More late fall and winter residents have arrived this week, perhaps riding the blast of Arctic air we got on Thanksgiving and the day after. I can not remember two days of below freezing temperatures over Thanksgiving before. So far, the cold snap has not brought us many more northern birds. This may change if water up north remains frozen.

Jeff Verner found a fox sparrow on Nov. 24 scratching around in the leaf litter in his yard. Both Susan Whiting and Laura Wainwright have also observed this species at their feeders on Nov. 24 to 25. A pine siskin also showed up at Ms. Whiting’s feeders.

Lanny McDowell observed a winter wren at his house on Nov. 26. It is hard to get a good look at this diminutive bird that likes to stay deep in the thickets.

Catherine Deese reports a female Baltimore oriole has been regularly visiting her feeders since Nov. 17, while evening grosbeaks have twice visited her feeders: on Nov. 17 and again on Nov. 24. But not in between. Same flock? Maybe. Has anyone else observed this species?

Christie Coon and daughter Hannah Driscoll spotted a long-eared owl perched in a pine tree at the northern end of West Chop Woods on Nov. 24. A murder of crows were mobbing something and they tracked it down and got to see it (large ears and all) before it flew off and landed in another nearby pitch pine to get away from the crows. It would be nice to hear it calling to confirm the identification, as they are not seen or heard very frequently anymore.

Lanny McDowell was checking out a raven at Thimble farm, or was the raven checking him out on Nov. 23? They got quite close as they both eyed other. Vineyard Haven has hosted two other raven sightings, as the next day Sarah Delaney observed one at her suet feeder, and I had one fly over my house that day.

The next day Mr. McDowell observed lots of red-throated loons swimming close to shore at Wasque Point, as well as about 30 snow buntings and two northern gannets. Anne Carmichael Whiting also observed multiple red-throated loons of East Chop.

Mr. McDowell joined Warren Woessner and Morgan Muir on Nov. 24 and found Bonaparte’s gulls flying westward over the south shore of Katama. Mr. Woessner ventured out after the rain stopped on Nov. 25 and found more Bonaparte’s gulls, this time at the south end of Lagoon Pond, where there also were red-breasted mergansers, eastern towhee, northern pintails, American wigeon, great blue herons and black-crowned night-herons. He also spotted a lesser black-backed gull walking around one of the parking lots at the right fork of South Beach.

On the frigid cold morning of Nov. 23, Susan Whiting, Pat Hughes and Geoff Muldauer teamed up to bird Tisbury Great and Black Point Ponds, where they spotted an immature bald eagle, tree sparrow, common yellowthroat, and six tree swallows. Back at her house they found two eastern bluebirds, eastern towhee, and a Cooper’s hawk.

On Nov. 19 Happy and Steve Spongberg were having a hard time finding birds at Great Rock Bight. But just before they returned to the parking lot she spotted an immature red-headed woodpecker stashing food in a cavity of an oak tree. The bird still had a gray head that will soon start molting into an entirely red head.

Cooper’s and sharp-shinned hawks raid bird feeders, but not to steal seeds as a squirrel does! Care must be taken to separate these two very similar species, and the best field mark might be the relatively large head of a Cooper’s, which is not easy to see since both appear suddenly as they swerve and dodge around trees. Niki Patton had an adult Cooper’s flash by attempting (and failing) to catch a surprised crow on Nov. 24, while Greg Matta and Susan Whiting have also had Cooper’s visiting their feeders.

Anne Speakman observed great blue herons, common eiders and common loons on Menemsha Pond on Nov. 24. Sharon Simonin and Catherine Deese have also noted the abundance of loons there.

Felix Neck’s annual Fall Festival was held on Nov. 23. Many observers commented on the eastern bluebirds that were along the road through the fields and near the parking lot. Also in the parking lot, I heard several short phrases of mockingbird song despite the cold weather. A turkey vulture was on soar overhead as it was checking out the captive raptors on display. I led a morning bird walk where we spotted red-breasted nuthatches and a yellow-rumped warbler.

Both Daisy Kimberly and Holly Mercier have also had bluebirds in their yards on Nov. 24.

At Sherriff’s Meadow Foundation’s Celebration for the Birds at Sheriff’s Meadow Sanctuary in Edgartown on Nov. 24, we found a female green-winged teal and a black duck mixed in with a flock of 15 mallard that flew up to the western pond access expecting to be fed. The pond was still mostly frozen hence the scarcity of waterbirds, but we also saw flickers, red-bellied woodpeckers, robins, and Carolina wrens.

A hairy woodpecker visited my feeder on the morning of Nov. 24.

Warren Woessner spotted one brant within a flock of many Canada geese at the Farm Institute on Nov. 19. Also that day, Albert Fischer spotted a very wet merlin as it perched in a dead evergreen after bathing in a fresh water pond.

One final odd story: Tara Larsen found a bobwhite quail inside a lobster trap stored in her yard on Nov. 23. Fortunately, the bird was safely released by removing the escape vent from the trap.

Fall and winter resident species are still showing up. Please report all your sightings to

Robert Culbert will schedule a private Guided Birding Tour with you, and is an ecological consultant with Nature Watch, LLC living in Vineyard Haven.

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