As October switches to November, migration shifts to favor waterfowl. The winter-resident waterfowl on the Island will increase markedly through November and into December.

The first bufflehead of the season was spotted by Martha Moore at Middle Point Cove on Oct. 22. These diminutive black and white ducks will become one of the more common ducks on our coastal ponds in the winter.

Pied-billed grebe — Lanny McDowell

On Oct. 23 Susan Whiting and Bob Shriber added another species new to the season, a pied-billed grebe seen in Squibnocket Pond. They also spotted the second ruddy duck of the season. A flock of up to 100 ruddies will be on the pond this winter. The 48 white-winged scoters they spotted is the largest flock reported to date this fall; they too will become much more common as the weeks go by.

Wood ducks — which many observers describe as the prettiest duck — are also more common now. Joanie Ames has had three visiting her two small ponds at Seven Gates Farm over the past several weeks; she is pleased that they do not fly off the minute she goes outside. On Oct. 16 Jeff Bernier found two woodies in Sweetened Water Pond. The the Martha’s Vineyard Bird Club’s trip to the Oak Bluffs pumping station counted three on Oct. 22. Nancy Nordin spotted five at the cranberry bog along Lambert’s Cove Road on Oct. 24. And American wigeons are increasing in abundance. Thaw Malin and Cynthia Bloomquist spotted 36 at the pumping station on Oct. 18.

This is one of the best times of the year for migrating sparrows. Bob Shriber found a clay-colored sparrow on Oct. 17 in Aquinnah. To my eyes their winter plumage is almost identical to that of the winter chipping sparrow. Charles Morano spotted a vesper sparrow at Katama Farm on Oct. 21. Gus Ben David found a tan-striped form of the white-throated sparrow; the stripes on top of its head are tan and black rather than black and white. He described it as a ”spectacular” individual. Scott Stephens reported a female purple finch visiting his Pilot Hill feeders on Oct. 16.

Jason Rieger found an eastern meadowlark at Long Point on Oct. 20. Jonah Salitz observed a flock of 20 fish crows in downtown Vineyard Haven on Oct. 22. These are the early arrivals of the flock that frequents the harborfront through the winter.

Forsters tern — Lanny McDowell

Species are also lingering into the fall. On Oct. 22 Lanny McDowell and friends spotted two Forster’s terns and lots of laughing gulls at Little Beach. The former species is known to linger in our waters later than the other terns. Oct. 17 also produced two other lingering species. Shea Fee spotted a green heron at Wasque as dusk approached on Oct. 17 and Greg Pattison found an osprey at Lambert’s Cove Beach.

Nancy Nordin found two lingering snowy egrets at the Poucha Pond Preserve on Oct. 17. Jeff Bernier spotted another at Sheriff’s Meadow Pond on Oct. 18 and Jason Rieger spotted one at Felix Neck on Oct. 20. An amazing 29 great egrets have been frequenting Aquinnah’s West Basin recently, recently observed by Thaw Malin and Cynthia Bloomquist on Oct. 17. Jason Rieger spotted six great egrets at Felix Neck on Oct. 20.

Shorebirds include three lesser yellowlegs spotted by Gus Ben David on Oct. 22 near the Lake Tashmoo entrance and eight greater yellowlegs spotted by Richard Price at Felix Neck on Oct. 20. At Norton Point, Charles Morano found 12 oystercatchers, six semipalmated plovers, one golden plover and one white-rumped sandpiper on Oct. 20,

Two lingering tree swallows were spotted by Tracy Winn on Oct. 21 along Lighthouse Road and Liam Waters found a flock of 21 at the Gay Head Cliffs on Oct. 15.

Nancy Nordin reports a bald eagle flew over the state forest on Oct. 17. Thaw Malin and Cynthia Bloomquist observed a flock of 21 turkey vultures at their home on Oct. 22.

Cedar waxwings — Lanny McDowell

Red-breasted nuthatches are widespread and have been seen this week by Joanie Ames at Seven Gates, Susan Straight off South Road in Chilmark, Scott Stephens at Pilot Hill Farm, Tracy Winn near Moshup Beach and along Lighthouse Road, Gus Ben David at his Edgartown feeders, Susan Whiting and Bob Shriber at Squibnocket Farm Road, Nancy Nordin at Sheriff’s Meadow Sanctuary, Liv Sipperly at Farm Pond Preserve and by David Padulo just about everywhere across the Island.

Yellow-rumped warblers are also just about everywhere. They have been observed by the Martha’s Vineyard Bird Club at the pumping station, Tracy Winn at Moshup Beach and Lighthouse Road, Susan Whiting and Bob Shriber at Squibnocket Farm Road, Charles Morano and Bob Shriber at the Gay Head Cliffs and by Jason Rieger at both Long Point and Felix Neck.

There were two sighting of a northern waterthrush at the pumping station: one by Thaw Malin and Cynthia Bloomquist on Oct. 18 and another by Charles Morano on Oct. 19, where he also observed a common yellowthroat, an American redstart and four blackpoll warblers. He also spotted three palm warblers at Katama Farm on Oct. 21. Also that day, Tracy Winn found a Nashville warbler along Lighthouse Road. Pine warblers have been seen by Jason Rieger at Mytoi Gardens on Oct. 20 and on Oct. 22 by Bob Shriber in Aquinnah and Luanne Johnson at home.

The Moshup Trail ring-necked pheasant has been spotted again: Theresa Levinson saw it on Oct. 22. She comments, “He’s been there for months and months.”

Green heron — Lanny McDowell

Finally, a cautionary word about conjunctivitis, or pink eye, which has been documented by Penny Uhlendorf and Scott Stephens as infecting two American goldfinches. Lanny McDowell also reports a compromised goldfinch. Please periodically wash your feeders — especially if you spot an infected individual — as birdfeeders are one of the principal ways this disease can be transmitted to other birds.

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