Penny Uhlendorf and Scott Stephens had a ruby-throated hummingbird visit their feeder and greedily drink nectar on Nov. 10 and Nov. 11. Because hummers are difficult to identify at this time of the year, Lanny McDowell’s photographs confirmed that it was a young male ruby-throated hummingbird, not a western stray.

About eight years ago, an Allen’s hummingbird showed up at the same feeders. It survived for about two months until a deep freeze. Believe it or not, we had three hummers that January. The other two were ruby-throateds.

Common goldeneye — Lanny McDowell

Waterfowl migration is picking up speed. The southern end of Tisbury Great Pond was alive with birds on Nov. 14, so many that it took a while to count them and search for rarities. There were 470 greater scaup, 90 white-winged scoters and 23 mute swans closer to the Long Point shoreline. Fortunately, they were swimming placidly rather than diving frequently, so they were fairly easy to count.

I also found three American wigeon, five mallards, two black ducks, three buffleheads, three hooded mergansers, two red-breasted mergansers, three lesser black-backed gulls and an adult bald eagle being harassed by one of the 140 herring gulls. This was a treat: we do not see that many anymore.

Offshore, there were three red-throated loons and five common loons. At Quansoo Farm, there were two gadwalls and three golden plovers mixed in with 50 black-bellied plovers and six dunlin.

While red-breasted mergansers, common goldeneye and bufflehead are becoming more common, they are still well below their winter abundances. They will arrive well into December and maybe even January.

A new arrival for the season is a lone snow bunting that Ken Magnuson saw at the Edgartown Golf Club on Nov. 9 and Nov. 11. He has also seen a bald eagle, multiple screech owls and a blue-winged teal.

Razorbill — Lanny McDowell

Matt Pelikan and Molly Jacobson spotted two new-for-the-season species on Nov. 10. They saw an American bittern--a secretive marsh-dweller that is always a good find for the island--at West Basin and then two razorbills off Lobsterville Beach. Their other highlights include 20 harlequin ducks offshore of the Squibnocket Beach parking lot; a late red-eyed vireo and a late black-throated green warbler and a catbird at the water pipe in Aquinnah near the tribal hatchery; and a chipping sparrow that pulled out of a thicket at the Vanderhoop homestead.

Another lingering songbird is a blue-headed vireo seen by Scott Stephens on Nov. 6 at Pilot Hill. He also spotted two yellow-bellied sapsuckers there. Allan Keith and Susan Whiting spotted a lingering yellow-billed cuckoo near the lower parking lot at the Gay Head Cliffs on Nov. 9.

Red-winged blackbirds are also lingering at Felix Neck and the Oak Bluffs Pumping Station. Richard Price saw a flock of five at the former site on Nov. 13. Luanne Johnson spotted a flock of six at the latter site on Nov. 14.

Molly Jacobson spotted an American pipit--a transient songbird--at the Gay Head Cliffs on Nov. 10.

Greater yellowlegs seem to be lingering later than usual this fall. Molly Jacobson saw two at Crackatuxet Cove on Nov. 7, and single birds in Aquinnah and at Felix Neck on Nov. 10. Matt Pelikan spotted two near Bend in the Road Beach on Veteran’s Day, the same day I spotted two at Farm Pond. Patsy Donovan also spotted one there that day. On Nov. 17, Richard Price spotted two at Felix Neck, the same day I saw 17 roosting on the small island in Sengekontacket Pond near the Ocean Heights boat launch ramp. That is a lot of greater yellowlegs for November!

Semipalmated plover — Lanny McDowell

Also notable are two late semipalmated plovers spotted by Bob Shriber at Red Beach on Nov. 12, along with the more-expected three black-bellied plovers and three sanderling, And at Little Beach on Nov. 11, Patsy Donovan reports that two lingering American oystercatchers were still present.

Most double-crested cormorants are departing for southern climes, as evidenced by the 500 that Michael Born observed as they flew westward past Squibnocket on Nov. 11. For the past decafde or so, we have had a small number of this species wintering here.

Hawk sightings are not very plentiful this month. Lanny McDowell saw a Cooper’s hawk at Katama on Nov. 5. Ron Domurat saw a barn owl along Scrubby Neck Road on Nov. 7, but then added two more at the parking lot by West Tisbury Road. Matthew Born spotted the only peregrine falcon on Nov. 9 at the Gay Head Cliffs. Mary Jane Nevin observed a speedy sharp-shinned hawk near Menemsha on Nov. 11. Luanne Johnson watched a northern harrier along State Beach on Nov. 14.

Eagles have been seen more frequently. On Nov. 3, Lanny McDowell stopped at the Oak Bluffs Pumping Station and heard a raven’s hoarse croaking. Looking upward, he found the raven and then spotted a bald eagle. Tom Mayhew reports that there have been as many as three bald eagles soaring around the Lagoon recently. In addition to the two eagles mentioned above, I saw an almost-adult bald eagle flying over Town Cove on Nov. 11.

Snow bunting — Lanny McDowell

Has anyone noticed that eastern bluebirds, American robins and cedar waxwings often flock together? In the first week of November, robins and cedar waxwings raided the fruits of the crabapple tree in my yard, Matthew Born saw 10 eastern bluebirds at Clay Pit Road in Aquinnah on Nov. 13. That same day, Richard Price saw five bluebirds and two robins at Felix Neck. The next day, Margaret Curtin and her crew spotted 16 bluebirds, one robin, and 24 cedar waxwings at the state forest.

Finally, a flock of 10 dark-eyed juncos visited the feeders of Thaw Malin and Cynthia Bloomquist on Nov. 14.

More Bird Photos

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