Sunday, November 16, 2014

Lake Michigan Shoreline Birding

Lake Michigan is along the migration route known as the Mississippi Flyway. I am fortunate to be able to visit the Chicago lakefront, as well as the New Buffalo, Michigan lakefront quite often. A variety of waterfowl, gulls and shorebird species frequent these areas and can often be seen migrating offshore, resting on the beaches or feeding on the detritus along the waterline.

A lovely Red Phalarope forages amid the algae mats at 63rd Street Beach in Chicago

Not commonly seen in our area, this phalarope delighted birders with its presence for four days in November, 2014.

Enjoying a sunny day at Montrose Beach ~ Semipalmated Plover

A Dunlin steps its way through the green algae

A successful dive yields a crawfish for this handsome Hooded Merganser

A Killdeer walks amid the green vegetation on the beach

 A tiny Snowy Plover makes its way along the beach pebbles

This little plover was spotted on New Buffalo Beach in Michigan. They are not common to this location.

A red-eyed Horned Grebe (in nonbreeding plumage) surfaces from a dive

A Red Knot seeks food along the Lake Michigan shoreline

Another bird not often seen in Chicago. This Red Knot was spotted at Montrose Beach in September of this year.

Exploring the beach on a lovely day ~ Black-bellied Plover

A Red-necked Grebe swims in the chilly waters of Lake Michigan

Seen last week, this Red-necked Grebe is another bird rarely observed in Chicago.

Picking its way through the algae mats ~ Piping Plover

Another rare find, this small shorebird visited Montrose Beach in April of 2013

A Red-breasted Merganser hunts for prey in calm lake waters

Greater White-fronted Goose

Birders were excited to see this goose at Montrose Beach in October of this year. Greater White-fronted Geese are not regularly spotted at this location.

Eared Grebe

Normally seen west of Illinois, this Eared Grebe spent a few weeks at Montrose Beach last November.

A magnificent Snowy Owl dines on its capture 

At Montrose Beach, on December 13, 2013, four Snowy Owls were seen in the same vicinity. Who knows what this December will bring ...

Post by Julie Gidwitz


  1. A beautiful post. That Phalarope is so lovely, and looks quite different to the ones I saw in Svalbard under dull light when they were in breeding plumage. It obviously a great place to go birding.

  2. These are wonderful shots ! I especially love those shots on the water. Thanks for showing so beautiful birds !
    I wish you a nice Sunday :)

  3. A super selection of interesting species so very well captured Julie.

  4. That Killdeer is actually posing.

  5. Hi Julie, Today, on this Thanksgiving Day, I’m making a list of things to be thankful for. On the list will be your blog and being able to see the wonderful photos you post. Lately, I have been spending a little more time blogging … perhaps this time of year our weather is a little more conducive to being inside and surfing the web. Despite that, I’m not doing a good job of keeping up with some of the best blogs I should be watching. I can’t believe you posted this a couple of weeks ago and I’m just today finding it. Maybe I need email notifications when you post. : - ) Well, I can tell you this for sure … Looking at a lot of blogs and seeing the photos people post gives me a good yardstick to measure quality. Your photos are some of the best I’ve seen online. You simply do a marvelous job of composure and getting just the perfect focus. Thank you so much for sharing your work. Wishing you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving. John

  6. Julie, you make me want to move back to Wisconsin. My family lives on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. That Red Phalarope is a stunner. Congrats on all these birds. When I go home to visit now, I am constantly running around birding old areas I used to explore. It's like being a kid again.

  7. I've seen for first time your blog and I found superb,marvelous photos and birds, I like all of them.