You may have never seen a Beaver at Montrose but you’ve almost certainly noticed the damage they’ve done if you’ve been to the Dunes. It’s hard to miss. Many of the willows along the shore at the east end of the beach have been gnawed to stumps by the busy rodents. Birders like checking these willows because they’re the first line of trees migrating warblers and other passerines encounter at Montrose during fall migration. Beavers are interesting animals but we’d hate to lose the beach willows as a migrant trap. The photo shows the damage I’m referring to.
On June 23 I saw an indolent Beaver lounging along the inlet next to the fishing pier, munching on a twig. In the 40 years I’ve been birding Montrose this is only the third or fourth Beaver I’ve seen there. I’m always struck by how massive they are, like a Muskrat on steroids. The variety of wildlife that finds its way to Montrose is remarkable. In addition to Beavers, we’ve recorded White-tailed Deer, Muskrat, Opossum, Coyote, Red Fox, Striped Skunk, and Raccoons. Montrose isn’t just for the birds.
Construction of the paved, handicapped accessible path has begun. The path will allow people with mobility issues to more easily bird Montrose. The current dirt and woodchip paths are difficult for folks with disabilities to negotiate. As such, the main birding areas at Montrose, like the Magic Hedge, are closed for the time being. I don’t know how long this will last, probably several weeks. The beach and Dunes are unaffected by the construction and are accessible.
There’s nothing like seeing a big, brown, long-billed shorebird to lift the spirits and brighten the day. This Marbled Godwit made a brief appearance at Montrose Beach on June 10. It flew off to the south after a few minutes and did not return.
The middle of June is a gray period for shorebird migration. Most northbound migrants have passed through, and it’s too early for the first southbound migrants. What was this Marbled Godwit doing? Was it a tardy spring migrant? We’re still seeing Semipalmated and White-rumped Sandpipers, which are late spring migrants, but mid-June is outside the range for northbound Marbled Godwits. What about a southbound migrant? Mid-June seems too early for that, based on historical records. A failed breeder? There’s no way to know. More photos of the godwit are at my eBird checklist for the morning, URL below.
June 10, 2021
Migration is still going on, although at a reduced rate. Just two weeks ago Montrose was overrun with warblers and other migrant passerines. Today I had only two obvious warbler migrants. This shows how fast spring migration winds down. Birds are in a hurry to get to their breeding grounds and they don’t linger long. Bonafide migrants I had at Montrose on June 4
It’s hard to believe that in just a few weeks the first southbound migrants will start appearing at Montrose. Link to my eBird checklist for the morning below.
June 4, 2021
I had a couple of nice surprises on June 2. We’ve been seeing and hearing a Blue-headed Vireo for the last few days, and today I found it in the grove at the east end of the Point. Needless to say, it’s getting late for Blue-headed Vireo in northern Illinois – they should be gone by June and on their breeding grounds north of us.
An immature Lesser Black-backed Gull has been hanging around Montrose Beach. Today I saw it at the east end of the protected beach among the loafing Ring-billed Gulls and Caspian Terns. Lesser Black-backed Gulls are rare at Montrose in the summer. The protected beach is a haven for gulls, terns, and shorebirds to relax and not have to worry about people disturbing them.
There’s always something to look at and look forward to at Montrose, even with migration winding down. More photos of the Lesser Black-backed Gull and one of the Blue-headed Vireo are at my eBird checklist for the morning, URL below.
June 2, 2021