Glaucous Gull (click to see the larger version)
Now that February is here we’re starting to think about spring and migration, but it’s still winter and we’re still getting winter birds. I can’t think of two more wintry birds in Chicago than Glaucous Gull and Long-tailed Duck. Both were at Montrose on February 10. This is the first Glaucous Gull I’ve seen at Montrose all winter. Not to be outdone, a tame adult male Long-tailed Duck graced the inside of the fishing pier. The Glaucous Gull flew off shortly after I photographed it, but the Long-tailed was still there when I left. More photos are at my eBird checklist for the morning, URL below.
February 10, 2023
Herring and Iceland Gulls (click to see the larger version)
We’ve had some unusual gulls at Montrose this winter, including Great Black-backed, Lesser Black-backed, and Iceland. We haven’t had any Glaucous Gulls but they could show up too. The best place to look for these gulls is on Lake Michigan off the fishing pier. Ironically, the harbor rarely gets unusual gulls in the winter, even though Ring-billed Gulls often gather there. If you have a spare loaf of bread or two, try chumming from the fishing pier. You’ll at least bring in Herring and Ring-billed Gulls, and the commotion may draw in something better.
I was surprised to see 4 Snowy Owls at Montrose this morning. I thought most had left but it appears more came in to replace them. Two were on the fishing pier, one was on the ice shelf at the west end of the beach, and the other was flying south over the point, almost like it was migrating. I also saw an adult or near adult Glaucous Gull flying north, the Snow Goose in the harbor, and 4 Snow Buntings and a single Lapland Longspur on the beach.
Glaucous Gull, with Ring-billed Gull (click to see the larger version)
A shrike flew in off the lake early this morning. I walked around the point looking for it without luck so it will have to remain unidentified. Either species is possible now though Northern is far more likely. A pale first year Glaucous Gull and a pale first year Thayer’s type Gull were at the west end of the beach.
Glaucous Gull (click to see a larger version)
A first cycle Glaucous Gull has been hanging around Montrose Beach for a couple days. Thayer’s and Lesser Black-backed Gulls have also been seen at Montrose recently. These gulls are attracted to the dead salmon that wash up on the beach. Glaucous Gulls breed in the high arctic all around the world. They are rare but regular winter visitors to Illinois.