Finally! The first ruby-throated hummingbird of the season arrived at 3 p.m. on April 22 at the feeder of Robert Green and Linda DeWitt at Green Acres on Watcha Path in Edgartown. I received no other reports of other hummingbird arrivals but note that April 23 brought strong easterly winds that inhibit the migration of small birds to the Island.

Late April and May is the peak of the northward migration; the blitz of arrivals has started.

The most interesting arrivals are the five red crossbills seen by Nancy Nordin in her yard on April 11. They stayed just long enough to be identified before they flew away. They are one of the irruptive winter finches that migrated south this past winter; now they are heading back north to their breeding grounds.

Male rose-breasted grosbeak. — Lanny McDowell

Rose-breasted grosbeaks have also arrived. On April 17 Lindsay Allison saw a male at Snow’s Point on Chappaquiddick. The next day Penny Uhlendorf and Scott Stephens spotted a female grosbeak on their platform feeder. It stayed around for several days, eating the black oil sunflower seeds. Ed Grazda observed a male in his Chilmark yard from April 19 through 21. And Irene Ziebarth found one on Tennis Lane in Chilmark on April 22 and it was still present on April 24.

On April 19 Ken Magnuson watched a single purple martin fly past the Edgartown Golf Club, the same day that Nancy Nordin spotted two martins flying over Lake Tashmoo.

David Stanwood sighted a tern sitting on log floating in Vineyard Sound on April 15 but he could not identify it before it disappeared into the fog and wasn’t seen again. One week later the April 22 Martha’s Vineyard Bird Club field trip to Sheriff’s Meadow Sanctuary first saw five black skimmers in the distance as they perched on Little Beach; then the skimmers took off and showed us their characteristic feeding by dragging their lower beaks through the water.

Red crossbill. — Lanny McDowell

The other new arrivals the Bird Club saw were two northern parulas, a warbler also seen by Margaret Curtin on April 22 at Waskosim’s Rock. The Bird Club also found one blue-gray gnatcatcher, five ruby-crowned kinglets, three pine warblers, 15 yellow-rumped warblers, four chipping sparrows, one barn swallow, one killdeer and one swamp sparrow. The next day Ken and Kelly Magnuson observed eight skimmers on Little Beach.

Samuel Scarfone spotted a flock of 18 ruddy turnstones at Norton Point Beach on April 22. There also were six piping plovers, six sanderlings and six dunlin. Two northern gannets were over the ocean.

Nancy Nordin spotted two laughing gulls on April 15 at the Gay Head Cliffs. This species was last reported by Isaiah Freedman in Menemsha Harbor on December 17.

Tony Lima saw the first yellow warbler of the year at Farm Pond on April 22 and Catherine Deese watched her first yellow warbler as it visited her suet feeders on April 23.

On April 23 Ken Magnuson observed the first green heron of the year at the Edgartown Golf Club .

Green heron. — Lanny McDowell

The last new arrival of the year is a female purple finch on April 17, spotted by Penny Uhlendorf and Scott Stephens on that day only. They also have two chipping sparrows that have been coming daily since April 18. Other chipping sparrow sightings include Olsen Houghton with one on April 17 at Wilfred’s Pond and another on April 20 at Mink Meadows, Nancy Nordin saw one on April 20 at her feeders, and there were recent sightings by Catherine Deese, Connie Alexander and Albert Fischer. On April 22 there were two sets of sightings: one by Samuel Scarfone at Felix Neck and two by Bridget Dunnigan and Sea Williams at Beth’s Way in Oak Bluffs.

Other sparrows seen this week include one field sparrow observed by Bridget Dunnigan and Sea Williams on April 22 at the disc golf course in the state forest, two Ipswich sparrows spotted by Nancy Nordin on April 20 at Katama Farm, and multiple reports of savannah sparrows. David Padulo found three savannah sparrows on April 20 at Long Point while Nancy Nordin observed two at Long Point the next day.

My prediction last week that dark-eyed juncos will soon disappear for points north has already proved true. Tim Rush had a flock of 20 or so juncos every day since November, but he has not seen any since April 16. Matt Pelikan’s juncos also disappeared from his yard the same day. Bill Jones’s juncos left his feeders on April 20.

However, some juncos are still around: Kristina Ivory reports them from her feeders in Dodger’s Hole on April 20, as does Nancy Nordin, while Penny Uhlendorf and Scott Stephens still have a lingering couple as of April 22.

Randy Rynd had a female wood duck visiting her yard in early April. She is happy to report that a male joined the female on April 8, and both stayed around for a couple of days. David Padulo spotted an American kestrel on April 19 at the Katama Airpark.

Female rose-breasted grosbeak. — Lanny McDowell

Here is our first report of baby birds for the year. On April 22 Larry Schubert spotted a woodcock hen leading her four downy chicks across a driveway off Lighthouse Road in Aquinnah. It takes woodcock eggs about three weeks to hatch, so the hen must have started to lay the eggs in late March.

I ask that everybody keep their eyes out for small buteos. These hawks are noticeably smaller than our red-tailed hawks. I too briefly saw an unidentified small buteo at the Oak Bluffs pumping station on April 17. The most likely two species are red-shouldered hawk or a broad-winged hawk; both have a tail that is banded with black and white stripes. Both species are unusual sightings on the Island although both are widespread on the Cape in the summer.

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