This has been another amazing week, with lots of birds spotted. It is a rare week when I report everything in chronological order, but there is so much to report. It is the peak of spring migration.

The procession started on April 29 when Scott Stephens saw a yellow-throated vireo, blue-headed vireo and a black and white warbler at Fulling Mill Brook.

Orchard Oriole. — Lanny McDowell

Then, on the morning of April 30, when Luanne Johnson and Kristen Geagan were talking in the parking lot at the Wakeman Center, they heard a song they did not recognize and tracked down a yellow-throated warbler. This is a southern species that is not normally seen here. Its closest breeding sites are in eastern Pennsylvania. Later that morning, both Scott Stephens and Ken Magnuson found this bird. And on April 30, Susan Straight found a blue-winged warbler in Chilmark.

Ken Magnuson has spotted a few new species for the season at the Edgartown Golf Club. On April 30, he spotted a great crested flycatcher. The next day he found an eastern kingbird (an unusually early kingbird was reported on April 19), and the day after that he had the first yellow warbler of the season.

On May 1, Cheska Zayda was pulling out of her driveway to go birding when she spotted a thrush she did not immediately recognize. She pulled over, got her camera and took many photos of the bird. She confirmed it was a Swainson’s thrush, which is not an easy species to identify. As with other sightings this spring, if she had not been there at that moment, she might not have seen the bird. That day, she also spotted an orchard oriole near the West Tisbury Cemetery. John Nelson spotted a willet in the marshes of Sengekontacket Pond and 24 black-bellied plovers at the Farm Institute. And Lanny McDowell photographed the first chimney swift and blue-gray gnatcatcher of the season at Fulling Mill Brook, the latter species was also seen by Scott Stephens.

On May 2, Emmet Carroll had a female prothonotary warbler at his jelly feeder (yes, it serves jelly), which was seen later that day by Allan Keith. Ron Domurat spotted a black-and-white warbler, while Lanny McDowell got a report of a glossy ibis on private property in Edgartown. He rushed over and also spotted a hawk flying over and took a few pictures of it. He later identified the hawk as a broad-winged hawk. And Gus Ben David spotted two lesser yellowlegs at a pond on his property.

Black and White Warbler. — Lanny McDowell

May 3 was an active day too. Catbirds were reported by Laurie Meyst and Sheilah Hughes, while Sue Shea reports that her first catbird of the season was spotted around April 20. Mary Shea reports a white-crowned sparrow on May 3, a species that is larger but somewhat similar to our winter-resident white-throated sparrows. Allan Keith also spotted the former in his Chilmark yard. Also that day, BeeBee Horowitz and Stuart Kendall spotted an orchard oriole in their West Tisbury yard. It was a first summer male orchard oriole so its identification was more difficult because of its yellowish plumage with a black bib. Lanny McDowell then spotted a Nashville warbler and a summer tanager at his house on May 3.

The terns are back! Lanny McDowell spotted three least terns on Norton Point Beach on May 3 and four common terns near Sarson’s Island, while Rick Dwyer had leasties there the next day. Tony Lima spotted leasties along the south shore on May 5 while John Nelson had six of them on Sarson’s Island on May 6.

On May 4, Scott Stephens spotted a female yellow-billed cuckoo at Fulling Mill Brook. And Bob Kimberly spotted a green heron at the Oak Bluffs Pumping Station.

Female summer tanager. — Lanny McDowell

A lot of birds were seen on May 5, despite the persistent light rain. This time Cheska Zayda reported a purple finch in her backyard. Late April and early May is the best time to see this species in the spring. Others reporting them recently are Carol Anne Love in Oak Bluffs, Samantha Hartley in West Tisbury, and Gary Nichols. And a wet but persistent John Nelson spotted four common terns as they were diving off Dutcher Dock in Menemsha.

The same day, a golden-winged warbler was spotted by Scott Stephens in Pilot Hill Farm. This species is declining and is not seen very often here. Scott was the only one to see it; the bird was not found when Lanny McDowell came to look for it 15 minutes later. As a consolation prize they found a female hooded warbler. Fortunately, it was still there the next day and Scott Stephens, Lanny McDowell, Nancy Weaver, and Margaret Curtin all got to see both species. On May 6, Scott Stephens spotted another Nashville warbler at Fulling Mill Brook. A number of migrants reported in past weeks are still here. Rose-breasted grosbeaks have been seen by Emmett Carroll, Mary Beth Baptiste, Sioux Eagle, Norma Holmes, Allan Keith and Ron Domurat. Indigo buntings are still unusually common, as reported by John Nelson, Jeff Bernier, Tom Hodgson and Margaret Isham. And the abundance of gannets migrating past the Vineyard continues, as reported by Rick Dwyer, Holly Mercier, Tony Lima, John Nelson, and Jeff Bernier. Ruby-throated hummingbirds have been observed by Sioux Eagle, Ellen OBrien, Holly Mercier, Dryer, Alison Moore Clark, and Gus Ben David. On the owl and hawk front, Norma Holmes heard the barred owl calling in her yard on April 26 and Tim Rush reports a screech owl near Coffin’s Field on April 29. Jeff Bernier spotted a male northern harrier at Katama Airpark on May 3.

We close this week with reports of winter residents yet to leave the Island. Kath MayWaite spotted a yellow-rumped warbler on May 1 in the shrubbery next to Squibnocket parking lot. Warren Gossen spotted a flock of bufflehead on Farm Pond on May 2. John Nelson spotted two common loons on May 6, and that day Wendy Culbert reports that a flock of 30 brant were still at Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs.

The northward migration of birds is peaking and the torrent of migrants will continue through the month of May. Please report your sightings to

More pictures.

Robert Culbert schedules private guided birding tours, and is an ecological consultant with Nature Watch LLC living in Vineyard Haven.