On July 19, Red Beach was a perfect seven for seven. There were only seven shorebirds on the tidal flats but all four of the four species of plovers expected on the Vineyard were there: one killdeer, one semipalmated plover, one black-bellied plover and four piping plovers.

About a 100 yards up the road from Red Beach was a three for three. We have three species of mimic thrushes nesting on the Island and all three were singing at the same time. A catbird, the most common of the three, was chattering away from deep within a nearby shrub, repeating none of the notes. A mockingbird in the shrubs about 100 yards to the west was repeating each note of its song eight to 10 times before moving on to the next note. And the least common of the three species – the brown thrasher – was about 100 feet to the east, perched atop a tall bayberry bush singing its song of twice-repeated notes. I do not recall ever hearing all three mimics singing at the same time on the Island.

Cedar waxwing. — Lanny McDowell

Seven for seven: four species of plovers and three species of mimic thrushes. Other than three crows and one osprey overhead, these were the only birds that I saw there.

Bird Sightings

Lesser black-backed gulls start showing up at this time of the year, especially along the South Shore. David Benvent spotted at least one of them at Long Point on July 22. He also spotted a Cory’s shearwater, an uncommon species near shore. This sighting reminds us to keep looking for them as the shearwater migration is starting.

Eastern kingbird with a wasp snack. — Lanny McDowell

Becky Cornoyer observed a great blue heron and an immature yellow-crowned night-heron on one of the ponds near her house on July 21. On July 19, the Felix Neck Early Birders Group spotted an adult yellow-crowned night-heron as well as eastern phoebe, ovenbird, and an eastern kingbird harassing a red-tailed hawk. The next day, Steve Allen found a spotted sandpiper along Felix Neck’s shoreline.

Wintucket and Janes Cove of Edgartown Great Pond produced a handful of species for Walt Looney on July 12, including one spotted sandpiper, six belted kingfishers, one black crowned night heron, one great blue heron, three ospreys, two common yellowthroats and one eastern kingbird as well as the usual black birds, terns, gulls and cormorants.

Jessica Shafer observed cedar waxwings near her Aquinnah house on July 22, while Karen Swift-Shannon observed another in downtown Vineyard Haven.

Subadult yellow-crowned night heron. — Lanny McDowell

Warren Woessner and Pete Gilmore observed two lesser and one greater yellowlegs on the Norton Point tidal flats on July 22. Their feeding near each other provided a handy comparison of the sizes of their bills.

Bill Post reports that there are a number of eastern kingbirds around the Edgartown Golf Club this month. This somewhat aggressive species seems to prefer golf courses, with their open grassy areas harboring scattered trees and shrubs between the fairways. He also has seen kingbirds at three locales within Katama: two locations at the Airpark and a third along Atlantic avenue.

‘Tis still the season for baby birds! Rick DeTucci reports that three pairs of Baltimore orioles have frequented his grape jelly and oranges this year, though the adults have now left, leaving three fledglings partaking of the bounty. He also reports that a pair of great crested flycatchers nested in the owl box near his house, while the screech owl he saw on July 2 was perched in a tree in his yard.

Adult yellow-crowned night heron. — Lanny McDowell

Also on the oriole front, Sarah Mayhew reports three juvenile Baltimore orioles were visiting her oriole feeder, and a yellow warbler and a Carolina wren were in her West Tisbury yard on July 22.

On July 8, Wilson Jaroch visited Wascosim’s Rock and found a family of Baltimore orioles and a pair of prairie warblers. On July 9 along Old Farm Road he spotted a wood thrush and both pine and blue-winged warblers.

David Pb Stephens found a red-bellied woodpecker feeding its full-grown fledgling on July 22.

Lesser yellowlegs. — Lanny McDowell

Nancy Slate reports that the four barn swallow chicks fledged from the barn at Sweetened Water Farm on July 21. That same day three Carolina wren chicks left their nests, which was in a hanging basket on Jo-Ann Eccher’s front porch.

As amazing as it sounds, the snowy owl that showed up in early June is still around. Allouise Waller Morgan reports that it has recently been hanging out in yards off Planting Field Way in Edgartown; I believe it is the same bird that has been here all along, although there is no evidence to support this claim. A photo of the bird would help clarify this, as the previous sighting was of a very white adult male.

The breeding season is winding down and southbound migrant have started to show up. Please report all your sightings to birds@mvgazette.com.

Robert Culbert leads Saturday morning Guided Birding Tours and is an ecological consultant living in Vineyard Haven.