Plovers Abound, Stripers Are In: Katama Breach Boosts Ecology

The forces which punched a hole in Norton Point and opened Edgartown harbor to the Atlantic Ocean might present a headache for town officials, but from an ecological viewpoint, they have all the benefits of a big natural spring cleaning.

Vineyard Canada Geese

Tisbury Great Pond looked like a Japanese painting, flat calm with a fine mist hanging just over the surface. It was so quiet it was eerie. The silence was broken by the honking of a flock of Canada Geese. The birds rose up in a V-formation through the fog and headed directly towards my kitchen window, creating quite a din for such an early hour. At what seemed the last second, the flock sailed over the roof and headed towards Black Point Pond.

Sightings While Sailing

The Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), inland waterway, or the Ditch, as it is also known, is an incredible piece of water. It offers the boater, whether by sail, paddle, oars or motor, a fascinating peek into the history and natural history of the Eastern Seaboard. The ICW doesn’t officially start (mile marker number one) until Norfolk, Va., and ends in Key West, Fla. (mile marker 1241). However, many seamen believe it starts at Cape Ann and goes to Brownsville, Tex.

This Journey to Save the World Begins With a Dwindling Flock of Red Knots

W e had committed to spending the last week of May along the New Jersey side of Delaware Bay, on the beaches that stretch north from Cape May. One of my two partners in this project, Porter Turnbull, had set up our first meeting at a service stop far down the Garden State Parkway. Our discussion was with a longtime fisherman who has been an advocate for commercial horseshoe crab harvesters. The meeting outlined the complexities of balancing the interests of crab fishermen, shorebird researchers and the wildlife that served both.

Merlins, Falcon and Bald Eagle

I may have to change the name of this column to the raptor report. Great excitement on Chappaquiddick, first the Fowle family observed four merlins on August 14. Two were immature merlins. How did they know they were immature? One merlin was being fed by the adult female and the other was begging food and fluttering its wings. So the Chappaquiddick merlins fledged at least two birds!

Katama Snowy Owl

The internet is a great boon to birders. We can share our sightings daily, or if you are really intent, hourly. The net is also a way to keep birders honest.

Norton Point Shorebirds

Bird watching or birding, you may call it what you wish, is great hobby, occupation, form of relaxation, and more than anything else is an ongoing education. The learning experience involved in birding is one that has kept me hooked on watching, reading about, talking to others about, and surfing the net for information about birds for lo these many years.

Hurricane Earl

Hurricane Earl was a bust for bird watchers. A cast of thousands, all the Vineyard’s most active bird watchers, met at the Gay Head Cliffs on Saturday, Sept. 4 with high hopes. Although the winds were not much more than a northeaster, we were hopeful that some unusual bird species may have been carried to our Island from afar. No such luck. There were more bird watchers than birds.

Beetlebung birds

Beetlebung Corner is really the center of Chilmark. The library, the school, the community center, the town hall, two banks, a restaurant, a general store, a real estate office and the post office are all within a few steps. This is all well and good for humans. However, for the birds Beetlebung Farm, which provides fresh vegetables and flowers in the summer, is their main attraction. By now the vegetables have been harvested and most of the flowers gone. Luckily there are still a few hardy nasturtiums blooming and a very late visitor arrived on Nov. 2 to enjoy the nectar of these nasturtiums. Marie Scott and Suzie Bunker, both daughters of Ozzie and Rena Fischer, spotted the hummingbird and alerted their father and their brother, Bert.

Scientists Study Bird, Sea Life Before Turbines Go Offshore

Wind farms have long provoked a certain cognitive dissonance among environmentalists, who favor renewable energy but oppose the negative impacts of turbines, including bird strikes and habitat displacement. The effects of turbines on bird populations are fairly well understood after a decade of European experience but less is known about their impact underwater, especially on local species of whales and sea turtles.