White-eyed Vireo (click to see the larger version)
When you think of November and the Chicago lakefront, birds like Black-legged Kittiwake, Purple Sandpiper, Harlequin Duck, and Red-throated Loon come to mind, but today’s highlights at Montrose include 2 species that shouldn’t be anywhere near northern Illinois at this time of the year. The Piping Plover found in mid-October was still on the beach. This bird has been present for 2 weeks and doesn’t appear to have any intention of leaving. I’m guessing that 98% of the world’s Piping Plovers are on their wintering grounds now, making this one of the latest Piping Plover records for Illinois.
The other late bird was a White-eyed Vireo (found by Jeff Bilsky). This is the latest White-eyed Vireo for Montrose I know of and one of just a handful of fall records for us (White-eyed Vireos are more or less regular in spring). Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.
A very late Piping Plover was at Montrose Beach on October 18. The bird has been present for a couple of days and represents the latest record of this species for Montrose.
While the Piping Plover was the best bird it wasn’t the only goodie. I tallied 59 species in about 3 hours of birding, highlighted by Short-eared Owl, the continuing Eastern Wood-Pewee, and a female Black-throated Blue Warbler. Link to my eBird checklist below.
A banded juvenile Piping Plover has been hanging around Montrose Beach for a few days. This morning I saw it in the fluddle on the public beach (fluddles are pools of water that form after heavy rains and are attractive to migrating shorebirds). As of this post, the source location of this bird has not been determined. Several banded Piping Plovers that have appeared on the Illinois Lake Michigan lakefront in the past have been traced to the population from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in northern Michigan. Perhaps that is where this bird is from. After the plover, my next best bird was an early Swainson’s Thrush, a portent of things to come in a few weeks. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.
Piping Plover. Photo by Kanae Hirabayashi. (click to see the larger version.)
An unbanded male Piping Plover was at the east end of Montrose Beach on April 30 and May 1. Piping Plovers are rare but regular visitors to the beach in spring and late summer. We know the bird is a male because of the blackish breast and forehead bands. These bands are brownish on females. Piping Plover is an endangered species in Illinois and the rest of the United States.
Montrose was really hopping this morning. It never ceases to amaze me what a couple days of south winds can do in spring. In about an hour and a half I saw the following birds (not a complete list):
Piping Plover – 1, the unbanded male
American Avocets – 2, flew in from the south and landed on the beach around 6:30
Little Blue Heron – 1 adult flying south over Lake Michigan with 2 Great Blue Herons
Green Heron – 1
Red-headed Woodpecker – 1 near the golf course pond
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – 1
Least Flycatcher – 1
Great Crested Flycatcher – 1
Eastern Kingbird – 3
Sedge Wren – 1 in the meadow
House Wren – ~5
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – 2
Veery – ~4
Swainson’s Thrush – 3
Gray-cheeked Thrush – 1
Gray Catbird – 3
American Pipit – 1
Orange-crowned Warbler – 2
Nashville Warbler – 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler – ~40
Palm Warbler – ~20
Black-throated Green Warbler – 1
Yellow Warbler – 2
Hooded Warbler – 1 female in the Magic Hedge
Ovenbird – 1
Yellow-breasted Chat – 1 near the water feature
American Redstart – 1
Field Sparrow – 1
Henslow’s Sparrow – 1 in the meadow
Savannah Sparrow – ~30
Swamp Sparrow – ~40
Lincoln’s Sparrow – ~10
White-throated Sparrow – +
White-crowned Sparrow – ~10
Bobolink – 1 male
Purple Finch – 1
I probably missed a few things but you get the idea.