Tag Archives: Warblers

Elderberry Delight, Late August

Cape May Warbler and Elderberry fruit

Cape May Warbler and Elderberry fruit (click to see the larger version)

It’s late August and Elderberry fruit are ripening. A variety of birds eat the juicy berries, including several warblers, vireos, thrushes, and House Finches. To find the berries and the birds, look for clusters of small, purplish fruit on shrub-like plants. The photo accompanying this post shows what the berries look like. The stand of Elderberry at the edge of the woods at the far southeast corner of the Point has been excellent for birds this August.

Early Migrant Passerines, August 17, 2022

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Olive-sided Flycatcher (click to see the larger version)

We’re about a month from the peak of songbird migration but we’ve been seeing small numbers of warblers and flycatchers for a few weeks. This is typical and expected. Migration starts as a trickle and gradually gains momentum until the peak. Some of these early migrants include Least, Yellow-bellied and Olive-sided Flycatchers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and Cape May, Bay-breasted, and Black-and-white Warblers among others. August is shorebird month but after you’re done checking the beach head up to the Magic Hedge for some early warblering.

More July Weirdness – Yellow-rumped Warbler and (pow!) Townsend’s Solitaire

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler (click to see the larger version)

July isn’t the most notable month for rarities at Montrose, but this July is proving to be the exception to that rule. On July 18 I found an adult male Yellow-rumped Warbler in full breeding plumage. I can’t think of a month less likely for Yellow-rumpeds in Chicago than July. Yellow-rumped Warblers nest in the northern United States and throughout Canada and that’s where they should be in July. Talk about an anomaly.

Even more anomalous than a July Yellow-rumped Warbler is a July Townsend’s Solitaire. On July 18 Mark Kolasa found one at Montrose. Townsend’s Solitaires are birds of the western United States and Canada and shouldn’t be anywhere near Illinois or the Midwest in July, though they are rare but regular visitors to our state in winter. This bird was seriously misoriented, but remember, the misoriented birds make birding magical.

Connecticut Warblers

Connecticut Warbler

Connecticut Warbler (click to see the larger version)

Late May is prime time for Connecticut Warblers at Montrose. We’ve had multiple sightings so far this spring. The best way to find them is to listen for their loud, distinctive song. Two were at Montrose on May 26, and both were located because they were singing. Good recordings of Connecticut Warbler songs are on YouTube.

May 12, 2022 – Warblers

Blackburnian Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler (click to see the larger version)

Continuing the migration splendor for the week, Thursday, May 12 was the best warbler day of the spring at Montrose. I ended up with 26 species, which is about as good as we do. If you were at Montrose on that day you couldn’t help but be impressed with the volume and variety of warblers. My best finds include

Worm-eating Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Blue-winged Warbler
Golden-winged Warbler (3)
Northern Parula (3)
Mourning Warbler
Canada Warbler

Of the regularly occurring warblers, Worm-eating is the rarest and least expected. In addition, the large numbers of Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, and Blackburnian were a joy to look at. We wait all year for a handful of days with color like this. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.

eBird Checklist
May 12, 2022

Bay-breasted Warbler Bonanza, October 2, 2021

Bay-breasted Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler. Photo courtesy of Craig Millard. (click to see the larger version)

I don’t think anyone had high expectations for October 2. BirdCast and radar didn’t indicate a strong movement overnight, and the last few days have been flat for migrants at Montrose. Early October is usually an excellent time for warblers and sparrows, but the number of Bay-breasted Warblers exceeded anything I’ve experienced before. They were the most common warbler and at times seemed to be everywhere, including on the ground feeding. My final Bay-breasted count was 16. Not surprisingly, eBird wanted details as this is a big number for a bird that isn’t abundant in Chicago. We also had large numbers of Tennessee and Black-throated Green Warblers. I’m not sure what caused this incursion of Boreal forest breeding warblers, as we’ve been experiencing unseasonably mild weather and few cold fronts, which are usually the impetus for birds to move in the fall. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.

eBird Checklist
October 2, 2021