My thanks go out to all the birders and feeder observers that either went out into the field or watched their feeders last weekend and reported their finds. Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary was able to raise close to (and maybe by now) $2,000.
The weather was not the best, but it did not deter the birders. Mid-May brings a plethora of birds to the Vineyard. The species most commonly seen are those that spend the summer here, but it is also exciting to see the odd avian visitor that has gone off course. At the end of the 24-hour period from 6 p.m. May 16 to 6 p.m. May 17, the Vineyard crew spotted 104 different species of birds. Now that may be a bit disappointing to those who remember that we spotted 114 in 2007, but the weather was in our favor last year.
Special birds sighted this year included American golden plover and lesser black-backed gull at Katama, an immature bald eagle at Squibnocket, greater shearwater off the South Shore, Northern bobwhite, whippoorwill, barn owl, and yellow-throated vireo on Blue Barque Road in Chilmark.
A note to my readers: I blamed the state Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of the recent problem fire on Noman’s Land. I was in error. Noman’s is held by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The best birds this week are from different ends of the Island. Richard Stanton spotted a yellow-throated vireo in Chilmark on May 17 and Edo and Bob Potter spotted a black tern mixed in with the 200 loafing terns next to the breach on Norton’s Point on May 18. They also were pleased to spot 14 red knots. This is an endangered species and not often seen on the Vineyard in the spring.
Lanny McDowell, Pete Gilmore, Allan Keith and John Nelson spotted an American golden plover at Katama on May 17 and then Bob (Wax) Iwaskiewicz and Andy Lambert spotted three at Picnic Point in Menemsha Pond on May 18. Finally Lanny McDowell and Pete Gilmore had a lesser black-backed gull on the same day at Katama.
Rob Culbert during his May 10 bird walk had strong winds so the birding was tough. He was able to coax a yellow warbler and Baltimore oriole out of the bushes at the Oak Bluffs pumping station and watch both tree and barn swallows over the water. On May 6, he had gray catbirds and field sparrows singing at Sweetened Water Farm and chimney swifts in Vineyard Haven. Rob was pleased to hear several northern bobwhites and eastern kingbirds at Felix Neck the same day.
Sally Anderson spotted a mother killdeer with two young at the Youth Tennis Center on May 13.
Allan Keith has reported a good variety of birds for the last couple of weeks. On May 10, he spotted an immature bald eagle at Turtle Brook Farm, probably the same bird that was spotted at Squibnocket last weekend. On May 11 and 19, Allan watched white-crowned sparrows at Squibnocket. May 14 was the last day Allan spotted long-tailed ducks off Squibnocket and in the willows he spotted blue-headed vireo and Blackpoll warbler. He also heard a chuck-wills-widow at Edgartown Great Pond on May 14.
On May 15, a migrating flock of 15 purple sandpipers were feeding on the rocks off Aquinnah. On May 17, Allan and John Nelson spotted a whimbrel on Chappaquiddick as well as numbers of common, least and roseate terns. Allan mentioned that he spotted two late-staying buffleheads on Chilmark Pond. On May 19, Allan heard a blue-winged warbler singing on territory at Fulling Mill and the same day had Canada warbler at Squibnocket. Squibnocket provided a willow flycatcher, a Magnolia and Northern parula warblers on May 20.
Happy Spongberg enjoyed watching a Carolina wren with young in Vineyard Haven on May 13. These wrens are coming back thanks to a mild winter.
On May 15, Barbara Pesch had a male rose-breasted grosbeak at her Chilmark feeder and the next day the female arrived. Barbara has been hearing a house wren since May 19.
Luanne Johnson spotted her first eastern kingbird at Dogfish Bar on May 15.
Roger Cook e-mailed me a photo of the immature bald eagle that he took at Squibnocket on May 15.
Peter Enrich walked Tea Lane Path on May 17 and spotted eastern kingbirds and common yellowthroats. The next day he was at Great Rock Bite and had a large flock of cedar waxwings, American redstarts and both blue-winged and yellow warblers.
Matt Pelikan had a warbler fall out in his Oak Bluffs neighborhood on May 18 and 19. The best was a warbling vireo that was singing both days. Also seen were American redstart, yellow warbler, northern parula, chestnut-sided warbler and common yellowthroat. He also had singing field sparrow at the Tradewinds on May 19.
Nancy Weaver and Sue Silva were walking at Waskosim’s Rock on May 18 and ran into Jay Jarok. They spotted American redstart, blue-winged warbler, red-eyed vireo and great crested flycatcher.
Sally Anderson has been birding Waskosim’s quite often. On May 14, she had common yellowthroat, prairie warbler, northern parula, ovenbird and American redstart. On May 17, she added blue-winged warbler, red-eyed vireo and eastern bluebirds. On May 19, Sally spotted a scarlet tanager, a black-throated blue and eastern wood pewee. Field sparrows showed up for Sally at Waskosim’s on May 20.
Norma Holmes had an adult blue grosbeak in her back yard in Katama on May 20.