Black-throated blue warbler — Lanny McDowell

This could be a column just about the interesting birds — I will not mention chickadees, Carolina wrens, or other really common species — seen in Aquinnah this week. At the western end of the island, Aquinnah offers the last piece of land before the birds have to fly over the water, perhaps to Cuttyhunk, New Bedford, Fall River, Block Island, New York, or New Jersey. But there is more to the Island and birds have been seen elsewhere.

The week started off a bit slowly. Charles Morano found three American kestrels, one peregrine falcon and one blackpoll warbler at Philbin Beach on Oct. 4. Chris Schmandt spotted a whimbrel at Zach’s Cliffs on Oct. 7.

Also on Oct. 7, the quartet of Bob Shriber, Susan Whiting, Pete Gilmore and Lanny McDowell found three purple finches, three bobolinks, one blackpoll warbler, three palm warblers, a yellow-rumped warbler, a rose-breasted grosbeak and a dickcissel at the Gay Head Cliffs and both a white-eyed vireo and a blue-headed vireo at Oxcart Road. Chris Rimmer saw a Wilson’s snipe in the middle of the grassy Aquinnah Circle.

Rose-breasted grosbeak — Lanny McDowell

Migration gained some intensity on Oct. 8. Richard Couse found two American pipits, a new species for the season. He saw all three falcons — two kestrels, a merlin and a peregrine falcon — and two species of accipiter — four sharp-shinned hawks and three Coopers hawks — plus a phoebe, two common ravens, a golden-crowned kinglet, a dark-eyed junco, a pine warbler, two yellow-rumped warblers and a dickcissel.

Susan Whiting and Bob Shriber found a Nelson’s sparrow, a species seldom seen on-Island, and the first of the season white-crowned sparrows. They also spotted two bobolinks, four indigo buntings, a phoebe, two blue-headed vireos, eight dark-eyed juncos, one golden-crowned kinglet and an American redstart. Luanne Johnson and Nancy Nordin added two killdeer, four white-crowned sparrow and three savannah sparrows, while Chris Rimmer added a ruby-kinglet, one white-crowned sparrow and one swamp sparrow.

Nelson's sparrow — Lanny McDowell

Cynthia Bloomquist and Thaw Malin visited the Gay Head Cliffs on Oct. 9 and found three sharp-shinned hawks, three Cooper’s hawks, one merlin, two common ravens, one brown creeper, one cedar waxwing, two dark-eyed juncos, one white-throated sparrow, one blackpoll warbler and two pine warblers. Susan Whiting and Bob Shriber found a clay-colored sparrow, two dark-eyed juncos, four yellow-rumped warblers and one indigo bunting.

On Oct. 10 I visited and found 47 species. It was one of the more productive two-hour periods of birding I have had on the Island, although the birds were scattered and tended to hide in the thickets. The best bird was a western kingbird, first spotted by Bob Shriber as it flew in front of his car. I later found two yellow-bellied sapsuckers, one red-eyed vireo, two tree swallows, four white-crowned sparrows, one bobolink, one Baltimore oriole, one palm warbler and one dickcissel.

Golden-crowned kinglet — Lanny McDowell

On the ocean there was one sooty shearwater and several more-distant shearwaters as well as all three scoters (white-winged, surf and black), one common eider, one common loon and one lesser black-backed gull. Bob Shriber also spotted two purple finches, one white-eyed vireo, one blue-headed vireo, one ruby-crowned kinglet, one common yellowthroat and one indigo bunting.

The vicinity of the Gay Head Cliffs is a great spot to find birds, though it is best to go before the sun gets too high in the sky.

Shea Fee has done a lot of birding at the opposite end of the Island, on Chappaquiddick — particularly at Wasque. On Oct. 5 she observed one late barn swallow being pursued by a peregrine falcon and one prairie warbler. Two days later she added one warbling vireo, two blue-headed vireos, one raven, one ruby-crowned kinglet, one dark-eyed junco and one white-crowned sparrow.

Philadelphia vireo — Lanny McDowell

On Oct. 8, Shea was again at Wasque and spotted a sharp-shinned in a kettle of eight cooper’s hawks, one winter wren, one scarlet tanager, one field sparrow, one Baltimore oriole, one blackpoll warbler and one pine warbler. On Oct. 9, she added one Nashville warbler, 175 tree swallows, 10 golden-crowned kinglets and one redstart, again at Wasque.

Susan Whiting and Bob Shriber visited Squibnocket on Oct. 9 and found 10 great cormorant, a Philadelphia vireo, one eastern wood-pewee, two phoebes, two blue headed vireos, 10 ruby-crowned and nine golden-crowned kinglets and seven species of warblers: Wilson’s (a first for the year), Cape May, northern parula, magnolia, blackpoll, black-throated blue and yellow-rumped.

Chris Rimmer spotted a kestrel at Seven Gates on Oct. 4. Sea Williams and Bridget Dunnigan spotted one in the state forest on Oct. 5 and Chris Rimmer spotted two on Oct. 6 at Menemsha Hills. On Oct. 8 Roger Cook found one at Squibnocket and Jessica Shafer spotted one on East Pasture Lane in Aqunnah.

Nashville warbler — Lanny McDowell

Mary Lombardi reports finding an osprey at Brush Pond on Oct. 3 while on Oct. 5 Chris Rimmer spotted one at Tisbury Water Works and another at Seven Gates. Olsen Houghton heard two great horned owls calling at Lake Tashmoo on Oct. 8.

On the waterbird front, Chris Rimmer found a black skimmer at Sarson’s Island on Oct. 5. At Long Point he spotted a remarkable 47 lesser black-backed gulls on Oct. 7. Shea Fee visited Norton Point on Oct. 7 and reported two piping plovers. On Oct. 8 Richard Couse spotted a large flock of 18 wood ducks that were also spotted by Bridget Dunnigan and Sea Williams. And on Oct. 9, Jeff Bernier saw an American golden plover in a flock of black-bellied plovers at Little Beach.

Lanny McDowell saw an immature white-crowned sparrow at his Vineyard Haven home on Oct. 5. The next day he reported that eastern phoebes were moving through the Oak Bluffs pumping station. On Oct. 7 Chris Rimmer spotted a black-throated blue warbler at Long Point and a Philadelphia vireo at Seven Gates. Also that day Charles Morano found three eastern meadowlarks and three bobolink at Katama Farm.

White-eyed vireo — Lanny McDowell

Last but not least, Lindsay Allison found two Baltimore orioles at Snow’s Point on Chappaquiddick on Oct. 8, the same day that Nancy Nordin spotted one at her feeders near the West Tisbury School.

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