From the Oct. 20, 1950 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:

The birds are now making autumnal sounds in the early mornings, but of course they are not the same birds that sang in spring and summer. It is generally the song sparrows and redwings that start up a new spring in earnest, and as summer comes they are followed by catbirds, orioles, robins, and the rest. Waking in any Island bedroom, a person can tell by ear alone how far along the months have moved, and how much growth or decline there is in the going season.

Now, of course, it is decline, though the process is slow, mellow and pleasurable. Soon after sunrise there is some distant noise from the shore birds — a restless quawk just back to roost, gulls with their shrillness that has a cousinship to the shrillness of the wind, and other sea cries from so far away that only an expert could identify the source. One hears the sea and shore birds at other times of year, but their accompaniment of autumn is peculiarly characteristic.

Then there is the flicker. On a sunny October morning one hears the peculiar whicker as the bird asserts his seasonal claim on the neighborhood. The sound can be lonesome, but as long as the warmth of fall lasts, it can be companionable. Most of the drilling of shingled roofs with a noise like riveting will come somewhat later in the calendar. For the present, the flicker’s chosen business may well be with ants in the front or back yard. He settles in the grass and probes with his bill and when he is through he will whicker up into the trees or to the rooftops again.

One may hear the bluejays, of course, but their stridency is marked down on the natural calendar for winter. The chickadee and bluejay will be with us on cold January and February mornings, those chilly times when starlings sit on telephone wires and whistle. As early as this you don’t notice them much; they don’t mark off the arrival of October.

Crows, however, supply the daily punctuation marks from now on. Already the emptiness around and about is sufficient for their morning caws to be heard with proper emphasis, and as weeks pass the emphasis will become slowly stronger until finally the whole story of the cold mornings will be proclaimed in this terse but articulate language.

Cuttyhunk took a momentous step on Monday when it voted to build an airport. The meeting was attended not only by Cuttyhunk residents but by state and county officials and by Crocker Snow, state director of aviation.

Steve Gentle flew over from his Edgartown field to be present. He reports that the field is to have a 1,500 foot landing strip, surrounded by a fence, and will be built between the town proper and the Coast Guard station. Federal, state, and county funds will be expended.

Mr. Gentle was impressed by the fiery nature of the meeting at which voters got up to speak their pieces in an uninhibited way far different from that now current in the larger towns of the Vineyard. He was told, though, that this was quite a mild meeting.

Mr. Gentle says that the new airport should open up a new era for Cuttyhunk, so far as air travel goes, since only seaplanes have been able to serve it, and then at the risk of getting mixed up with the boats in the harbor or landing on the roads on the island.

Here we go again!

Now that the bass derby is over, local fishing enthusiasts have banded together to sponsor a pollock contest, since that breed of fish is now rampaging through local waters. In fact, the contest is already well under way, and the first-week leaders can be announced.

Howard Leonard of Oak Bluffs is the central force behind the derby.

“A group of us fellows just got together,” he says, “and I guess I’m kind of handling it.”

There is a 50 cent fee for participation, Mr. Leonard added, explaining that the entire sum will go toward the purchase of appropriate prizes, which will be awarded in the form of merchandise. At the end of the competition, three grand prizes will be given, in addition to one weekly prize.

Plans call for a contest lasting six weeks, with the closing day set for Nov. 25. Leaders thus far are Eddie de Bettencourt of Oak Bluffs, with a 12 pound, 4 ounce pollock; Frank Buell of Chilmark, whose catch weighed 11 pound, 9 ounces; and Alma Maciel of Oak Bluffs, whose entry was a 10 pound 9 ounce fish.

Mr. Leonard said that rod and reel would be the only acceptable equipment. Participants may register at the Community Market, Chilmark; at the Edgartown Hardware Store; or at Leonard’s, Oak Bluffs.

The pollock are a fine sight in Menemsha harbor, Mr. Leonard said, where huge numbers of them jump continuously from the water to the pleasure of numerous anglers and bystanders. He admitted, however, that the recent derby might have tired a good many people, and advised that “you’d better call this a contest, not a derby, just to keep it straight.”

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox