Bird observers are always excited for the peak of spring migration in May. However, it is still April not May — mid-April is considered a transition time for birds on Martha’s Vineyard. The wintering waterfowl numbers are dwindling and the songbirds are trickling in.

Let’s get started with some sightings.

Margaret Curtin and Nancy Weaver counted 17 osprey at the head of the Lagoon on April 7. The double-crested cormorants were herding the herring, and the osprey were taking advantage. Take a closer look at the double-crested cormorants and often you can make out the tufts of feathering on each side of the head.

On April 8, Allan Keith found a lesser black-backed gull at Norton’s Point. At Squibnocket, his highlights were a male northern shoveler, six Lesser Scaup, a female Hooded Merganser and four green-winged teal.

Brant at the water's edge. — Lanny McDowell

At Chilmark Pond he counted eight greater yellowlegs. Wrapping up the day he found a first of the season barn swallow.

Isabella Colucci had two white-throated sparrows at Polly Hill on April 8. White-throated Sparrows have begun to sing their beautiful song as they make their way north to their breeding grounds.

Also on April 8, Nancy Weaver was bicycling on Beach Road and found a long-tailed duck at the drawbridge. This bird was also seen by Matt Pelikan and Shelley Scheurer.

Chris Scott got out to Chappy on April 8 and photographed a horned lark. The same day Luanne Johnson was birding Cranberry Acres and had five wood ducks and 14 ring-necked ducks.

On April 9, Allan Keith had two female blue-winged teal on the small pond on his property. Chris Scott was out and about on the same day and had 16 tree swallows at Felix Neck. At Little Beach his highlight were 18 piping plovers.

Green heron. — Lanny McDowell

Nancy Weaver and Janet Woodcock joined me on April 9 to bird Aquinnah. Highlights were for yellow-bellied sapsuckers: one male, one female and two immatures, one field sparrow and 15 northern flickers.

Also on April 9, Jeff Bernier birded Little Beach and discovered a non breeding “gray” red knot on the beach.

Great egrets are starting to arrive and are being reported all over the Island. Years ago we would see snowy egrets and great egrets were quite uncommon. Now it is completely reversed. On April, 9 Lisa Maxfield had a great egret on Brush Pond. She has been reporting some terrific birds from this location all year.

On April 10, John Nelson had nine great egrets at Sengekontacket.

Brant are still hanging around in good numbers at Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs. Robert Culbert counted 35 on April 10.

Long tailed duck. — Lanny McDowell

On April 11, Wendy Culbert heard numerous pine warblers singing along Weaver Lane in Vineyard Haven. That same day, Lindsay Allison counted 15 Gannets off Wasque. She was hoping to see the thousands she saw last year at this time. She was a day early.

The next day on April 12 there was a tremendous flight of gannets along the beach off Moshup Trail. You could count 30 to 50 birds in your binoculars at once as they streamed by heading north. An estimated 1,500 birds passed by every half hour. That is a lot of birds. We have been wondering when this massive movement would take place. Their flight pattern goes by Cuttyhunk, past Aquinnah and out towards Nomans and Nantucket ad then Georges Bank. Norhern gannets breed off eastern Newfoundland and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Migration past the Vineyard peaks in mid April.

Lanny McDowell and Nancy Nordin were able to witness this spectacle later that day.

On April 13, Shea Fee experienced the gannet show at Cove Meadow preserve where she had at least 1,300. On the same day in Edgartown, Rosalynn Day reported the first rose-breasted grosbeak of the season in spectacular spring plumage. A gorgeous bird.

Ron Zentner had a great egret at Sunset Lake on April 13. Jeff Bernier was out and about in Katama and Crackatuxet on April 13. He had pipits and the first of the season green heron.

Gannets. — Lanny McDowell

Shea Fee on April 13 in West Tisbury found an early warbler migrant — the first of the season parula warbler. They will be arriving in full force by May but that is not for another two weeks at least. Keep reminding yourselves that it is still only April.

On Sunday April 14, Nancy Weaver, Janet Woodcock, Nancy Nordiin, Chris Scott and myself were out birding around Aquinnah. Gannets were diving for fish off the cliffs. A nice surprise was a peregrine falcon that flew right over our heads. Nancy Nordin also witnessed her first of the season barn swallow. After that we hit the woods off North Road and highlights were a yellow-bellied sapsucker, bluebirds and a pine warbler. Nancy went on to Great Rock Bight and found her first black and white warbler of the season.

On April 14, Isabella Colucci had a hairy woodpecker off Lambert’s Cove Road. On that same day, Jake Fitzpatrick had 15 Brant at Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs.

Shea Fee was at Wasque and her highlights were 500 Gannets, seven Red throated loons and a raven.

This time of year is an exciting time to get out to watch and listen for all the spring arrivals. Go to it!

More pictures. 

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