Birders have a tough decision, as there are two very important bird-oriented events this weekend; one for least terns and another for the Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas.
Every year, threatened least terns nest at Eastville Beach in Oak Bluffs, but every year they have been unsuccessful due to predation by skunk and rats. This year we would like to give them a little extra support by building a low predator fence around the nest area. We will also put in some tern decoys. This is hard work; there will be lots of digging, fencing and maybe some more weeding. But it is all for a good cause so please come help!
Who: Coastal Waterbird Program, Massachusetts Audubon.
When: Saturday May 2 from 10 a.m. until project completion.
Where: Eastville Beach, Oak Bluffs.
Bring a shovel if you have one. For questions, contact Liz Baldwin at 508-267-7480 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Breeding Bird Atlas 2 (BBA2) is a state-wide, volunteer-based initiative by Mass Audubon to map the distribution of all bird species known to nest in Massachusetts. Volunteers are needed. Join us for a discussion on May 2 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. For information, call 508-627-4850.
Indigo buntings are still on Island. Nancy Hugger had one at her Edgartown feeder between April 22 and 27. Phyllis and Bob Conway had a male at their Chilmark feeder on April 22 and Robin Bray had a male at Katama on April 22 and 23.
Eastern towhees have arrived. Sally Anderson saw one at Sepiessa on April 25. The next day, Sally spotted one at Waskosim’s Rock, Phyllis and Bob Conway spotted one around their Chilmark Hills feeder, LuAnn Johnson watched one at Oyster Pond in Edgartown, Robin Bray had several males at her Katama feeder and the Felix Neck towhee arrived.
On April 27, Dorie Godfrey and Ira Godfrey had their first Eastern towhee in their Edgartown yard and Penny Uhlendorf had one at her Pilot Hill home. Then, on April 29, Jules Ben David had one in his yard in Oak Bluffs.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds are here! Catherine Deese had her first of the season at her feeder on April 25. Wendy and Bob Cavanagh had their first the same day.
Bert Fischer had a ruby-throated hummingbird at his Aquinnah house on April 27 and on the same day, LuAnn Johnson watched her first ruby-throated hummingbird in her West Tisbury yard. Laurie Walker had her first at her Abel’s Hill yard in Chilmark.
Whit Manter watched a female rose-breasted grosbeak arrive at his West Tisbury feeder on April 22.
He mentioned that the white-eyed vireo was still at the Oak Bluffs water works that day. Phyllis and Bob Conway also had a female rose-breasted grosbeak arrive at their Chilmark yard. Theirs was on April 23. Nancy Hugger’s rose-breasted grosbeak arrived at Katama on April 26.
Sally Anderson watched two belted kingfishers chasing each other around Sepiessa on April 25. The next day, at Waskosim’s Rock, Sally spotted black and white warblers and a tufted titmouse.
A great coup for Sally was to spot her first prothonotary warbler along with a yellow warbler at the Oak Bluffs water works on April 28.
Tom and Barbara Rivers had a late-staying golden-crowned kinglet on April 25 and still had dark-eyed juncos and white-throated sparrows as of April 28.
Jules Ben David had quite a yard full at his Oak Bluffs home on April 27. First, and most importantly, he had a male northern parula.
He is trying to figure out how to coax the female that is at his brother Gus Ben David’s feeder to come for a visit. Jules also had a brown creeper, yellow-rumped and pine warblers, a song sparrow, and a gray catbird.
There is a pair of tufted titmice nesting in one of his bird houses!
Dorie and Ira Godfrey had their first gray catbird of the season arrive in their Edgartown yard on April 27.
Nancy Hugger had her first Baltimore oriole on April 27. Catherine Deese had two Baltimore orioles cruise into her Chilmark yard on April 28, and has had eastern phoebes in her yard since April 25.
Penny Uhlendorf heard great crested flycatchers on April 27 both at West Chop Woods and Northern Pines.
Bert Fischer had the first bank swallows of the season at Zack’s Cliffs on April 28.
LuAnn Johnson and Nan Harris birded Chappaquiddick on April 25. The best sighting was a male long-tailed duck in full breeding plumage. They also spotted surf and white-winged scoters.
There was a nice selection of shorebirds, including around 100 dunlins. Dale Carter reports that the great egrets are in the East Beach marshes. She was also surprised to see 20 brant still at Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs.
There are two barn owlets at Felix Neck. Go and check them out in the web cam. The Felix Neck osprey are on eggs.
Liz Baldwin reported the first piping plover nest was found at Lobsterville on April 26.
She added that a few other American oystercatcher nests have been found, and the piping plovers are showing up in numbers at Dogfish Bar.
Finally, in an incredible coincidence, Robin Bray e-mailed to say she has had a pair of mallards come to their yard to eat some corn and use the bird bath for water every spring for the last three years.
They stay around for a while and then disappear.
At our feeder in Chilmark we have the same scenario — a pair of mallards arrive and feed and water twice a day for several weeks in the spring and then disappear.
One wonders if these birds nest nearby or are on a feeding frenzy and come to our yard first and then, desiring new food, water, and a new environment, move to Katama!