Yellow-billed cuckoo — Lanny McDowell

Mourning doves are seldom mentioned in this column because they are common. But they are unusually abundant at the end of their breeding season. Gus Ben David reports larger than usual numbers of them in his yard this week, and a couple of weeks ago there were at least 30 near the solar panels at the Tisbury Park and Ride.

Other sightings include one by Clifton Stone at Peaked Hill on Aug. 4, three by Steve Allen at Felix Neck on Aug. 4, three in Aquinnah by Bob Shriber and Matthew Born on Aug. 5, five by me at Cedar Tree Neck on Aug. 6, and three by Phil Edmundson at South Beach in West Tisbury on Aug. 7.

Gus Ben David also reports large numbers of catbirds in his yard. Bob Shriber and Matthew Born found 25 in Aquinnah on Aug. 5 and on Aug. 6 I spotted numerous catbirds calling across the property at Cedar Tree Neck, including at least two fledglings.

Barn swallows — Lanny McDowell

Screech owls have also been conspicuous. People who reported hearing screech owls this week include Lisa Maxfield on the hospital side of Brush Pond, Holly Mercier at her Edgartown home, Bob Morse in Dodgers Hole, Sioux Eagle on Panhandle Road, Parker Fyfe-Kiernan on Indian Hill Road, Matthew Born at Clay Pit Road in Aquinnah, an anonymous birder at Felix Neck, Suzanne Warren (location unknown), and an Aquinnah-based individual identified as griffin irradiatedsnakes in the Facebook group Martha’s Vineyard Bird Alert. Most of these sightings are of single birds, possibly fledglings attempting to secure territories for themselves.

Barn swallows are more abundant now, perhaps because they are gathering for their southward migration. They are either our nesting birds gathering into flocks or flocks from further north.

Shea Fee and Ian Davies found a flock of 30 barn swallows at Cove Meadow Preserve on Aug. 4, and a flock of 17 on Cape Pogue on Aug. 5 (with one bank swallow). Shea also spotted a flock of 16 at Little Neck on Aug. 3 while Bob Shriber and Matthew Born observed 15 in Aquinnah on Aug. 5. A flock of 10 was observed by Susan Whiting on Aug. 1 at Old Field Path in Chilmark, while Shea Fee spotted 10 at the Cape Poge Gut on Aug. 3.

Phil Edmundson saw seven along West Tisbury’s south shore and Shea Fee and Ian Davies found a flock of seven near Caleb’s Pond on Aug. 2. Pete Gilmore watched eight of them at Nat’s Farm on Aug. 7; four were found by Susan Whiting and Bob Shriber at Quansoo on Aug. 6; Adam Markham saw three on Aug. 6 on Moshup’s Trail; Harmon Hoff spotted two along Lambert’s Cove Road on Aug. 1; Shea Fee found two at Wasque on Aug. 7; and Walt Looney spotted two on Norton Point on Aug. 1.

Ruby throated hummingbird — Lanny McDowell

Not to be outdone are the ruby-throated hummingbirds. Walt Looney spotted one in an unusual location, at Norton Point Beach on Aug. 1. What would it find to eat out there? Susan Whiting spotted two near Old Fields Path on Aug. 2; Cynthia Bloomquist found five at her feeders at home on Aug. 3; Clifton Stone saw two at Peaked Hill on Aug. 3; and on Aug. 4, single birds were observed by Pete Gilmore at home, Steve Allen at Felix Neck, Clifton Stone at Peaked Hill, and Shea Fee and Ian Davies at Cove Meadow Preserve.

Flocks of black birds foreshadow the future. On Aug. 3, Phil Edmundson watched the first of the autumnal flocks of at least 70 common grackles fly through the woods at the southern end of Watcha Pond. That day Erin Ortega spotted eight grackles at Sepiessa Point.

Single Baltimore orioles are notable because they had not been observed for a while. Catherine Deese had one show up after a three-week absence while Holly Mercier saw one at her feeder after an absence of one week. Bob Shriber and Matthew Born also spotted one in Aquinnah on Aug. 5 while Shea Fee and Ian Davies saw one at Cove Meadow Preserve on Aug. 4. Rob Bierregaard and Susan Whiting observed five at Old Fields Path on August 1, along with one orchard oriole.

Surf scoter — Lanny McDowell

Seasonal migrants are continuing to show up this week. Four white-rumped sandpipers were reported on Cape Poge by Shea Fee. Maggie Wertheimer spotted two there on Aug. 6 and then two at Wasque on Aug. 7. Allan Keith reports that on Aug. 8 he had a single solitary sandpiper visiting the shoreline of a pond by his house. Shea Fee and Ian Davies also saw one on Aug. 2 near Caleb’s Pond.

There were two yellow-billed cuckoos heard this week. They are difficult to see: they perch motionless for long periods but their song is conspicuous. Susan Whiting heard one on Aug. 3 and 4 along Bluebarque Road in Chilmark, and Richard Couse heard one on Aug. 4 at the Edgartown end of the state forest.

Shea Fee and Ian Davies spotted two lesser black-backed gulls on Aug. 2 at Wasque, and on Aug. 6 Susan Whiting and Bob Shriber found three others at Quansoo Beach.

Horned lark — Lanny McDowell

Another “lesser” species — lesser yellowlegs — is also in the news. On Aug. 2 Warren Woessner visited Norton Point and spotted the usual shorebirds and one lesser yellowlegs. On Aug 5 Shea Fee and Ian Davies found three of them at Cape Pogue, while the next day at Little Neck 10 lesser yellowlegs were observed by Maggie Wertheimer, along with two horned larks.

And last: the shearwater show continues. On Aug. 3, Matthew Born spotted 150 Cory’s and 100 great shearwaters between Squibnocket and Nomans Island. On Aug. 5, Bob Shriber and Matthew Born saw four Wilson’s storm-petrels and 200 Cory’s, 75 great, and three Manx shearwaters off Aquinnah.

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