During this week’s peak migration a number of new species for the year were reported. We had ideal weather for migration, with southwesterly winds from May 11 through 13. A lot of us went birding because it was Felix Neck’s annual Bird-a-Thon.

Two cattle egrets were seen this week. On May 7 John Nelson spotted one at Katama Farm and Tim Johnson saw it on May 8. TJ Hegarty saw another along Menemsha Channel on May 10.

Cattle egret. — Lanny McDowell

A least flycatcher was found by Nancy Nordin on May 13 near Noman’s Watch Road in Aquinnah. Another small flycatcher, the eastern wood-pewee, was observed by Shea Fee at Wasque on May 12, Luanne Johnson and Jeff Peters at Great Rock Bight on May 13, by Bob Shriber and Nancy Nordin at Great Rock Bight on May 14, and by Jeff Peters near Paint Mill Brook in Chilmark on May 13 and Waskosim’s Rock Reservation on May 14.

The larger great crested flycatcher arrived in large numbers this week. On May 6 Randy Rynd heard the first one at Thimble Farm; on May 8 Matt Pelikan heard and saw one at his Oak Bluffs home; and the next day Holly Mercier saw one at her Edgartown house.

On May 13 they were seen by 15 observers: Bob Shriber in Aquinnah, Heidi Macy near Lake Tashmoo, Kira Shepherd on John Hoft Road, Cynthia Bloomquist and Thaw Malin at their West Tisbury home, Walt Looney at Cedar Tree Neck, Heidi Lang in Edgartown, Sam Scarfone found four at Felix Neck, Sea Williams and Bridget Dunnigan observed four at Great Rock Bight, Pamela Bromberg found two near Menemsha Hills, Pete Jacobson and Brian Vigorito at Felix Neck, and I saw two at the state forest headquarters. On May 14 Heidi Macy saw two near Lake Tashmoo and Jeff Peters found one at Waskosim’s Rock Reservation.

Luanne Johnson, Jeff Peters, Shea Fee, Lanny McDowell, Dick Johnson, Wendy Culbert and I visited Dike Road on Chappaquiddick at dusk on May 12 to hear the chuck-wills-widow that is so reliable by mid-May. All of us also heard a whip-poor-will there, which was convenient since their chants are somewhat similar. At the opposite end of the Island, Nancy Nordin and others heard a whip-poor-will calling in Aquinnah that same night.

Bay-breasted warbler — Lanny McDowell

We finally found some transient warblers that do not spend their summers or winters here. Shea Fee watched two bay-breasted warblers at Wasque on May 12. Sam Scarfone spotted a Nashville warbler at Felix Neck on the morning of May 13 and again that afternoon. Luanne Johnson and Jeff Peters found a blackburnian warbler at Great Rock Bight on May 13. A cerulean warbler was observed by Sea Williams and Bridget Dunnigan on May 13 at Great Rock Bight.

Blackpoll warblers were seen at both ends of the Island: on May 12 Shea Fee found one at Wasque and the next day Nancy Nordin observed one near Noman’s Watch Road in Aquinnah. Jeff Peters found a bay-breasted warbler at Waskosim’s Rock Reservation on May 14.

The following summer resident warblers were first reported in last week’s column: northern parula, American restart, ovenbird and yellow-throated. Yellow warblers and pine warblers were first reported in April, while yellow-rumped warblers stay through the winter but are still lingering. More reports of these species — too numerous to mention them all here — arrived this past week.

Other resident warblers were first seen this week. The following birders found blue-winged warblers at Great Rock Bight: Nancy Nordin on May 8, Sarah Mayhew and Ruth Richards on May 9, Jeff Peters on May 11, and by Luanne Johnson and Jeff Peters on May 13. Black-and-white warblers were observed on May 7 by Nancy Nordin at Great Rock Bight, and on May 13 by Jeff Peters off North Road in Chilmark, Luanne Johnson and Jeff Peters at Great Rock Bight, Pamela Bromberg near Menemsha Hills, and Sea Williams and Bridget Dunnigan at Great Rock Bight.

Lesser yellowlegs. — Lanny McDowell

Prairie warblers went from absent to super numerous this week: there were 20 sightings across the Island. The first were on May 9: Matt Born along Clay Pit Road in Aquinnah, Ruth Richards and Sarah Mayhew at Great Rock Bight, and Bridget Dunnigan and Sea Williams in the state forest.

A similar influx of common yellowthroats also occurred this week, with 28 sightings Islandwide. Randy Rynd reports the first yellowthroat sighting on May 5 at Thimble Farm. On May 6 there were three others reported: Jacob Llodra at Felix Neck, Luanne Johnson in her Oak Bluffs yard and Bob Shriber at the Gay Head Cliffs.

Sightings of red-eyed vireos have increased rapidly, with 17 this week. Interestingly, there is only one report from Edgartown and one from Vineyard Haven; the others are from up-Island.

Shorebird migration is also peaking. I walked about halfway out Norton Point on May 13 and found a bonanza of shorebirds on the tidal flats at low tide. Most notable was a single American golden plover — easier to distinguish from black-bellied plovers now than in the fall because of its much-darker, near-breeding plumage — as well as eight oystercatchers, 16 black-bellied plovers, one piping plovers, 35 ruddy turnstones, three sanderlings, 95 dunlins, two least sandpipers, two semipalmated sandpipers, one greater yellowlegs, seven willets, one lesser yellowlegs, gulls (five ring-billed, 18 herring and three great black-backed) and three species of terns (20 least, one roseate, and 30 common). From the ocean side of the beach there was a common loon, a black scoter and five northern gannets.

Near the Big Bridge on May 13, Sea Williams and Bridget Dunnigan observed four American oystercatchers, twelve ruddy turnstones, 15 sanderling, three dunlin, one semipalmated sandpiper and two willet. From Bluefish Point on Katama Bay they saw four American oystercatchers, 30 black-bellied plovers, 20 ruddy turnstones, 150 dunlin, three willeta and two laughing gulls.

Common raven — Lanny McDowell

On May 10 Warren Gossen observed common ravens nesting on the side of the water tower next to the Park and Ride lot in Vineyard Haven, with four fully-grown youngsters in the nest. That evening Sarah Delaney, Wendy Culbert and I went there and saw that one of the young had made it from the nest up to the top of the water tower. Two days later all the young had fledged, as reported by Nancy Nordin, Ebba Hierta and Patsy Donovan.

Ravens have also been seen recently in Aquinnah and Wasque; are they nesting there also?

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Please email your sightings to birds@vineyardgazette.com.

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