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.
I was a little surprised to see a juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron on January 26. While eBird doesn’t flag Black-crowned Night-Heron at this time of the year, I haven’t seen many at Montrose in the winter, though they do winter in and around Chicago in small numbers. It was the highlight of an otherwise slow day for birding – I ended up with 17 species, which is about as well as we do at this time of the year. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.
January 26, 2020
A juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron has been hanging around Montrose Harbor for several weeks, taking handouts of fish given by sympathetic local fishermen. Most Black-crowned Night-Herons have departed for the fall. We’ll see how long this one stays.
Two fresh juvenile Black-crowned Night-Herons were at Montrose this morning, July 22. Both birds were feeding in the inlet next to the fishing pier on the beach. Black-crowned Night-Herons breed at several locations in the Chicago area.
I went over to Montrose late this afternoon to see what was around. Three Semipalmated Sandpipers were inside the protected area at the east end of the beach. On land I heard a Dickcissel calling from the trees inside the forbidden area and I saw a Great Crested Flycatcher in the Magic Clump. The biggest surprise was a male Yellow-rumped Warbler in the peripheral plantings. On my way back I stopped at the Golf Course Pond and had 5 Black-crowned Night-Herons.
I birded Montrose for a little while this morning, June 6. At this time of the year I don’t have very high expectations and I go more for the exercise than anything else, but I always take my bins just in case. Here’s what a I had:
Red-breasted Merganser – 1, the continuing female in the lake at the east end of the beach
Green-winged Teal – 1 female in the lake at the east end of the beach
Black-crowned Night-Heron – 1 at the east end of the harbor
Dunlin – 1, the continuing bird in the fluddle next to the fishhook pier inside the protected area
Semipalmated Sandpiper – 16 on the beach inside the protected area
Great Crested Flycatcher – 1
Alder Flycatcher – 1
Blue Jay – 1
Mourning Warbler – 2, 1 female and 1 male
Dickcissel – 1
The nesting Red-winged Blackbirds are now in kamikaze mode. I was repeatedly dive bombed by an aggressive male near the forbidden zone.