Spring is well underway, when many insectivores (birds that eat insects) arrive. And have they ever arrived. We have seen 20 of the 34 likely species of warblers and five of the six species of vireos that migrate through the Vineyard. There are many sightings this week because May 11 was the annual Felix Neck Birdathon, an annual fundraiser for Felix Neck. It was also the global big day birdathon.

Ten species of warblers nest here. Yellow warblers are perhaps the most common. Skip MacElhanon found the first one at Sheriff’s Meadow Sanctuary on May 6. By May 11, they were everywhere. There were 20 sightings across the Island — Lisa Maxfield noted that many were already gathering nesting materials.

Common yellowthroats are also abundant, with Sky Kardell seeing the first one on Cape Pogue on May 4 and there were 12 other sightings on or before May 11.

Pine warbler is a regular but uncommon over-wintering species that is more common during the nesting season. Sky Kardell spotted the first one at Mytoi on April 26, and this species has been seen 18 times so far in May. Nancy Nordin spotted the first black-and-white warblers at Great Rock Bight on April 14, and there have been 20 sightings across the Island since then, most of them in May.

Yellow jumped warbler. — Lanny McDowell

Prairie warblers are slightly less common, with 15 sightings so far in May. Sea Williams and Bridget Dunnigan spotted the first one in the eastern end of the state forest on May 3 and there have been about 15 sightings since then.

Northern parulas are slightly less common. Their first sighting was by Shea Fee at Runner Road in West Tisbury on April 13, and this species was found 12 times through May 12.

Blue-winged warblers have been another Aquinnah and Chilmark specialty, with only eight sightings, starting with Nancy Nordin finding one near Noman’s Watch on May 4. Waskosim’s Rock Reservation is the furthest east they have been spotted. Wendy Culbert and I spotted one there on May 11. American redstarts have been less common. Bob Shriber spotted the first two redstarts in Aquinnah on May 7 and there are only four other observations. Cynthia Bloomquist, Nancy Nordin and Thaw Malin spotted five of them at Great Rock Bight on May 12.

Sky Kardell spotted a yellow-throated warbler at Cove Meadow Preserve on April 20. Five observers ( Luanne Johnson, Nancy Weaver, Sea Williams, Bridget Dunnigan and Nancy Nordin) have each found one on John Hoft Road on May 9 and May 11. This species has been seen in this area every summer since 2019.

There have been five sightings of a black-throated green warbler this year, now apparently a transient species as it has not nested here for quite a while. Sky Kardell spotted the first one on Cape Pogue on April 28.

Blue gray gnatcatcher. — Lanny McDowell

There were nine more transient species observed and one is the Nashville warbler, which was the most frequently sighted. Nancy Nordin spotted one at Great Rock Bight on May 5, and there have been six additional sightings through May 12.

Lisa Maxfield spotted one black-throated blue warbler at Brush Pond on May 8 and there were three more sightings on May 10 and May 11. Sky Kardell saw a magnolia warbler at the Hoft Farm on May 9 and others observed this species three times through May 12.

Palm warblers have been located three times this month, with Cynthia Bloomquist finding the first one at Skiff avenue in West Tisbury on May 2. Four observers (Nancy Weaver, Bob Shriber, Nancy Nordin and Charles Morano) watched a bay-breasted warbler at Clay Pit Road on May 8. Bob Shriber spotted a northern waterthrush in Aquinnah on May 7, Sky Kardell watched a blackburnian warbler at the Hoft Farm on May 9, and Nancy Nordin located a blackpoll in Aquinnah on May 7.

The final warbler observed is the winter resident yellow-rumped warbler. They migrate north fairly early, and most of them have already departed for point north. Four sightings this week are of only one individual: Nancy Nordin at the Wakeman Center on May 10, me at Seth’s Pond on May 11 and another at the Oak Bluffs pumping station on May 12, and the trio of Bob Shriber, Nancy Nordin and Ken Magnuson in Aquinnah on May 11.

Five of the six species of vireos were also found this week. The most common vireo is the red-eyed vireo, first seen this year by Bob Shriber and Nancy Nordin in Aquinnah on May 7. Eighteen sightings followed in quick succession between May 8 and May 12.

Brown thrasher. — Lanny McDowell

Blue-headed vireos are slightly less common. There were five sightings in April, the first of which by Bob Shriber in Aquinnah on April 26. There have been 11 more sightings in May.

White-eyed vireos were reported three times in April, first by Shea Fee at Felix Neck on April 21. There have been four more sightings as of May 12.

There have been four sightings of a warbling vireo, with two seen by Sky Kardell on Cape Pogue on April 28 and three more sightings in May.

Yellow-throated vireos are not common, with only two sightings in May. the first was seen by Nancy Nordin at home on May 1.

A veery is a very elusive thrush with a notable song descending the scale. Nancy Nordin had one in her yard on May 9, the same day Lisa Maxfield found one at Brush Pond. The troika of Bob Shriber, Nancy Nordin and Ken Magnuson found on in Aquinnah on May 10.

Blue-gray gnatcatchers are very active and seldom stop moving. Bob Shriber found one in Aquinnah on May 2, I spotted one at the Wakeman Center on May 11 and Rich Couse found one at Fulling Mill Brook on May 12.

Northern rough-winged swallows are the final insectivore for this column. Bob Shriber located a flock of six in Aquinnah on May 8, Nancy Nordin watched two at Blackwater Preserve on May 10 and Margaret Curtin saw three at Waskosim’s Rock reservation on May 12.

And finally, there were a few brown thrasher sightings. Tim Rush had one at Coffins Field on May 5, Richard Price found one at Felix Neck on May 7 and Nancy Nordin saw one in her yard on May 9.

More pictures.

Please email your sightings to birds@vineyardgazette.com

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