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: Montrose Point - questions  ( 924 )

Fran Morel

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Montrose Point - questions
« : September 11, 2015, 06:48:39 AM »
We all know what Montrose means to the birding community, but more importantly, what it means for birds themselves, especially during migration. A few years ago, when the Park District began to rope off sections in the upper area, I remember many birders, myself included, expressing dissatisfaction with the fact that we could no longer roam as we pleased.

In the past 2-3 years, the number of pathways through all areas, especially the wooded areas including the Magic Hedge, has increased substantially. This has greatly reduced the amount of foliage and ground cover. If I had to estimate the loss of habitat, I would guess it's somewhere near 20-30%.

Talking to birders, I now get the sense that roping off more areas would be a good idea. I agree with this. My fear is that not doing anything quickly will greatly affect ground cover in the next few years, and that thrushes, ground warblers (such as Ovenbird, Mourning, Connecticut), and really all species that occasionally rest or eat on the ground, will no longer feel sheltered enough to do so, and will stop using Montrose as a resting stop to fuel for their next leg of migration. In addition, there must be a corresponding reduction in insects and food for birds.

I agree that ropes themselves will not stop all behaviors, however as it stands now, no one is prevented from walking anywhere through the majority of the wooded areas as it's simply wide open. At least ropes and some signage would give pause to many, including ourselves, to wander everywhere. I won't get into security and keeping illicit activity out, but it wouldn't hurt on that note either.

In the meantime, does anyone know what's going on with the proposed plans to re-design the Point?

If you bird at Montrose, check out the number of paths that now exist in the Hedge, the wooded area north of the Hedge (that extends to the sidewalk and towards the beach-house), the Clump, the eastern wooded area towards the harbor, and the northern wooded area (north of the water feature). It's amazing to see the amount of destruction. At some point, we'll also hopefully see more security in the area, but until then, the ropes could help deter walking just about everywhere.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this issue.


Fran Morel

Fran Morel

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Re: Montrose Point - questions
« #1 : September 11, 2015, 01:40:59 PM »
Here's a reply that went to my email which I'm posting with permission from the sender:

Josh Feeney
to me
6 hours agoDetails

I cannot figure out how respond to your link so I will respond to this email. I 100% agree that more areas should be roped off both inside the hedge area as well as the Dunes. I see lots of birders as well as non birders "off roading" which has always concerned me. I see many birders especially walking the dunes in an attempt to flush birds which I have never been a fan of. I have only been birding for around 3-4 years and started off walking the dunes after seeing others do this, but being a photographer I quickly realized that photographing bird butts, and hoping the birds would simply land somewhere else to take a picture, was not very fun, or good for the birds I figured. I can see why the pure birders checking off a species list would want to walk the dunes for a count, but I am not sure this is good for the birds or the environment. I am very new and not as much in the know, but these are just my thoughts.

What is MOST irritating is the beer bottles, condoms, and other random and disgusting things strewn about around the hedge, as well as the occasional runner, biker, or dog walker flying through. Obviously there are campers and god knows what kind of nasty things going on there after dark. Sometimes I wish that a giant chain link fence could be placed around the entire area and only birders and non idiots could be given keys or a gate code. In other peoples defense, there could certainly be more signage for this area. The entire lakefront as you know is public space, so I do not think people realize what an important and very small area the bird area is. Larger and more prolific signs would certainly help as I do think that most people would respect the space if they knew what it is.

Thank you

Luis Muñoz

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Re: Montrose Point - questions
« #2 : September 11, 2015, 08:29:48 PM »
Three to four years ago I thought the chain link fence was an insane idea. Not anymore. Montrose is in bad shape and it needs some major protection. I'm afraid this is the only way to move forward if we want to preserve Montrose.

Luis Munoz

Matt Igleski

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Re: Montrose Point - questions
« #3 : September 14, 2015, 10:22:34 AM »
I think a very good first step would definitely be to increase the signage at all entry points (which may go hand in hand with some more fencing to limit the number of entry points into the area). This would at least make it less awkward when I approach someone with a dog, a biker, etc. knowing that they must have passed a sign somewhere to get to that point.

More ropes to let the grasses and ground cover grow would definitely be a good idea, especially early in the season to allow some plants to establish themselves! I've been to several areas in Michigan that have sections of natural areas closed off seasonally.

As far the evening scandalous activities, I think getting law enforcement to come through there more often would be the only way to curtail that activity. My wife and I have ended up there when it starts getting kind of dark and there are quite a few individuals without binoculars roaming around--as an aside we've startled a few people looking like they were about to get something started which I've begun to refer to as "flushing some Dickcissels  . ;)"<---maybe we can add that Ebird

It's a great area and has made our move into the city so much better by having such an exciting place to bird, but it could definitely use a bit more protection. I know there is a group that regularly meets there for work days. How would we have to proceed in order to get some traction to get some of these improvement ideas in motion? Would it be feasible to petition the parks district or try to get sponsors for signs?


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