Yellow-throated warbler — Lanny McDowell

Birds that are migrating northward are still pouring through, especially warblers, flycatchers and shorebirds. It has been a long migratory season: the first migrants arrived in early February. The northward migration and breeding season overlap, as birds started nesting in April with peak nesting in June. Most birds depend on the now-abundant insects, including caterpillars, to feed their nestlings and fledglings. These insects contain more protein than bird seed does, which is why many observers report that use of their feeders has greatly decreased. If you think there are too many bugs now, imagine how many there would be if an army of birds were not eating them as fast as they can.

Gary McGivney spotted and photographed cliff swallows as they were exploring nest cavities in the cliffs at Lucy Vincent Beach on May 22. Every spring we see this species as it migrates through but they have not nested here since the early 1900s. Let’s keep our eyes out for this species whereever bank and rough-winged swallows nest in our coastal cliffs.

Scott Stephens spotted a one-year old Iceland gull at Lambert’s Cove Beach on May 27. This is a late record for this species, which is usually seen in the winter. But this gull with white wings is too young to nest and so may not go to their nesting grounds in the Canadian Arctic or coastal Greenland.

The yellow-throated warbler that has come for the past three springs has returned! On May 25 Lanny McDowell found it singing in the same location it has been seen at in past years, off Lambert’s Cove Road. Both Luanne Johnson and Margaret Curtin found it on May 29.

The first wood thrush of the season was found by Margaret Curtin on May 25 near Fulling Mill Brook.

Wood thrush — Lanny McDowell

Warblers are still migrating through. Our resident breeding species – northern parula, common yellowthroat, ovenbird, American redstart, yellow, pine, black-and-white, blue-winged and prairie warblers — are regularly reported. Non-breeding warblers continue to be found as well. Susan Whiting, Bob Shriber, Hal Minis, Pat, Sally and Elaine Hughes found both black-throated green and bay-breasted warblers along Lighthouse Road in Aquinnah on May 24. Also in Aquinnah but on May 26, Bob Shriber spotted a bay-breasted warbler and Matthew Born spotted a late yellow-rumped warbler along Clay Pit Road. I spotted both chestnut-sided and blackpoll warblers at the Oak Bluffs pumping station on May 30. Other notable songbird sightings include orchard orioles spotted by Susan Whiting, Bob Shriber, Hal Minis, Pat,

Sally and Elaine Hughes along Lighthouse Road on May 24, and by Matthew Born along Clay Pit Road on May 29, where he also spotted a brown thrasher. A blue-gray gnatcatcher and a scarlet tanager were observed by Bob Shriber in Aquinnah on May 24 and by Margaret Curtin near Fulling Mill Brook on May 25. Rose-breasted grosbeaks were spotted by Jeff Bernier at Sheriff’s Meadow Sanctuary on May 23 and I spotted a pair at the Oak Bluffs pumping station on May 30.

Cedar waxwings are late migrants. Fifteen were spotted by Susan Whiting, Bob Shriber, Hal Minis, Pat, Sally and Elaine Hughes along Lighthouse Road on May 24. Sherry Countryman had a huge flock at her house on May 28. Matthew Born found four along Clay Pit Road on May 29. And Laura Lennihan spotted a saltmarsh sparrow in the marsh alongside Mattakesset Bay on May 29.

Iceland gull — Lanny McDowell

Waterbirds and shorebirds are still hanging around. Bekkah Bond found a flock of 10 common eider at South Beach on May 23. Bob Shriber spotted a purple sandpiper and a harlequin duck on May 24 in Aquinnah. Stuart Santos observed three snowy egrets, three great egrets and two dunlin together in the salt marsh at the southern end of Sengekontacket Pond on May 25. Matthew Born saw two wood ducks and a green-winged teal at a pond on his property on May 26, the same day that Dana Bangs saw two northern gannets flying east past Wasque. On May 28, Wendy Johnson found a short-billed dowitcher at Felix Neck, I found one at Sheriff’s Meadow Sanctuary, and Michal Szymanski found a red knot near the big bridge on State Beach. At Little Beach, Luanne Johnson observed two ruddy turnstones on May 29 — the same day that Laura Lennihan spotted four black-bellied plovers, eight ruddy turnstones and 12 sanderlings on Norton Point Beach.

BiodiversityWorks conducted a survey of American woodcocks between April 20 and May 10, with 124 stops along 21 different routes; they counted 34 courting males. On May 21 Penny Uhlendorf and Scott Stephens observed wood ducks with ducklings at Blackwater/Hoft Farm and Dennis Main observed bank swallows nesting in the cliffs at Lucy Vincent. Jeff Bernier spotted them there on May 26. Sea Williams and Bridget Dunnigan photographed a northern flicker emerging from a nest cavity in the state forest on May 25. Rick Duarte has a family of six baby titmice in a nest box in his yard on May 27.

Ruddy turnstone — Lanny McDowell

The following 81 species were observed on Felix Neck’s annual Bird-a-Thon on May 13-14: Canada goose, mute swan, mallard, green-winged teal, wild turkey, mourning dove, chimney swift, ruby-throated hummingbird, American oystercatcher, black-bellied plover, killdeer, piping plover, ruddy turnstone, sanderling, dunlin, spotted sandpiper, willet, greater yellowlegs, herring gull, great black-backed gull, least tern, roseate tern, common tern, black skimmer, common loon, double-crested cormorant, great egret, snowy egret, black-crowned night-heron, turkey vulture, osprey, red-tailed hawk, barn owl, belted kingfisher, red-bellied woodpecker, downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, northern flicker, great crested flycatcher, eastern kingbird, eastern phoebe, blue-headed vireo, red-eyed vireo, blue jay, American crow, horned lark, bank swallow, tree swallow, barn swallow, black-capped chickadee, tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch, house wren, Carolina wren, eastern bluebird, American robin, gray catbird, northern mockingbird, European starling, house sparrow, house finch, American goldfinch, chipping sparrow, white-throated sparrow, Savannah sparrow, song sparrow, eastern towhee, Baltimore oriole, red-winged blackbird, brown-headed cowbird, common grackle, ovenbird, blue-winged warbler, black-and-white warbler, common yellowthroat, American redstart, northern parula, yellow warbler, pine warbler, prairie warbler and northern cardinal.

Eleven other species were observed by birders working on behalf of other MassAudubon sanctuaries: black duck, harlequin duck, long-tailed duck, surf scoter, red-breasted merganser, bobwhite, purple sandpiper, bank swallow, cliff swallow, palm warbler and field sparrow,

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Robert Culbert is an ecological consultant with Nature Watch LLC living in Vineyard Haven.