The birding community was saddened to hear of the death of Julian Robinson. His photographs, poems and love of sharing them with young and old alike will be sorely missed. I hope Rob Bierregaard will name the next male osprey that he fits with a transmitter Julian.
Lanny McDowell went to East Chop to try to find the fish crows as they arrived on Island the evening of Feb. 17. He was able to hear and record the nasal call of the fish crow on his camera. On Feb. 20 Lanny photographed two glaucous gulls, one at Black Point in Chilmark and the other on the beach by the opening of the Lagoon in Tisbury.
Bert Fischer was trying to catch varmints that terrorize his henhouse when he inadvertently caught an American crow on Feb. 21. If you are on Facebook check out his photo of the crow, which shows what large bills American crows have. On Feb. 23 he spotted his first common grackle of the year at his Aquinnah feeder. He added that there were still 50 ruddy ducks on Squibnocket Pond that day.
Tim and Sheila Baird reported their first common grackle in their Edgartown yard the same day. The Bairds’ first red-winged blackbird arrived on Feb. 2!
Jeff Bernier has been busy with his camera as usual. He sent some great shots of long-tailed ducks he shot on Feb. 14 and surf scoters on Feb. 21, both off East Chop. Jeff’s great close-up photos of a red-necked grebe by Memorial Wharf in Edgartown gave Vineyard birders a chance to see this offshore visitor at close range. The grebe was still around as Lanny McDowell photographed it on Feb. 20.
Nat Woodruff sent a photo of a ring-billed gull taken on Feb. 20 that had an elastic band around the base of its bill. Who knows where it came from? It looks like the elastic bands the lobstermen use on lobster claws.
Matt Pelikan birded Wompesket on Feb. 18 and spotted several species, including a winter wren. Matt then photographed an Iceland gull on Feb. 20 that was working the Oak Bluffs waterfront.
Tara Whiting watched six American woodcocks displaying from the Quenames field in Chilmark on Feb. 22. The same day she heard her first red-winged blackbird at Black Point. On Feb. 26 she heard many red-wings singing, and then on Feb. 27 she had an unidentified owl fly over her head at Whiting Farm in West Tisbury. She said the wing span was about the size of a sharp-shinned hawk, but could get no other features.
The hawk that Linsey Lee thought was a merlin was confirmed as a Cooper’s hawk by the photograph she sent both Allan Keith and me. It was an amazing shot of the hawk shrouding the blue jay it had recently killed. The hawk took off with the jay in its talons to make a meal of it; only a few feathers remained.
Ken Magnuson sent a photo that he took on the Vineyard Golf Course on Feb. 23 that I identified as a merlin. Tim and Sheila Baird watched a merlin hunting at Katama on Feb. 1.
Jeff Bernier’s photo of a bufflehead taken on Feb. 24 showed an aspect of the head color many of us had never seen. With the sun at the right angle Jeff’s photo showed purple, pink and green iridescent. Thanks, Jeff.
Chris Murphy spotted yet another green pheasant on Old Country Road on Feb. 23. Tim Johnson sent a great shot of the underside of a gray ghost (male northern harrier) as it banked in front of the condos at Katama on Feb. 26.
Nat Woodruff sent a photo of a mystery yellow bird feeding on her suet on Feb. 26. The consensus is that it was a pine warbler. This is not uncommon behavior for this insect eating species.
Gerald Jims reported seeing the first of the year red-winged blackbirds at Farm Pond in Oak Bluffs on Feb. 26. Cathy Minkiewicz reports her first red-winged blackbirds arrived at her Indian Hill feeder on Feb. 29.
Matt Pelikan counted 240 greater scaup off Hines Point in the Lagoon in Tisbury on Feb. 27. On Feb. 29 he heard a brown creeper singing near the Wakeman Center in Tisbury.
Andrea Hartman reports that the tufted titmice at Quenames are singing hardily.
Mike Ditchfield counted six black-crowned night herons, a flock of cedar waxwings and also yellow-rumped warblers (myrtles) at the head of the Lagoon in Tisbury on Feb. 27.
Penny Uhlendorf was at Cedar Tree Neck the evening of Feb. 28 and had a blitz of birds. She heard a great horned owl calling from afar. American woodcocks were displaying near the parking lot and the frosting on the cake was a screech owl, which landed in a tree 20 feet from where she was standing.
Please report your bird sightings to the Martha’s Vineyard Bird Hotline at 508-645-2913 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Susan B. Whiting is the coauthor of Vineyard Birds and Vineyard Birds II. Her Web site is vineyardbirds2.com.