migration in 2020 because of irresponsible behavior by selfish people.

Piping Plover Update (good news, mostly)

Piping Plover

Rose, the mama Piping Plover (click to see the larger version)

Our Piping Plovers are now the proud parents of 2 chicks. A third chick hatched but died recently for unknown reasons. Monty, the papa, is doing an outstanding job of defending his kids from gulls and other shorebirds. Also, Rose, the mother, disappeared for a few days but returned on July 29. With a little luck, the chicks will survive, grow up, and fly away in a few weeks.

American Avocet, July 19, 2019

American Avocet, Piping Plover, and Semipalmated Plover

American Avocet, Piping Plover, and Semipalmated Plover (click to see the larger version)

Another hot, steamy summer day and another American Avocet at Montrose Beach. This one, an adult male, was working the public beach and protected area early on the morning of July 19. Also note the photobombing Semipalmated Plover and Piping Plover in the lower left corner of the photo. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.

eBird Checklist
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S58290370

Nesting Piping Plovers, Take 2

Piping Plover

Piping Plover on nest (click to see the larger version)

After the eggs from their first nesting attempt were removed by biologists, Rose and Monty, the intrepid Piping Plover pair, picked up their show and moved it a few hundred yards east to a new area. This is a more propitious location, both above the flood zone and away from people. One bird on the nest is visible in this photo (inside the protective cage). A couple of eggs have been laid. Note the photobombing Bank Swallow on the rope.