A glossy ibis was spotted by Richard Price on May 12, as it foraged in the salt marsh along Sengekontacket Pond in Ocean Heights. Ken Magnuson observed what may or may not be the same individual on May 15 at the Edgartown Golf Club. This species is unique, with its glossy dark rufous/chestnutty coloration and a long down-curved bill. Unfortunately, this species is not seen as frequently as they were maybe 20 years ago.

Glossy ibis was seen at Sengekontacket. — Lanny McDowell

Speaking of large distinguished-looking shorebirds with down-curved bills, on May 12 Antone Lima found two whimbrels in a large marsh along Poucha Pond. This species was observed earlier this year, but deserves mention again here because they are distinctive and uncommon on the Island.

Olsen Houghton saw a blue-winged warbler, another species new to this year’s list. He observed it on May 11 off North Road, along with common yellowthroats, yellow, prairie, and pine warblers and a scarlet tanager.

The annual Felix Neck bird-a-thon was held on May 12 and 13. Highlights include a male hooded warbler in full breeding plumage, observed by Lanny McDowell, Luanne Johnson, Allan Keith and Ken Magnuson at the land bank’s Gay Head Moraine. Their highlights also included an indigo bunting at Squibnocket, a rose-breasted grosbeak at Great Rock Bight, and an unidentified species of jaeger well out to sea off the Gay Head Cliffs. Jean-Marc Dupon’s team added an American bittern in Chilmark and a red-necked grebe in Oak Bluffs harbor, while Luanne Johnson added house wren, northern parula and yellow warbler while birding on Tiasquam Road in West Tisbury. A complete list of species observed will appear in a future column.

Bird Sightings

Intriguing reports of a Mississippi kite come from two different observers. Morgan Muir and his brother observed their kite near the Martha’s Vineyard Airport on May 14. And Sandra Talanian may have seen one at Muskoday Farm (in Katama) on May 13 or 14. This species (and other kites) occasionally come this far north, but it is a rare and unusual species for the Island so a photograph is required to validate the sighting. Please keep on the lookout for this species, and take a picture — a cell phone is fine — to confirm your sighting.

Hooded warbler. — Lanny McDowell

On May 15, Ken Magnuson include a bay-breasted warbler at Menemsha Hills and a magnolia warbler at Great Rock Bight. That same day, Jeff Bernier observed a great egret at the marsh along Mattakesett Bay that was in full breeding plumage, complete with the decorative plumes that trail behind this species. These plumes are one of the reasons why this species was hunted almost to extinction about 100 years ago. Jeff also observed a horned lark on May 13 in a parking lot at South Beach.

Walt Looney has been observing a pair of black skimmers in the Little Beach area.

Debra Swanson reports that she heard the chuck-wills-widow when she visited Dike Road on May 12. She could not see the bird, but it was so close that she could hear the normally inaudible soft “chuck” note — which the whippoorwill also has in its call — that precedes each chanted phrase. It is well worth a trip to Chappy to hear this species, as they are more difficult to distinguish from their whippoorwill cousins at great distances.

Ray and Cam Shea found a banded American oystercatcher at Squibnocket on May 12. It is important that all band recoveries — even sightings of a live bird — get reported to the authorities. An internet search using the phrase “reporting banded birds” will direct you to the correct address, and you will be able to learn when and where the bird was banded. And the person that banded the bird gains valuable information about this sighting and knows the bird is still alive. For example, the Sheas learned that the oystercatcher they saw was almost 10 years old, banded on July 9, 2007 at Stonewall Beach.

Allouise Morgan has likened the birds in her yard to looking through a stained glass window; the goldfinches, orioles, hummingbirds, blue jays and cardinals combine to include most of the colors of the rainbow.

House wren. — Lanny McDowell

Sue Shea had an unusual combination of wading birds on May 13 in a Sengekontacket Pond marsh near Felix Neck; there were two snowy egrets, two great egrets and a great blue heron. It is getting late for finding these birds together since only the great egrets nest on the Island.

The spring northward migration is in full swing. Please keep us up to date by reporting your sightings to birds@mvgazette.com.

Robert Culbert leads Saturday morning guided birding tours and is an ecological consultant living in Vineyard Haven.

Photos of recent bird sightings on Martha’s Vineyard.