The results of Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary’s annual Bird-a-thon tops the news for this week. A total of 119 species were observed from 6 p.m. on Friday, May 15, to 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 16. Twenty-three birders participated in this marathon Massachusetts Audubon Society event, scheduled to coincide with the peak of the northward migration.
Highlights include northern bobwhite, northern fulmar, sooty shearwater, 14 species of sandpipers and plovers, 14 species of warblers, and a blue-gray gnatcatcher. Here is the complete list of species observed on the Vineyard:
American black duck
Great blue heron
Great black-backed gull
Great horned owl
Great crested flycatcher
Northern rough-winged swallow
Black-throated green warbler
Common yellow throat
As the long list above suggests, there are a lot of birds around now.
The most unusual of these is a sandhill crane that showed up in the fields near Black Point Pond in Chilmark. Allan Keith was the first to observe the single individual on May 13, but it has hung around, so many others have seen it. Allan found it again on the morning of May 16. Next was from Roy Riley and his daughter Libby, who saw a sandhill crane at Katama Farm on May 17, only 20 feet from the road. There Robin Bray and David Nash observed it on May 18. All these sightings are undoubtedly the same bird, as this is only the fourth time the species has been found on-Island.
Sally Anderson reports that a Nashville warbler was singing loudly near her house on May 12 and 13.
Susan Whiting observed a white-throated sparrow at her Quenames feeder on May 14.
Also on May 14, Bob and Wendy Cavanagh had a worm-eating warbler fly into a window of their North Road home. The bird did not survive and is now in Allan Keith’s freezer, and is en route to Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology. Mr. Keith requests that dead birds in good condition (not rotten) be put in a plastic bag and frozen. Please write the date and location found on a piece of paper and put it in the bag too. Call him and he will arrange its transport to the museum.
Whit Manter found a gadwall on Tisbury Great Pond on May 15. This bird was not found later that day after the bird-a-thon started.
Allan Keith, on the bird-a-thon for Drumlin Farm, found Acadian flycatchers near the Mill Brook at Waskosim’s Rock, the above mentioned sandhill crane near Black Point Pond, one snow goose at Crystal Lake, a sharp-shinned hawk and harlequin ducks at Squibnocket.
On May 19, Martha Moore saw five snowy egrets along Tisbury Great Pond.
By my count, a remarkable 129 species were observed this past week!
Please call in your sightings to the bird line at 508-627-4922.
Ecological consultant Robert Culbert leads Saturday morning birding tours.