The Piping Plover monitors found a Whimbrel on the protected portion of Montrose Beach in the afternoon of May 23. Whimbrels are rare in spring and have a narrow window of occurrence from about May 15 to May 25. This bird delighted the many birders who came to see it. It’s also a reminder that afternoon and evening birding can be just as productive as morning birding, especially for shorebirds, gulls, and terns.
Tag Archives: Shorebirds
May 19, 2023 – The Best Day
May 19 will go down as the best day for migration in 2023. Montrose was full of warblers, thrushes, and flycatchers. It was also full of birders. Over 140 species were reported to eBird by all observers, and several people topped 100, which only happens a couple times each year. My highlights include
American Wigeon (late)
Ruddy Turnstone (4)
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Mourning Warbler (6!)
Migration will start to wind down, but late May is still an excellent time for later warblers and vireos, and flycatchers will continue to increase through the end of the month.
May 13, 2023 – A Fantastic Day
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
Common Tern (14)
Common Loon (getting late)
Clay-colored Sparrow (2)
Orchard Oriole (4)
Scarlet Tanager (4)
We’re at the peak of spring migration; birding will be productive for the next 2 to 3 weeks. This is the time to call in sick or take those personal days off.
Return of Imani, April 25, 2023
Imani, the male Piping Plover and son of Rose and Monty, returned to Montrose Beach on April 25. This is expected as young Piping Plovers usually return to the area where they were born. Imani also came back to Montrose in 2022 and spent most of the summer in the Dunes. On April 27, two unbanded Piping Plovers joined Imani. It’s too soon to tell what these other Piping Plovers are up to. They could be passing through on their way further north, or they could try to nest at Montrose. Only time will tell. To protect the Plovers, the Dunes is now off limits to the public. This includes the portion of the beach between the fishing pier and protective fence on the west. Please follow the rules and stay out of these areas. You can view the Dunes and beach from the fishing pier on the east and the public beach on the west.
Record Early Purple Sandpiper, September 17, 2022
The highlight of an excellent day of overall birding at Montrose on September 17 was an unexpected Purple Sandpiper. The bird hung out on the fishing pier during the morning, happily feeding on some kind of insect, perhaps midges. This is the earliest Purple Sandpiper for Montrose I know of – all other records come from late October, November, and into December. Interestingly, the bird was in juvenal plumage, maybe the first record of a juvenile for Illinois. Dozens of people saw and photographed it. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.
September 17, 2022
Buff-breasted Sandpiper, September 8, 2022
The late summer shorebird bonanza continues at Montrose Beach. The show stealer on September 8 was a Buff-breasted Sandpiper that walked and fed nonchalantly among birders on the fishing pier. Shorebirds will often feed on the pier but this may be the first time a Buffy has done so. Other shorebirds seen at Montrose Beach on September 8 include the continuing juvenile Red Knot, 2 Baird’s Sandpipers, and 2 Greater Yellowlegs. Though not a shorebird, a surprise American White Pelican was also resting on the beach. We see a few flyover White Pelicans at Montrose each year, but this may be the first time one has set foot on land there.