The King Rail continues at Montrose. This morning, June 14, I saw it walking and feeding in the grass and water next to the fishing pier at the base of the pier. It appeared to be healthy and put on quite a show for me. This is the first time I’ve seen this (presumably) continuing bird. Thanks to Andrew Aldrich for alerting me to its presence.
We also had a few late migrants and surprises, including Mourning and Blackburnian Warblers, Dickcissel, Orchard Oriole, Wood Thrush, and Bonaparte’s Gull. See? It pays to keep birding into June.
I spent a few hours birding Montrose this morning, October 15. There were good numbers of birds around, especially shorebirds. In fact, I had my best shorebirding day all fall (in terms of individuals) today. I ended up with 49 species total, highlighted by:
Surf Scoter – 3 immatures in the surf at the east end of the beach
Virginia Rail – 1 in the dunes
Sora – 1 in the dunes
Sanderling – ~30
Dunlin – ~30
Baird’s Sandpiper – juvenile
Pectoral Sandpiper – 2 juveniles
Greater Yellowlegs – 28
Lesser Yellowlegs – 1
Forster’s Tern – 3
Merlin – 1
Peregrine Falcon – 2
Lapland Longspur – 1
5 warblers – Yellow-rumped, Palm, Black-throated Green, Orange-crowned, and Tennessee
Bobolink – 1
The yellowlegs and Dunlin were using the large fluddle that has reformed on the beach, and the other shorebirds were feeding in the extensive algae on the beach at the shoreline. Unfortunately, the unleashed dogs running up and down the beach kept flushing most of the shorebirds; by the time I left few shorebirds were left.
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.
Montrose was hopping this morning with passerines, dominant among them Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers and Swamp Sparrows. Also, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Hermit Thrushes, White-throated and Savannah Sparrows, American Pipit, Cliff Swallow, and a male Scarlet Tanager. Non-passerine highlights include Great Egret, Green Heron, Solitary Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Wilson’s Snipe, and Virginia Rail.
Karen spotted a very cooperative Virginia Rail walking around inside the small satellite hedge this afternoon, April 25. Virginia Rails always remind me of kiwis, though rails and kiwis aren’t closely related.
Photo by Kanae Hirabayashi (click to see the larger version).
On May 30, 1994, Chicago birder Kanae Hirabayashi found a Black Rail at Montrose. The bird put on quite a show for the dozens of people who saw it, walking around in the open and giving mouth watering looks. This bird was a lifer for many birders, including myself, and I haven’t seen one since. On a side note, all of the rails that have been recorded in Illinois have been seen at Montrose.