Northern Harrier (click to see the larger version)
The Northern Harriers put on quite a show on October 23. I counted 16, all southbound flybys, in about 2 hours of morning birding. Most were female/immature type birds, like the individual pictured here. Several were coming in low off Lake Michigan and flying right over the beach and dunes (and me). Other birds seen include Short-eared Owl, 3 Surf Scoters, Franklin’s and Bonaparte’s Gulls, Merlin, American Woodcock, Wilson’s Snipe, and Purple Finch. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below. October rocks!
Highlights from October 12 were an American Avocet that almost became brunch for 2 of the local Peregrine Falcons, and this male Merlin that took a break from terrorizing songbirds long enough to have his pic taken. I ended up with 47 species in 3 hours of birding. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.
Montrose Point was birdy on the morning of September 30. I ended up with 63 species in about 3 hours, my highest single-day total there this month. A little over 70 species were reported on eBird. Two of my better finds were a late juvenile Baird’s Sandpiper (by eBird standards) and a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk taking a bath in a flooded parking lot. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.
We had a nice influx of shorebirds at Montrose Beach in Chicago on September 15, including a couple of late birds flagged as such by eBird. Best were a Willet and Short-billed Dowitcher, plus Pectoral Sandpiper and 2 Lesser Yellowlegs. Sanderlings and Semipalmated Plovers continue. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.
Long-billed Dowitcher (click to see the larger version)
I checked Montrose Beach on the evening of September 11 to see if any interesting shorebirds had come in. A cold front was forecast to pass the next morning and I know from experience that shorebirds often move ahead of cold fronts in the summer and fall. To my great surprise, a juvenile Long-billed Dowitcher flew in and landed in the fluddle on the public part of the beach. This is a very rare bird at Montrose—in my 40 years of birding there I’ve only seen one (and this was the only record before the September 11 sighting). Hard to believe I know but we just don’t get them. More photos of the Long-billed Dowitcher are at my eBird checklist for the day, link below.
White-rumped and Semipalmated Sandpipers (click to see the larger version)
This isn’t the best photo, and I had to enhance it a bit in Photoshop, but these 2 molting adult White-rumped Sandpipers (with 2 juvenile Semipalmated Sandpipers) were part of a nice mix of shorebirds at Montrose Beach on September 1. Stilt Sandpipers, a Pectoral Sandpiper, a Ruddy Turnstone were also seen. White-rumped Sandpipers are rare but regular fall migrants at Montrose. Unfortunately, most of these birds were present only early in the morning. I ended up with 48 species in a little over 2 hours of birding. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.