The Felix Neck Bird-a-thon was a success! There were four teams; Suzan Bellincampi and the Felix Neck staff, Al Sgroi and crew, Lanny McDowell and Pete Gilmore, and Rob Culbert. Sally Williams tended her feeder and Richard Greene added whip-poor-will and American woodcock from his West Tisbury property. The combined effort resulted in 124 species of birds seen from Friday night to Saturday night.
Suzan Bellincampi wants to thank everyone who participated in the field and those who donated money to Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary.
Rob Culbert reported that birders had ideal weather for the Bird-a-thon and the birding was slow but steady. Checking the list I found the crews spotted fifteen species of warblers, six species of sparrows, two species of thrushes, five species of gulls including Bonaparte’s and glaucous, sixteen species of sandpipers and plovers. Rob reported some of the highlights were the Chappaquiddick merlin found by the fire station, short-billed dowitchers found at Little Beach (Edgartown), two red-eyed vireos singing near Seth’s Pond in West Tisbury, a brown creeper and Blackburnian warbler at the West Chop Woods, a Wilson’s warbler at Christiantown, and a black-throated blue warbler singing by Woodland Market in Tisbury. I might add that the following were nice as well; the cattle egret at the Oak Bluffs Pumping Station, a red knot and the white-rumped sandpipers on Chappaquiddick and the two late staying gulls, Bonaparte’s and glaucous.
Allan Keith noted that on April 29 there were still nine purple sandpipers on the big rock at Squibnocket. He also counted close to 1000 scoters offshore and saw a male indigo bunting. On April 30 Allan had two northern parulas and an ovenbird at Waskosim’s, a black and white warbler and ovenbird at Menemsha Hills and hermit thrushes at both Waskosim’s Rock and Menemsha Hills. At the Oak Bluffs Pumping Station Allan saw a rose-breasted grosbeak, three myrtle warblers and a drake bufflehead that he felt was probably crippled as the rest of the wintering bufflehead have left to breed north of here.
Tim and Sheila Baird had a white-throated sparrow in their Edgartown yard on April 30. They spotted their first willet of the season on the shores of Sengekontacket. On May 1 their yard gray catbird returned. On May 6 the Baird’s spotted their first ruby-throated hummingbird in their yard. On May 7 they had an eastern kingbird at Katama and in their yard a chipping sparrow, an eastern towhee, and a Baltimore oriole. On May 9 the Bairds spotted their first of the year common tern at Sengekontacket Pond and on the 11th their first least tern on Vineyard Haven Harbor. On May 15 the Bairds spotted brant off East Chop, but found they were gone on May 16.
The Potters will be pleased to hear that Jeff Bernier took great photos of two black skimmers at Norton’s Point on May 15. The skimmers may stay the summer!
Jessica Roddy hosted a ruby-throated hummingbird in her Chilmark yard on May 7.
Tom Rivers and Bette Carroll found a flock of white-crowned sparrows at Blacksmith Valley in Chilmark on May 8 and a black and white warbler in Bette’s driveway in Menemsha.
On May 9 Chris and Steve Miller had a rose-breasted grosbeak in their Edgartown yard and Janet Sigler had a Baltimore oriole and counted sixteen American goldfinches at her feeders.
Bill Blake and Morgan Gogkin called to say their Aquinnah yard birds on May 7 included indigo buntings, Baltimore orioles, several rose-breasted grosbeaks, an eastern towhee, a chipping sparrow and an Eastern kingbird.
Pete Gilmore spotted an orchard oriole by the Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club in West Tisbury on May 11.
Sasha and Nanauwe Vanderhoop heard and saw their first scarlet tanager, great crested flycatchers and ovenbird of the season in Aquinnah on May 13. They also spotted a male American redstart at the bus stop on the morning of May 14.
Joanie Ames was pleased to announce that the wood thrushes are back singing at Seven Gates in West Tisbury as of May 14.
Tim Johnson sent two photos of killdeer taken on May 14 at the Farm Institute.
Nancy Weaver and Margaret Curtin reported seeing a Baltimore oriole and an eastern kingbird at the Oak Bluff Pumping Station on May 14.
The cattle egret that has been spotted in several areas around the Island has turned up at the Nortons’ in Edgartown as of May 15. Janet Norton added that a male northern pintail has been around her pond and yard all winter and kept the company of a female mallard, much to the chagrin of the male mallard that followed a few steps behind the odd couple. The female mallard left and now the pintail is gone. Hard to tell if the male mallard left also as Janet has a cast of thousands (mallards, that is) daily.
On May 15 Liz Baldwin had what she called a “birdtastic” day. First she spotted a ruddy turnstones at Edgartown Great Pond and a killdeer near Oyster Pond. The frosting on the cake was finding three American oystercatcher chicks, only a day old, at Little Beach. This was exciting as Biodiversity Works is studying oystercatchers and these are the first chicks to have hatched in the nests Liz Baldwin and Luanne Johnson are studying. In another surprise, Liz found a five-egg oystercatcher nest, which is very unusual as they typically lay three eggs. Liz added, “Apparently oystercatchers will dabble in polygamy. This is the first I have heard of it here but they have seen it on Nantucket. There are three oystercatchers attached to this nest and I have lots of assumptions of what is going on” Liz is going to check with other biologists and report back.
Our feeder at Quenames has the usual crew: chipping sparrows, gray catbird, tufted titmice, Baltimore oriole, eastern towhee. Barn swallows are back in the barn and eastern bluebirds in the boxes. No hummingbird as of May 16.
Please report your bird sightings to the Martha’s Vineyard Bird Hotline at 508-645-2913 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Susan B. Whiting is the co-author of Vineyard Birds and Vineyard Birds II. Her website is vineyardbirds2.com.