Continuing the trend starting last weekend, May 26 was excellent for flycatchers. I ended up with 9 species, including all 5 regularly occurring Empidonax. Best were an Olive-sided and an Acadian. Olive-sideds are uncommon but regular late spring migrants at Montrose, as are Acadians. Many of today’s Empis were silent, so I left them unidentified. We’re in the peak of migration for flycatchers, so don’t stop birding because the warblers have largely moved through. There’s always the chance of an uncommon or rare Tyrannid showing up – think Western Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, or better. Let your imagination run wild with the possibilities. Take a look at the Montrose List page to see the impressive number of flycatchers recorded at Montrose. Link to my eBird checklist for the morning below.
May 26, 2021
Ospreys over Montrose (click to see the larger version)
May 21 saw a big influx of flycatchers at Montrose. Every tree and shrub seemed to have at least a few Empidonax or Eastern Wood-Pewees, and small groups of Eastern Kingbirds were flying south over the Point in reverse migration. I ended up with 7 different flycatchers, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but we don’t see nearly as many flycatchers as we do warblers. Montrose is an excellent place to study the confusing Empidonax, particularly the look-alike Alder and Willow Flycatchers. I also tallied 16 species of warblers and a bonus pair of flyover Ospreys, so migration isn’t over yet. Link to my eBird checklist for the morning below.
May 21, 2021
Montrose parking meter map. The blue pins represent parking meters. Courtesy of the 46th ward office. (click to see the larger version)
Parking meters have been installed at Montrose, and starting on May 20 you’ll have to pay to park. I don’t know what the cost will be. I only saw meters on West Montrose Harbor Drive, and NOT on West Montrose Avenue or Simonds Drive up to Wilson Avenue. I assume we’ll be able to park on these roads and not have to pay (for now). This Google Map shows the road system in and around Montrose Point. Also see the image with this post, which shows the current locations of parking meters at Montrose.
Big Day – An effort to see as many birds as possible in a 24 hour period.
If you follow Montrose on eBird, you’ve probably noticed that several people have had 100 or more species in a day this May. There’s a narrow window when this is possible, usually the first 2 weeks in May. This coincides with the peak of spring migration in northern Illinois. Montrose is one of the few places where you can see 100 species on your own by foot. Big days usually require large amounts of planning and strategy, like building a route and staking out birds. Montrose is different. Getting to 100 involves hitting it on a day with loads of migrants and then birding like mad for 4 or 5 hours. Every May several people manage to cross the century threshold. The weekend of May 14 – 16, 2021, for example, saw multiple birders hit 100.
Doing a big day at Montrose isn’t for everyone, but if you’re competitive and like a challenge, give it a try. Also, you don’t have to go for 100. You could start at 60 or 70 or whatever goal you’re comfortable aiming for, and working your way up as you gain experience. I’ve included a link to my eBird checklist below for May 15, a day I had 104 species.
May 15, 2021
The weather conditions didn’t look great for a large fallout of birds on May 14, but that’s exactly what happened. I ended up with 98 species in 3.5 hours of birding, and about 130 were reported to eBird by all observers. This is about as good as it gets for Montrose. I had so many personal first of season sightings I lost track. We suffer through January and February for days like this. My highlights include
American Woodcock (late)
22 species of warblers; best were Northern Parula, Black-throated Blue, Pine, Golden-winged
Throw in tons of White-crowned Sparrows, scads of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Gray Catbirds, and 3 or 4 male Scarlet Tanagers and you shouldn’t ever complain about anything again. Link to my eBird checklist for the morning below.
May 14, 2021