A female yellow-headed blackbird showed up at Karen Osler’s feeder on the morning of June 22 and was not seen after that morning. What is this western species doing here in June? She is supposed to be on her nesting grounds, and the closest are in northwestern Ohio. This sighting proves that we should pay attention to the birds in our yards, as at any time a vagrant could turn up. The only other June sighting of these blackbirds in the east was from early June in New Brunswick, a little bit north of Maine. Most sightings of this species are between late August and October, although we do not find them every year. I recall a couple of spring sightings in the 1980s and 1990s, but they are more likely during migration in May rather than mid-June.

Lanny McDowell
A brown pelican was also reported on May 28. — Lanny McDowell

Walt Looney reports that he spotted a brown pelican feeding just offshore near Wasque on the morning of June 25. He talked to one of the rangers for the Trustees of Reservations, who reports that he has seen it a few times. This is intriguing since a brown pelican was also reported there on May 28. Has this bird been hanging out there for the past month?

Flocks of roseate terns have appeared along the north shore. I spotted about 150 terns loafing on the large offshore boulders at Cedar Tree Neck on June 25; about two thirds of them were roseate terns and the remaining birds were common terns. Roseates are a federally endangered species – a small number of them breed on various beaches in Edgartown, but almost every other roseate in the north Atlantic breeds on a couple of small islands in Buzzards Bay and Long Island Sound. The Buzzard’s Bay nesting islands are an easy day-trip for these strong flyers.

Laughing gulls. — Lanny McDowell

My June 23 guided birding tour was birding Katama on a rainy Saturday morning.

A solitary laughing gull appeared to be quite small when compared to the nearby herring and great black-backed gulls on Norton Point beach, and was only slightly larger than the common terns perched nearby. The only shorebirds were resident American oystercatchers, eastern willets, and piping plovers. As we drove around Katama we found a large flock of Canada geese and a few soggy mourning doves near some puddles in the road at the Farm Institute. Then I realized that we had not seen any eastern kingbirds, and that I have not seen one yet this year. Where are they? Anne Carmichael Whiting and Helen Green have been seeing kingbirds regularly throughout June, as there must be one pair per hole at Farm Neck. Obviously, I have been looking for birdies in the wrong places.

Eastern kingbird. — Lanny McDowell

Bill Post reports that on June 18 he went down to the boat launch at the end of Pease’s Point Way and looked across Eel Pond to Little Beach, where he spotted the nesting black skimmers, common terns, least terns, and American oystercatchers. There also were numerous tree swallows flitting about.

On June 24, Bob Jampol and Dahlia Rudavsky kayaked around the south end of Sengekontacket Pond and spotted Canada geese, oystercatchers, willet, common terns, least terns, green heron, and a great egret.

Jane Flanders and son were very excited to have a snowy egret fly about two feet over their heads. — Lanny McDowell

Baby birds have been spotted as well. A family of downy woodpeckers – the young lack the black and white head pattern – have been frequenting Bob Morse’s feeders. Sarah Carr and her family all got to observe a young Baltimore oriole being fed by its male parent in their front yard on June 23. And Kristen Fauteux reports that a family of Carolina wrens fledged from inside the tool shed at Cedar Tree Neck.

There are two more updates to my request for reports of scarlet tanager, hermit thrush, and veery sightings. Susan McCoy spotted a pair of scarlet tanagers in the woods by Blackwater Pond the first week of June. And Phil Edmundson spotted a veery in early June in the woods along West Tisbury’s south shore.

Finally, Jane Flanders and son were very excited to have a snowy egret fly about two feet over their heads on June 25. They also observed black skimmers in Edgartown Harbor.

The breeding season is in full swing, and your observations will help document their nesting. Please report 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.