There are so many bird sightings this week there is no room for more. So enjoy Lanny’s photograph of a ruddy turnstone (and see it in color on mvgazette.com) and head out birding. The migration is beginning for land birds, but there are still shorebirds to delight beachgoers.
Tara Whiting spotted an adult indigo bunting at Pond View Farm on August 10.
Gus Ben David reports that the second year bald eagle is still eating well and is recuperating. He is still unsure as to the reason for the eagle’s weakened condition. Stay tuned. Gus mentioned that on August 18 his pigeons were not in for the evening yet but he noticed that they all came flying in and ducked under cover. He looked up and saw an immature peregrine falcon overhead. It is amazing that, one, the pigeons can see that peregrine so high up and, two, that the peregrine can spot the pigeons as such a distance.
Bob Shriber went to Aquinnah on August 19 and spotted at least 25 eastern kingbirds. He heard and saw bobolinks overhead as well as some cedar waxwings and two purple finches. He watched a black-bellied plover fly overhead and off the Cliffs — next stop? Bob also counted five semipalmated plovers in the grassy circle at the Cliffs. At Dogfish Bar there was a flock of 500 common and roseate terns roosting.
Laurie Walker and Katharine Colon went to Oak Bluffs and Tisbury on August 21. They spotted black-crowned night and green herons by Maciel Marine. They had a chimney swift by the Oak Bluffs waterworks as well as a black and white warbler. On August 23 Laurie and Katharine were joined by Sally Anderson and at Katama they spotted and heard bobolinks, saw a brown thrasher, greater yellowlegs and a black-crowned night heron.
Karen Ogden reports that she is hearing a screech owl behind her West Tisbury house and that she heard whippoorwills earlier this summer for the first time in years!
Dick Ferrin was visiting Bob Woodruff during the fair. On his way over on the ferry on August 20 he spotted an adult black-legged kittiwake.
On August 20, Warren Woessner walked along Norton Point Beach from the breach toward Katama. He spotted common, roseate, least and Forster’s terns loafing on the flats. At one point a merlin flew over and all the terns as well as piping, semipalmated and black-bellied plovers rose off the beach in a panic. He also spotted least sandpipers, sanderlings and ruddy turnstones. On August 24 Warren was at Waskosim’s Rock and spotted the best bird of the week, a Canada warbler. He also spotted a female scarlet tanager, a black and white warbler, a common yellowthroat and a hairy woodpecker.
Lanny McDowell photographed a Forster’s tern at Norton Point on August 24.
Rob Culbert and his group were at Katama on August 23 and heard bobolinks and spotted a female harrier on the ground. The same day Lanny McDowell and I were birding around the Vanderhoop Homestead at the Gay Head Cliffs. We had a female orchard oriole, a Baltimore oriole great-crested flycatcher, eastern kingbirds, four ruby-throated hummingbirds, prairie warbler, bobolinks, four brown thrashers, Cooper’s hawk, yellow warbler and common yellowthroat. Allan Keith joined us for a bit and added a house wren. Allan then went on to Sarson’s Island and spotted the first red knot of the season along with short-billed dowitcher and semipalmated and least sandpipers. At Turtle Brook Farm he had two solitary sandpipers at his small pond. The next day, August 24, he had a peregrine falcon over his house at Turtle Brook Farm. Allan noted that there were large numbers of banded common and roseate terns at Norton Point. On August 26 Allan was amazed at the large numbers of laughing gulls off the Gay Head Cliffs as well as in Menemsha Pond. He figures there were close to 1,000 sitting on the oyster rafts in Menemsha Pond and 2,000 in Vineyard Sound. Most were immature.
Henry Lord was visiting from Baltimore and was at Felix Neck on August 26 and spotted a Baltimore oriole and red-bellied woodpecker. At Sylvia state beach he added killdeer and black-bellied plovers.
Winnie and Fred Spar spotted black skimmers at Katama on August 15 and 16.
Scott Stephens and Penny Uhlendorf heard the great horned owl around Pilot Hill in mid-August. On August 27 they spotted a yellow-billed cuckoo feasting on the oak leaf caterpillars around their house.
Flip Harrington counted two great egrets at West Basin in Aquinnah on August 23 and two more at Tisbury Great Pond the same day. On August 26 Flip and I went up to the Gay Head Cliffs and spotted a peregrine falcon, six eastern kingbirds, three semipalmated plovers, four cedar waxwings, a house wren, a chimney swift, two laughing gulls and a harrier. At Quansoo we have three ruby-throated hummingbirds around our feeder. One is very aggressive and tends to chase the other two away!
Tim Baird spotted a whimbrel at Cow Bay on August 27 and on the 14th Sheila and Tim had Baltimore orioles in their yard for the first time since spring. They also have three ruby-throated hummingbirds tending their feeder. They noticed a huge, high-flying flock of double-crested cormorants flying south recently and noted that they had been seeing a laughing gull in Vineyard Haven harbor all summer.
Please report your bird sightings to the M.V. Bird Hotline at 508-627-4922 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan B. Whiting is coauthor of Vineyard Birds and newly published Vineyard Birds II. She will lead bird walks from the agricultural fairgrounds on August 31, Sept. 7 and Sept. 14.