An adult Buff-breasted Sandpiper graced Montrose Beach on the morning of August 5. This meager photo doesn’t do the experience justice as the bird walked close to the people fortunate enough to be there. Adult is the rarer of the two Buffy age classes we see; most are juveniles that show up later in August and early September. We also had adult Baird’s and Western Sandpipers, the later a rare bird and even rarer age class at Montrose. August is the best month for shorebirds for us, with the peak occuring later in the month. Try to visit the beach as often as possible, including later in the afternoon and evening.
The late summer shorebird bonanza continues at Montrose Beach. The show stealer on September 8 was a Buff-breasted Sandpiper that walked and fed nonchalantly among birders on the fishing pier. Shorebirds will often feed on the pier but this may be the first time a Buffy has done so. Other shorebirds seen at Montrose Beach on September 8 include the continuing juvenile Red Knot, 2 Baird’s Sandpipers, and 2 Greater Yellowlegs. Though not a shorebird, a surprise American White Pelican was also resting on the beach. We see a few flyover White Pelicans at Montrose each year, but this may be the first time one has set foot on land there.
Two juvenile Buff-breasted Sandpipers have been hanging around Montrose Beach for a couple of days. I missed them on August 26, the day they appeared, but saw them on August 27. Buffies are one of the rarer and more sought-after shorebirds we get at Montrose. They always generate a lot of excitement in the birding community. They’re also usually tame and approachable, as the photo suggests. Link to my eBird checklist for the morning below.
August 27, 2020
I spent a couple hours at Montrose this morning, September 3. The highlight for me, hands down, was the cooperative juvenile Buff-breasted Sandpiper on the beach. I haven’t seen a Buffy at Montrose in a few years, and I hadn’t seen one yet this fall, so I was fairly excited (thanks for the text, Fran M). The bird was working the north side of the fluddle with a few other shorebirds, including a young Stilt Sandpiper, another good shorebird for Montrose. My passerine highlight was a Connecticut Warbler in the dune willows. These willows have proven, both spring and fall, to be an excellent migrant trap. I ended up with “only” 39 species, but when 2 of those are Buff-breasted Sandpiper and Connecticut Warbler you shut up and count your blessings.
Al Stokie found an adult Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Montrose Beach this morning, July 27. Al first saw the bird near the fence at the west end of the protected area. He said the bird flew off after a few minutes and I thought I wouldn’t get to see it but it magically reappeared in front of us while we were standing at the base of the fishhook pier. This was about 7:20. A Killdeer spooked the bird and it flew off to the west and wasn’t seen again. This is the first Buff-breasted Sandpiper I’ve heard of not only for Illinois but the upper Midwest. There were also Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers, Sanderlings, and Semipalmated Plovers on the beach.