Alright, let’s go! Grab your binoculars. It is mid-August on Martha’s Vineyard, one of the best spots to watch birds on the entire east coast for fall migration. There are tons of birds around as they stage and bulk up with food for their trips to move south. Very exciting.

Shorebirds are leaving the tundra. Adults are first and the precocial young follow.

Common tern. — Lanny McDowell

We are beginning to see nice mixes of young and adults. The feathers on the adults are funky and worn whereas the young have beautiful fresh feathering. Astounding concentrations of terns are all over the Vineyard, up-Island and down-Island. There are great numbers at Norton Point in Katama, Wasque Point on Chappaquiddick, off the ponds on the south side and along the ocean and beaches right through to Aquinnah, Lobsterville and Menemsha. They are feeding, staging and following the bait fish.

Look them all over. Learn the common ones — the common, roseate and least terns in their various plumages, flying and sitting. It will then be easier to pick out an uncommon or rare one.

Many birders believe fall migration is the best time of year for birding. There is always a surprise. So many birds are migrating and are dependent on the weather. When the weather is unpredictable — you guessed it — the birds are unpredictable as well. You never know what you will find.

Pectoral sandpiper. — Lanny McDowell

We have been very lucky this year with a terrific shearwater show during the last few weeks. These birds are pelagic, usually out at sea, and to be able to view them from shore is a real treat. Good spots are the southwest side of the Island, Aquinnah, down to Squibnocket. The majority are great shearwaters but you will find Cory’s and an occasional manx or something more special among them.

It is always a good time to learn some fun identifying bird calls. I was birding in West Tisbury recently and came upon a nice flock of songbirds. A yellow-billed cuckoo began to call and came in to see what was up. Now, that is a call you can easily learn and is great fun to hear and then see the bird. So, whether you are a beginner or know a little bit more, get out there and add to the bird sightings.

Sarah Quadt and Sam Denenberg heard a chuck-will’s-widow in the early evening of August 11 on Bridle Path Road in Oak Bluffs. On August 12 they were out at Wasque and had good numbers of common, roseate and least terns.

Yellow-billed cuckoo. — Lanny McDowell

David Benvent has been reporting some terrific birds. He was out in Aquinnah very early on August 12, catching the morning flight. Highlights were two Cape May warblers, northern water thrush, chimney swift, an early bobolink and good numbers of red-winged blackbirds. Later in the day he kayaked out to Norton Point and saw an incredible estimated 3,500 roseate terns. Martha’s Vineyard has always been a great spot on the east coast for this species but this is quite remarkable.

On August 11 Matt Born was out in his boat off Squibnocket and saw 2,000 great shearwater, 40 Cory’s, four sooty shearwater and 200 Wilson’s storm-petrel. In his yard in Aquinnah he has had a brown thrasher all week as well as screech owls calling most nights. On August 12 he had two wood ducks in his pond.

Lanny McDowell, Soo Whiting and I were out on the flats at Tisbury Great Pond on August 11 and we saw a nice variety of birds. Highlights were six white-rumped sandpipers and four pectoral sandpipers; a nice variety of shorebirds that included lesser and greater yellowlegs, semipalmated and least sandpipers; red knot; ruddy turnstones; piping and semipalmated plovers; kildeer; black-bellied plovers; willets and oystercatchers. David Benvent went out to Tisbury Great Pond on August 12 and enjoyed a similar group.

Steven Allen and Shilo McDonald were at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary on August 9. A highlight was seeing a yellow-crowned night heron.

White-rumped sandpipers. — Lanny McDowell

On August 10 Art Nichols witnessed an accipiter chase a baby bunny under his deck in Vineyard Haven. Wild stuff! Also on August 10, Warren Woessner had a black-billed cuckoo in his yard.

A few birders got out on Thursday August 10 for the International Shorebird Survey. On Chappaquiddick Shea Fee saw oystercatchers; black-bellied, piping and semipalmated plovers; a whimbrel; ruddy turnstones; least and semipalmated sandpipers; short-billed dowitchers and a good number of willets. Matt Pelikan and Silas Beers were on Little Beach in Edgartown and saw 16 American oystercatchers; black-bellied, semipalmated and piping plovers; ruddy turnstones; sanderlings; and least and semipalmated sandpipers. Luanne Johnson was out at Dogfish Bar in Aquinnah and spotted oystercatchers; semipalmated and piping plovers; ruddy turnstones; sanderlings; least and semipalmated sandpipers; and a spotted sandpiper.

Phil Edmundson was birding in the Oyster Pond area on August 13 and had a highlight of two lesser black-backed gulls.

Red-bellied woodpecker. — Lanny McDowell

On Sunday, August 13. in between the pouring rain, thunder and lightning, I witnessed the shearwater show off Philbin Beach. In Aquinnah there is a dead tree between the Homestead and the lower parking lot that is a terrific perching spot for falcons in the fall, and it’s a favorite spot for a merlin to search for prey. On Sunday there was an American kestrel there.

The Martha’s Vineyard Bird Club held a walk at Black Point Pond on Monday, August 14. We started out slowly but finally we were able to find some excellent species that we had clear views of and easy identifications. Highlights included two stilt sandpipers, three pectoral sandpipers, one solitary sandpiper, 12 lesser yellowlegs and eight lesser black-backed gulls. Thanks to everyone for participating.

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Bob Shriber has been a lifelong birdwatcher on Martha’s Vineyard.