Come one, come all. Help Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Fern and Feather Day Camp. I can’t believe I was teaching there when I was a mere 23 years old, seems like yesterday.

The activities commence at 11 a.m. and continue until 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 12. There will be a blast from the past when former Felix Neck director Gus Ben David gives a live animal presentation. Gus’s presentation will be at 11 a.m., so get there early for a place in the circle. Other activities include music performed by the Flying Elbows and the Chandler Blues Band with Gordon Healy. Little Rock Farm will provide food for purchase. Also available for a fee is an Edible Wild Vineyard walk/talk with Ross Cohen. Reservations are required for that event. To make reservations go online to, or call the sanctuary at 508-627-4850. And while all the above is going on, there will be a silent auction with items by local artists to benefit the Fern and Feather scholarship fund.

It sounds like Suzan Bellincampi and team has put together a fitting salute to Fern and Feather’s commemorative season. See you there and bring a chair or blanket.

Bird Sightings:

Bob Shriber and Flip Harrington were fishing off the Elizabeth Islands on Sept. 23 when a lesser black-backed gull landed on a rock off their port side. The day before Bob spotted a Nashville warbler on Moshup’s Trail in Aquinnah and both blackpoll and magnolia warblers at the Gay Head Moraine. Bob added that both merlins and Cooper’s hawks are seen most mornings at the Gay Head Cliffs.

Merrily Fenner and I spotted a dogfight between a merlin and a sharp-shinned hawk at Hancock Reserve in Chilmark on Sept. 23.

Ken Magnuson sent a set of superb photographs of four whimbrels and bobolinks that he took at Katama on Sept. 22. On Sept. 21 Ken found two good vireos at the Gay Head Moraine, a warbling vireo and a Philadelphia vireo. Ken also sent a photo of a wood thrush taken at the Gay Head Moraine. On Lighthouse Road he photographed a Cape May warbler and noted that he had seen two in the same area the day before. At the Cliffs, Ken spotted red-breasted nuthatches, a house wren and a merlin, Cooper’s hawk and sharp-shinned hawk.

Over on Chappaquiddick on Sept. 22 Mary Makepeace reported a variety of birds. At Wasque she spotted two merlins, a northern harrier, red-breasted nuthatches and pine warblers. Near the Dyke Bridge she counted eight great egrets and a brown thrasher. On the north side of Chappy, Mary found a warbling vireo. At Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown, Jeff Bernier photographed a young osprey on the same day.

On Sept. 21 I watched three pine warblers, a Carolina wren, a parula warbler and three American goldfinches sharing the bird bath at Quenames.

Bob Shriber and his daughter Sarah joined Vern Laux and his lady friend Trish Pastuszak at Gay Head on Sept. 20. Their best birds were chimney swift and Cape May warbler. Vern also spotted a Lincoln’s sparrow.

Hillary Blockson emailed to say that on both Sept. 19 and 20 she spotted bobwhite at Brookside Farm in West Tisbury.

Rob Culbert and his Saturday morning bird walk on Sept. 20 went first to West Chop Woods where they found several red-breasted nuthatches, numbers of pine warblers and tufted titmice. At the State Forest they spotted good numbers of chipping sparrows and a common yellowthroat. At Mink Meadows the group spotted both black ducks and mallards and at Lake Tashmoo, two American oystercatchers.

Lanny McDowell found many pine warblers and a warbling vireo a the Phillips Preserve in Tisbury on Sept. 20.

And we thought the hummingbirds had left! On Sept. 18 Sioux Eagle in West Tisbury, Nat Woodruff in Oak Bluffs, and Cris Mayhew in Dodgers Hole all had ruby-throated hummingbirds at their feeders. Charlie Kernick counted three ruby-throated hummingbirds at his West Tisbury feeder on Sept. 20 and four on Sept. 21. On Sept. 20 Flip Harrington and I had a ruby-throated hummingbird in the Quenames yard as did Nat Woodruff in her Oak Bluffs yard. And, on Sept. 22 Nancy Rogers had a ruby-throated hummingbird at her Tisbury yard.

Ken Magnuson had a palm warbler at the Edgartown Golf Club on Sept. 19. Nat Woodruff had red-breasted nuthatch in her Oak Bluffs yard on the same day.

Pete Gilmore found a mixed flock of interesting shorebirds at Sepiessa on Sept. 19. The flock included solitary and stilt sandpipers, four black-bellied plovers, 20 semipalmated sandpiper, one white-rumped sandpiper and five semipalmated plovers. Jeff Bernier sent a great photograph of a mix of snowy and great egrets having a gam at the Bend of the Road along the Sengekontacket marshes.

Paula McFarland spotted a common nighthawk at Gay Head on Sept. 19. During the week of Sept. 15 Paula birded in many spots on Chappaquiddick. Her best birds were a peregrine falcon, merlin, osprey, Cooper’s hawk and sharp-shinned hawk at Wasque. Paula also saw spotted sandpipers and American oystercatchers along the shore of the Edgartown harbor, 20 great egrets by the Dyke Bridge and a snowy egret by the Chappy ferry. She heard a screech owl at Manaca Hill the evening of Sept. 15 and counted more than 200 tree swallow flocking up over the dunes at East Beach.

Water is really important for the birds during this drought. On Sept. 16 I had five pine warblers, an eastern phoebe, a Baltimore oriole, two eastern bluebirds, two blue jays, a Carolina wren and a black capped chickadee all taking turns in the Quenames bird bath.

Please report your bird sightings to
Susan B. Whiting is the co-author of Vineyard Birds and Vineyard Birds II. Her website is