Male and female grosbeaks with a male indigo bunting. — Lanny McDowell

May is arguably the most exciting time to be a Martha’s Vineyard birder. Songbird migration is beginning to hit its stride and one never knows what surprises a south wind might bring. Favorable winds this week carried a bounty of migrants, delighting birders Islandwide.

On May 1 Sioux Eagle spotted her first indigo bunting in West Tisbury. Lindsay Allision on Chappy and Sue Straight off South Road in Chilmark spotted individuals on May 2. Reports continue, with sightings by Susan Koerner in Edgartown, Betsy Burnett off Qunasoo, Timothy Rush at Coffin’s Field and Matthew Born in Aquinnah.

Baltimore oriole sightings were abundant, with 10 recorded occurrences. I saw my first at Cape Pogue Lighthouse on blustery May 2. Lindsay Allison spotted one at her Chappy home on May 6. Edgartown held an abundance of the species on May 3, with sightings by Heidi Lang, Moses Gazaille, Jeff Bernier, Timothy Rush, and Robert Green and Linda DeWitt. That same day, Whitney Moody and Sarah Mayhew watched two foraging in flowering apple trees. Kathy Landers also spotted one in Oak Bluffs on May 4.

Summer tanager. — Lanny McDowell

Vibrant male scarlet tanagers have been seen: one by Rob Bierregard and Dick Jennings at Squibnocket on May 2 and one by Oliver Valdes at Cape Pogue on May 5. The infrequently seen but arguably more colorful relative, the summer tanager, was spotted at a West Tisbury feeder by James Irwin on May 4.

Another arrival was the seldom-seen blue grossbeak. Albert Fischer had one perched in his garden and I saw one below the Cape Pogue Lighthouse, both on May 2. The blue grossbeak can be best identified by its cinnamon-colored wing bars. This species has been expanding its breeding range northward in recent decades. Birds have been recorded nesting as far north as New Jersey but it will likely only be a matter of time before they expand into Massachusetts. Be on the lookout for signs of breeding.

Wood thrush. — Lanny McDowell

The chatty and ubiquitous gray catbird has begun returning to the Island. Doyle Bunch saw his first of the year at Seth’s Pond on May 2; Carol Anne had one at her birdbath in Vineyard Haven on May 3; Timothy Rush spotted one in Edgartown on May 3; and Kathy Landers had one in Oak Bluffs on May 4.

There has also been a surprising incursion of thrushes. These species are well camouflaged in woodland environments and are often heard rather than seen. On May 1, I saw two Swainson’s thrushes and a gray-cheeked thrush at Wasque Reservation while a cooperative veery was seen by a local birder in the West Chop Woods. On May 5, Nancy Nordin had two veeries and a wood thrush in her yard. On May 6, Luanne Johnson reported two veeries, one at her home and one in the state forest, and Sea Williams saw a Swainson’s thrush in Aquinnah.

Also on May 6, the Martha’s Vineyard Bird Club walk at Wasque did not disappoint, producing a veery and 35 other species including a brown thrasher, wood duck, belted kingfisher and a singing field sparrow.

Ring-necked duck. — Lanny McDowell

Warblers and flycatchers continue to trickle in. Ken Magnuson spotted the first northern parula of the season on May 6 in Chilmark. An American redstart was seen by Rob Bierregard on May 2 at Round Pond, Ned Casey had an ovenbird near the Lagoon on May 3 and Margaret Curtin, Nancy Weaver and Luanne Johnson spotted the yellow-throated warbler off John Hoft Road on May 7.

Eastern kingbirds continue arriving. Jeff Bernier spotted one at the Farm Institute on May 5. Great-crested flycatchers were reported by Lucy Cassells at Felix Neck on May 3, Sea Williams in Aquinnah on May 6, and Margret Curtin, Nancy Weaver, Luanne Johnson and I on May 7 at Cranberry Acres.

Small raptors have taken to the skies. Nancy Nordin saw a sharp-shinned hawk cruising along Lake Tashmoo and I spotted an American kestrel being harassed by angry tree swallows at Wasque.

Least sandpiper. — Lanny McDowell

A common nighthawk was reported by a friend of Lisa Maxfield at Pecoy Point Preserve on May 6. Unfortunately, the bird appeared to be injured. Despite its name, this species is not a hawk but rather a type of nightjar. This crepuscular bird can most often be observed in the low light of dusk, catching insects in an almost bat-like fashion.

Two new species of swallow were reported this week. A purple martin was seen perched atop an Edgartown boathouse by Ned Casey on May 6 and I spotted a bank swallow on Cape Pogue on May 2.

This week brought two new species of tern for the season. I viewed a mixed flock of terns off Cape Pogue: it included several roseate terns and a single least tern. Common terns continue to arrive. Jeff Bernier photographed a pair engaging in their courtship display at Little Beach. Skimmers, common terns and least terns are regular breeders on our beaches and should be initiating nests very soon.

Purple Martin. — Lanny McDowell

Several winter waterfowl species have been reported lingering on local ponds. A bufflehead was seen by Jacob Llodra at Felix Neck on May 6, ring-necked ducks were reported by Rob Bierregard on Long Cove Pond and on May 4 a reluctant ruddy duck was reported by Lisa Maxfield being courted by an amorous male northern pintail on Brush Pond.

Other sightings include a white-crowned sparrow seen by Letitia Lussier in Aquinnah on May 2, a horned lark seen by Samuel Scarfone on May 3 at State Beach, a red-eyed vireo that I spotted on May 1 near Pocha Pond, a least sandpiper seen by Luanne Johnson on May 6 near Sengekontacket and an American bittern spotted flying out of Crackatuxet Cove, seen by Mike Ditchfield on May 2.

Ring-necked ducks. — Lanny McDowell

Patricia Ingalls had a northern bobwhite under her feeders on May 3. Lisa Maxfield spotted her first green heron at Brush Pond on May 4 and Kate Grillo saw an elusive yellow-billed cuckoo perched low in a tree in her Vineyard Haven yard on May 1.

Don’t forget to look out for our resident early nesters. I heard my first Carolina wren hatchlings of the season at Farm Pond on May 3; a sure sign spring as officially sprung.

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Shea Fee is the president of the Martha’s Vineyard Bird Club and a coastal ecologist with The Trustees of Reservations.