Date: 5/2/18 9:22 pm
From: Michal Furmanek <mifur2...> [ILbirds] <ILbirds-noreply...>
Subject: IBET Awesome day at montrose, 102 species
I finally made it to Montrose today, and, as expected, it was another wonderful day full of spring migrants. I arrived around 5:40 AM, just before sunrise, and the first bird I set my sight on was a HOODED WARBLER. It was jumping and feeding on the grass at the very entrance to the hedge, right by the handicapped parking lot. The light was still too poor to try to take a picture of the moving bird, but I got some good photo ops of him later in the day.
There were plenty of warblers hopping between the branches of the trees, most of them moving north. Mostly Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers, but I soon found some others, including an ORANGE-CROWNED and a singing BLUE-WINGED. Thrushes and Sparrows were out in force. There must had been hundreds of White-throated Sparrows in the hedge. At one point when I stopped walking in order to listen for songs, I could hear rustling of the dead leaves on the ground all around me, and when I looked around through binoculars, I could see that I was surrounded by feeding White-throated Sparrows. Later on I saw a few less common sparrows: LECONTE'S (by the main entrance to the dunes; great looks with photos taken), LARK SPARROW (just north of the hedge, feeding out in the open; photos taken), VESPER SPARROW (in the dunes), FOX SPARROW, and a few Clay-colored. There were plenty of thrushes too, including many good looking Wood Thrushes and Veeries.
I loved the dunes area, it looks amazing. Such a wonderful habitat for so many breeding and migrating birds! There were 4 SORAS calling there, and a few Spotted Sandpipers flying around. Bobolink, Meadlowlark, Pipits and sparrows galore, including the prieviously mentioned Vesper Sparrow. An imm. RED-TAILED HAWK briefly hovered over the marsh, which scared 5 BLUE-WINGED TEALS into flying out and onto the lake.
There were 10 WILLETS on the beach, and a flock of 45 AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVERS flew low over the protected area late in the morning. Other shorebirds seen were a WILSON'S SNIPE, a flock of 8 Least Sandpipers and both Yellowlegs. A few Red-breasted mergansers and 2 female BUFFLEHEADS were still out in the lake.
During my last pass through the hedge I found a WHIP-POOR-WILL sitting on a branch just above the ground, and a couple of other birders showed me the previously mentioned Lark Sparrow, which otherwise I would likely miss. I ended up with 102 species (I submitted a complete list on ebird), and it was a very memorable day. I spent a whole morning there, but half of the time I was taking pictures of common species, and not looking for migrating birds.
I used to come to Montrose often when I lived in Chicago, but that was many years ago. Today was the first time in about 10 years when I went there during spring migration, and I am planning on doing that more often from now on. I almost forgot how wonderful the place is! Not just because the numbers and rarity of migrants, but also because of how close you can get to many of them. Yeah, that place rocks :)
Good birding,Michal Furmanek, Lake Bluff, Lake Co.

Join us on Facebook!