Category Archives: Summer Bird Reports

June 1 – August 31, inclusive

July Weirdness – White-rumped Sandpiper and Hermit Thrush

White-rumped Sandpiper

White-rumped Sandpiper (click to see the larger version)

We’re seeing the expected mid summer southbound migrant shorebirds like Least Sandpipers and Willets, but a White-rumped Sandpiper on July 3 was a surprise. Which way was this bird going? White-rumpeds are late spring migrants; we often see a few well into June but July birds are harder to interpret. I suspect this bird is a very tardy northbound migrant since we were seeing White-rumpeds in mid and late June, and we usually don’t get southbound birds until late August at the earliest.

Even more inexplicable was a Hermit Thrush near the Marovitz Golf Course. Hermit Thrushes are early spring and later fall migrants in northern Illinois. Most spring birds have moved on by early May and the first fall birds don’t start appearing before late September. Obviously this bird is confused.

eBird Checklist
July 3, 2022

Imani Update, June 27, 2022

Imani the Piping Plover

Imani (click to see the larger version)

Imani, the young male Piping Plover and son of Rose and Monty, was still at Montrose in late June. His behavior has changed dramatically however. In late May and early June we would often hear him calling before we saw him and his slow motion flight display over the Dunes was an aerodynamic sight to behold. He was feeling his oats and ready to start a family and carry on Monty and Rose’s lineage. By late June the displaying and aggressive behavior towards other birds had stopped. He became harder to find and even disappeared for a few days. A female Piping Plover never showed up, which is probably the reason for Imani’s more subdued behavior. How long he will stay at Montrose is uncertain. Without a mate and the potential for a family he doesn’t have much incentive to hang around. The good news is that Imani is young, only about a year old, and there’s always next year.

Semipalmated Sandpiper, June 17, 2022 – Last of the Last?

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper (click to see the larger version)

Here we are, two full weeks into June and we’re still getting a few late spring migrants at Montrose. Historically, Semipalmated Sandpipers are one of the last northbound migrants we see. This one was dancing with its shadow at Montrose Beach on June 17. In just a couple weeks the first southbound shorebirds will start appearing. There almost isn’t a time when migration isn’t happening.

Fishing Black-crowned Night-Herons, June 2022

Black-crowned Night-Herons

Fishing Black-crowned Night-Herons, June 2022 (click to see the larger version)

If you’ve been to Montrose early in the morning this June, you may have noticed Black-crowned Night-Herons gathered around the edge of the harbor. These birds are fishing. The edge of the harbor is too high above the water for the herons to reach by extending their necks, so when they see a fish they have to fly to the surface, catch it, and fly back to land to eat. It must be worth the effort – Black-crowned Night-Herons have been a common sight on the east side of the harbor this month. The photo shows 8 Black-crowned Night-Herons lined up and alert, bills pointed down, and eyes scanning the water for small fish. The Golf Course Pond is another good place to look for Black-crowned Night-Herons in summer. See the Montrose Glossary for descriptions of these places.

Imani the Beachmaster

Piping Plover Imani confronting a Killdeer

Imani confronting a Killdeer (click to see the larger version)

Imani the Piping Plover confronted a Killdeer on the morning of June 7, 2022. Standing erect with chest puffed out he showed the larger Killdeer who the boss of the beach is. Imani is being hyper territorial, performing display flights over the Dunes, calling frequently, and chasing other birds who dare to enter his space. This aggressive behavior is an encouraging sign. It shows he has staked out the Dunes and is ready and able to defend it. The only missing element now is a female Piping Plover. If she shows up she’ll have a worthy partner in Imani.

Monty would be proud of his son.

June 3, 2022

Olive-sided Flycatcher

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

A sample of birds from Montrose on June 3. This is why you should keep birding in June

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Snowy Plover
Piping Plover
Sanderling
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Franklin’s Gull
Great Egret
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Alder Flycatcher
Orchard Oriole
Dickcissel

Lots of photos are on my eBird checklist for the day, URL below.

eBird Checklist
June 3, 2022