American oystercatcher — Lanny McDowell

Once again, the west arm of the Lagoon Pond comes through. For the past few years the first American oystercatchers of the season showed up on Ferryboat Island. Vasha Brunelle spotted one there on March 8 and Anne Culbert and I spotted a pair there on March 12. Because they arrived so early, this pair is likely older and more experienced than the later arrivals; they likely will nest earlier and are more likely to nest successfully. The arrival of the oystercatchers is a great sign of the coming (eventually) spring.

Vasha Brunelle also spotted the first osprey sighting of the year on March 6, as reported in last week’s column. As far as I have heard, I am the only other person to see an osprey so far this year; it was carrying a fish as it flew toward the south shore from Edgartown-West Tisbury Road near the airport on March 10.

Razorbills — Lanny McDowell

Killdeer are moving northward. Lisa Maxfield reports that the Merlin phone app identified the voice of a killdeer on March 8 and sure enough she found one visiting Brush Pond shortly afterwards. Gus Ben David had one in his yard on March 11 and John Nelson spotted 14 at Herring Creek Farm on March 14. A Cooper’s hawk flying by caused them to fly up into the air and made them easier to count. It is amazing how well these shorebirds blend in with their short-grass habitats.

Seabirds are also starting their push northward. On March 10, Audy Peoples was 20 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and saw a dovekie, two thick-billed murres, four razorbills, three Atlantic puffins, two Bonaparte’s gull and two northern gannets. Closer to home, Bob Shriber saw 15 razorbills and one dovekie off the Gay Head Cliffs, as well as harlequin ducks, common eiders, surf scoters, black scoters, long-tailed ducks and black and surf scoters — all on March 11. And I saw 9 razorbills and 17 long-tailed ducks on March 13 off the East Chop bluffs. They will be departing from our shores in the not-too-distant future.

Red-breasted mergansers — Lanny McDowell

Crystal Lake has been a great place for ducks this winter and so it still is. On March 13 I found the following species: mallard, black duck, northern shoveler, gadwall, American wigeon, ring-necked duck, greater scaup, bufflehead, hooded merganser and red-breasted merganser. Most of the ducks were on the northern third of the lake. Gus Ben David had a pair of ring-necked ducks and a male wood duck show up in his ponds on March 12. Allan Keith reports a pair of northern shovelers on one of his ponds on March 9. He saw green-winged teal, a common goldeneye and hooded mergansers there on March 12 and 13. Black ducks are numerous in Sengekontacket Pond; John Nelson counted 196 during a lowish tide on March 11. Speaking of large numbers of ducks, Luanne Johnson spotted a flock of 84 ring-necked ducks at the Wakeman Center on March 14.

Gus Ben David reports that he has a bald eagle visiting his property every other day or so, while a pair of ravens visits every day. Betsi Luce saw the bald eagle at the Oak Bluffs pumping station on March 11.

Snow bunting — Lanny McDowell

The latest person to report unheard-of behavior from robins is Gus Ben David. He saw them feeding at his suet feeder; others have also observed this behavior in the past few weeks. Allan Keith reports that his flock of chipping sparrows visiting his feeders increased from about 10 to at least 22 as of March 14. Lisa Maxfield reports a dozen yellow-rumped warbler at her feeders on March 10. Seeing that many of these overwintering warblers used to be normal. On March 10, Bob Shriber reports both tree and Savannah sparrows at Oxcart Path in Aquinnah. On the previous day, he also spotted a red-necked grebe and a greater yellowlegs in Aquinnah.

Nancy Weaver observed a hermit thrush at Crow Hollow on March 12. A red-breasted nuthatch and the fox sparrow are still hanging around in Luanne Johnson’s yard as of March 8. She also saw a screech owl nearby her house on March 10.

Jerry Twomey is excited to report that on March 6 a pair of screech owls moved into a nesting box together. He gets a front row seat of this pair that nests in one of his boxes every year.

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