Snowy egret. — Lanny McDowell

We do not know where common ravens are nesting this year, as their only known nest site from previous years — the Verizon telephone tower in Vineyard Haven — is unoccupied. They should be on eggs by now but I did not find any ravens at all when I searched likely nest sites — cell phone towers and other tall man-made structures — on April 2.

There have been three clusters of raven sightings this winter: in Oak Bluffs from Felix Neck to Lagoon Pond, from the Gay Head Lighthouse area to Lobsterville, and at Wasque. On March 5 Jeff Peters spotted one at Brush Pond. There were three sightings on March 12: Michael Whittemore in the state forest north of Long Point, Shea Fee at Wasque and Nancy Nordin at the Aquinnah Circle. On March 14 Greg Palermo and Margaret Curtin saw a pair of ravens at the Edgartown cell phone tower, and I observed one flying over my Vineyard Haven house on March 18. On March 29 Bob Shriber observed one at Lobsterville being harassed by American crows. Finally, Gus Ben David reports that they regularly visit his yard near Felix Neck.

Eastern Phoebe — Lanny McDowell

Hermit thrushes are more common in winter than they are in the summer. John Goldthwait and Dana Bangs found one at Menemsha Hills on March 3. We had a spate of sightings on March 18: Margaret Curtin found two at Christiantown while Nancy Nordin saw one at the Oak Bluffs pumping station and another at Tashmoo Springs. On March 26 Luanne Johnson found one at Farm Pond Preserve.

American goldfinches have been relatively scarce this winter. During the 2022 Christmas Bird Count on Jan. 1, we only found 93, less than half the number we saw during the 2021 count, and only the fourth time since 1990 that we have seen fewer than 100 individuals.

Why? Good question! They are more prevalent now. Two birders — Tim Rush and Catherine Deese — report seeing them since November, but Holly Mercier reports seeing them for the first time on April 1. I see them at my feeders every couple of weeks; I saw two recently, on March 26. Lisa Maxfield spotted three at her Brush Pond feeders on March 29. On March 30 Sea Williams and Bridget Dunnigan found two at the Pennywise Preserve, Luanne Johnson saw five at her Oak Bluffs feeders, and Nancy Nordin saw two at her West Tisbury feeders. Cynthia Bloomquist and Thaw Malin had two visiting their feeders on March 31, and Heidi Lang saw one at her Edgartown feeder on April 1. Males are now starting to molt from their drab winter plumage into their bright yellow breeding garb.

American goldfinch. — Lanny McDowell

Winter resident yellow-rumped warblers are scarce, but have increased this week because of the influx of northward migrants. On March 26 Bob Shriber saw two yellow-rumped warblers on Chappaquiddick, and the next day Matt Pelikan found a migratory flock of 20 at Duarte’s Pond. Shea Fee spotted one on March 29 at Cape Pogue. Lisa Maxfield observed one “looking a bit scruffy” at Brush Pond on March 30. Three reports are from April 2: at the Hoft Farm, Rich Couse found one and Lisa Maxfield saw five, and Nancy Nordin and Lisa Maxfield visited the Oak Bluffs pumping station and observed six.

Pine warblers are also starting their spring arrival, although some have been here through the winter. Luanne Johnson saw one at her feeders on March 29, Nancy Nordin found one at her feeders on March 30, and Thaw Malin and Cynthia Bloomquist had two visiting their feeders on March 31. Another pine warbler was found by Rich Couse at the Hoft Farm on April 2. Penny Uhlendorf and Scott Stephens saw their first pine warbler of the season on March 27 at their suet feeder and it has been visiting daily since then. They also heard at least two pine warblers in the Phillips Preserve on April 2.

Brown-headed cowbirds. — Lanny McDowell

The first brown-headed cowbirds of the season have arrived. They were seen by Holly Mercier at her Edgartown feeders during the last few days of March; by Bob Shriber on Chappaquiddick on March 26; and by Bob Shriber and Nancy Nordin at the Gay Head Cliffs on March 27. Shea Fee saw four on March 27 at Wasque. Cynthia Bloomquist found four on March 29 at the Katama Airpark. Thaw Malin had one on March 31 at his feeders and Rich Couse observed one on April 2 at the Hoft Farm. Matt Born saw six on April 3 along Clay Pit Road in Aquinnah.

Phoebes attempted to overwinter at Felix Neck, the Hoft Farm and along Red Gate Farm Road in Aquinnah. More recently, Shea Fee spotted one at Wasque on March 26 and another on March 31, also at Wasque. And Rich Couse and Nancy Nordin observed two of them on April 2 at the Hoft Farm.

Matt Pelikan found his first tree swallows of the year at Duarte’s Pond Preserve on March 27. Mike Zoll spotted a flock of them at Duarte’s Pond on March 30. And on April 2 Penny Uhlendorf and Scott Stephens found their first three tree swallows of the season as they flew above the meadow at Pilot Hill Farm, chittering away!

The first snowy egrets have returned. There have been two at Brush Pond since March 28, as reported by Lisa Maxfield.

Tree swallow. — Lanny McDowell

In the miscellaneous sightings department: Matt Pelikan heard a winter wren singing on March 27 at Duarte’s Pond; Mike Lang spotted a kestrel along Lake street in Vineyard Haven on April 29; and Matt Born found a Virginia rail on April 2 alongside Squibnocket Road.

Last but not least, northern gannets are still putting on a show along the south shore; Tim Johnson noted the large numbers on April 3 from Katama. And the next day my Edgartown School second grade class got to see large numbers of them fishing well offshore from Wasque; we were there on a Trustees of Reservations science program about erosion.

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