Birds do not always do what we expect, which is part of what makes watching them so interesting. Here are two unexpected observations.

We normally see sharp-shinned hawks as they flash by while they quickly wend their way through the woods, so Joan Burden’s April 23 observation of a sharpie as it perched in the middle of a paved parking lot at Woodside Village on April 23 is unusual.

And maybe you think that a bald eagle could easily displace an osprey? After all, they are twice as large. On April 30, Larry Hepler watched two ospreys battling a bald eagle near Chilmark Pond. However, recent history shows that the ospreys will prevail, as they are the resident pair and resident pairs win almost all territorial battles.

Ruby-throated hummingbird. — Lanny McDowell

Willets first showed up for the year on April 24 when Nancy Nordin spotted one of them at Sheriff’s Meadow Sanctuary. On April 28 they were seen at two other locations: John Nelson spotted two in the salt marsh across from Bend in Road Beach and Olsen Houghton found a flock of 12 at Mink Meadows. Jeff Bernier saw three more on April 30 at Little Beach, the same day that John Nelson spotted four in the salt marsh across from Bend in Road Beach.

Sea Williams found one yellow warbler in downtown Vineyard Haven on April 27. Then on April 29 Nancy Nordin, Ken Magnuson and Margaret Curtin independently spotted one or two yellow warblers at the Oak Bluffs pumping station. Margaret Curtin also saw two along School street in Edgartown.

We had a Baltimore oriole sighting earlier in April but now more have arrived. On April 24 Bob Shriber spotted one at Squibnocket Beach. I heard one singing near my house on April 27 and again on April 30, while Jim Suozzo saw one along Meshacket Way in Oak Bluffs on April 28.

Two other species arrived on April 29, both at the Oak Bluffs pumping station. Nancy Nordin found an eastern kingbird and Ken Magnuson added a red-eyed vireo. These sightings remind me how important the pumping station is for migrating songbirds.

On April 29 Shea Fee spotted one black and white warbler at Menemsha Hills in addition to one eastern bluebird, one chipping and two field sparrows, two white-throated sparrows and 21 eastern towhees.

Nancy Nordin spotted the first laughing gulls of the year back on April 15 from the Gay Head Cliffs. More recently Tim Johnson saw one laughing gull on April 30 in Katama.

The final new species of the week appeared on May 1: John Nelson observed three common terns on the Vineyard Haven harbor side of East Chop. Sioux Eagle saw her first-ever indigo bunting in her West Tisbury yard. And I heard a familiar twittering sound overhead at the Edgartown School and looked up to see three chimney swifts. “Cigars with wings” is how the late Roger Tory Peterson described them, flying around overhead.

That makes for a total of eight new species observed this week. Laughing gulls are the only species in this list that do not nest here, while indigo buntings nest here in some years.

Of course there are other interesting sightings this week. Everyone loves their ruby-throated hummingbirds; their acrobatics and aggressive behaviors while feeding are fun to watch.

While one was reported in last week’s column, a lot more have arrived. April 24 saw a major influx: they were spotted by T.J. Hegarty in West Tisbury, Pat Ingalls in Oak Bluffs, Norma Sigelman in Vineyard Haven, Lindsay Allison in Edgartown and Les Cutler in West Tisbury. On April 25 Albert Fischer saw one in his West Tisbury yard, and the next day Joan Burden observed her first.

Two people observed one on April 27: Nancy Nordin in her West Tisbury yard and Tom Hodgson off Music street in West Tisbury. Two more reports from April 28 are from Bill Jones in Bayes Hill in Oak Bluffs and Sherry Countryman on April 28 along Barnes Road. One showed up at Thaw Malin’s and Cynthia Bloomquist’s West Tisbury feeders on April 30.

Three landbird sightings include Bob Shriber’s northern bobwhite calling at Squibnocket Beach on April 24. On April 26 Jeff Bernier spotted a horned lark on State Beach; it is most likely one of the ones that nest there. Tim Johnson saw goldfinches in full breeding plumage around the bird feeders in the Vineyard Haven post office parking lot.

Scott Stephens and Penny Uhlendorf have been seeing two female yellow-bellied sapsuckers that are very possessive of the peanut butter feeder as of April 22. Their three winter resident brown creepers are no longer coming to the suet. 

Olsen Houghton found a flock of 24 lingering commuter fish crows on April 28 at the entrance to Lake Tashmoo. For the past few years downtown Oak Bluffs has hosted a family of fish crows, and I saw three in Ocean Park on April 29. A lingering flock of 24 brant were also in Ocean Park.

Black skimmers are more abundant but will continue to increase for another couple of weeks. The reports this week are from Sengekontacket Pond; on April 26, Jeff Bernier noticed they were present and Anne Whiting saw one near Farm Neck’s eighth hole. John Nelson saw one on the Edgartown side of Sengekontacket Pond on April 28, and Chris Scott noted eight skimmers near the Big Bridge on April 29.

Also of note is that Lisa Maxfield reports the lone lingering male northern pintail is still present in Brush Pond. Apparently he does not know that he should have headed north by now. Another lingerer is the full breeding plumage horned grebe I saw at Squibnocket Beach on April 29.

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