Long-tailed Duck (click to see the larger version)
A female Long-tailed Duck has been hanging around the fishing pier at Montrose for the last few days. On October 28 I saw her near the end of the pier on the Lake Michigan side. Long-tailed Ducks are uncommon but regular late fall through early spring visitors to Montrose.
October 28 was an interesting day with a nice mix of birds. I ended up with 49 species for about 2 hours of effort, and 60 species were reported to eBird for the day. Some of my highlights include
A number of other shorebirds occur at this time of the year, including Dunlin (expected) and Long-billed Dowitcher (rare), and later in the fall Purple Sandpiper and Red Phalarope are possible. Link to my eBird checklist for the morning below.
Grasspiper – A shorebird often found in short-grass habitat, e.g., Buff-breasted Sandpiper.
More fun with Sanderlings at Montrose. On September 12 I noticed a group flying around the grassy field south of the beach. Eventually some landed and began feeding. I’m not sure I’ve seen this behavior before. Sanderlings show high fidelity to sandy beaches but like other birds can adjust their behavior and use non-typical habitat. BTW, the Montrose Beach Sanderling flock is up to 100 or so birds. This is one of the best falls for them I can remember.
Montrose Beach in Chicago sure does. I had over 60 on September 10, my best count of 2020. This is a continuation of the excellent shorebird migration we’ve had this summer and fall. All of these Sanderlings appeared to be juveniles; Arctic breeding shorebirds must have had a good season. Link to my eBird checklist for the morning below.
Try counting the Sanderlings in the photo. I got up to 62.
For more information about shorebirds at Montrose, see the Shorebirds section of the What to See page.
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.
American Golden-Plover (click to see the larger version)
We had a nice variety of shorebirds at Montrose Beach on September 3, highlighted by a pair of adult American Golden-Plovers, an adult Baird’s Sandpiper, 2 Pectoral Sandpipers, and an American Avocet. The fluddle briefly reformed on the public beach after overnight rains, providing valuable habitat. These birds were probably moving ahead of a cold front expected to pass later in the day. Checking the beach throughout the day could pay off. More photos are at my eBird checklist for the morning, URL below.