Northern flicker. — Lanny McDowell

Temperatures reached 50 degrees Farenheit on Feb. 10 and 11, so can spring be far behind? Yes, it certainly can! While recent reports suggest it is well on its way, it is snowing as I write this on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

One of the most certain signs that the northward “spring” migration has started is the arrival of red-winged blackbirds; their cheery “cong-ga-reee” is a welcome addition to our avifauna.

Three reports of red-winged blackbirds are from Jan. 25: Gus Ben David reported that a flock of 15 to 20 red-wings showed up at his Edgartown house, Karen Caliri had a flock in her yard and Ron Domurat had a flock of 10 males at his feeder in Westminster Acres. Allen Slater had a male at his Chappaquiddick feeder on Jan. 29. And on Feb. 8 Matt Pelikan and Nelson Smith both report hearing them singing in the little cattail swamp along South Circuit avenue in Oak Bluffs, across from Farm Pond. Shea Fee had three common grackles — close relatives — at Poucha Pond on Feb. 10.

Horned larks. — Lanny McDowell

And downtown Edgartown’s barred owl has started calling. Joel Graves heard “several clear and distinctive barred owl calls” on Feb. 6. The next day Darren Belisle recorded one calling near the Edgartown police station. Both Greg Palermo and Margaret Curtin heard maybe the same one calling on nearby High street. This species has been regularly heard over the past few winters anywhere from Sheriff’s Meadow Sanctuary to Morning Glory Farm.

Matthew Born reports hearing but not seeing two American woodcocks on Feb. 8. I have heard both house finches and northern cardinals joining the growing morning chorus, starting Feb. 7. Song sparrows are attempting to sing but I have yet to hear their full complex song; perhaps they are the first winter birds that are still learning their songs.

Northern cardinal. — Lanny McDowell

Allan Keith spotted five snow geese at the Katama Airpark on Jan. 25. All other reports of this species have been of single birds at Katama or at Town Cove. Matt Pelikan saw three common mergansers at the Oak Bluffs pumping station and counted an impressive 140 ring-necked ducks on Crystal Lake, both on Feb. 4. Chris Scott reports an American coot at Crackatuxet Cove on Feb. 10.

Unexpected is Nancy Nordin’s sighting of a black-legged kittiwake far offshore from State Beach on Feb. 6. Rebecca Waterman observed a red-breasted nuthatch at South Road near Blue Barque Road in Chilmark on Feb. 5, and Bruce Polikoff discovered a great egret at a Mattakessett Bay pond on Feb. 5.

Great blue heron sightings at eight locations contrast to the one great egret sighting mentioned above. Single herons were spotted by Dana Bangs at Lucy Vincent on Feb. 2, Matt Pelikan at Wiggy’s Pond in Oak Bluffs on Feb. 4, Thaw Malin and Cynthia Bloomquist at Menemsha Channel and at Lucy Vincent Beach on Feb. 7, Al Gatti at Norton Point on Feb. 8, Chris Scott at Crackatuxet Cove on Feb. 10, Nancy Nordin at Black Point Pond, and by Nancy Weaver and Nancy Nordin at the Oak Bluffs pumping station on Feb. 4, 5, and 11. Shea Fee had two at Poucha Pond and Matt Pelikan found two at the pumping station on Feb. 4.

Carolina wren. — Lanny McDowell

There were seven sightings of northern flickers this week: Matthew Born saw one at Squibnocket Point on Feb. 7, Nancy Nordin found one at Black Point Pond on Feb. 10, another at Tashmoo Springs and a third at the Oak Bluffs pumping station on Feb. 11. Chris Scott observed three at the Norton Field Preserve on Feb. 10 and Holly Mercier saw two visiting her feeder on Feb. 11.

Carolina wrens are widespread across the Island, with 27 sightings this month. They are more abundant than that: they are almost everywhere. They are singing now and, as Jessica Shafer says, “So lovely to hear in the dead of winter.”

European starlings gather in large flocks, especially in agricultural settings like Katama Farm, where Al Gatti counted 120 on Feb. 8 and Nancy Nordin estimated 200 on Feb. 5. Others who have found them are Adam Balick, who saw 50 at Nashquitsa Pond on Feb. 9; Daryl Kaeka Sr., who had 40 at his bird feeders on Feb. 5; Nancy Weaver found 31 at the West Tisbury landfill on Feb. 11; Chris Scott saw 10 at the Gay Head Cliffs on Feb. 10; and Thaw Malin and Cynthia Bloomquist observed nine on the Coast Guard pier in Menemsha on Feb. 7.

Palm warbler. — Lanny McDowell

Three less than common sparrows were reported on Feb. 10. Nancy Nordin, Cynthia Bloomquist and Thaw Malin spotted two field sparrows at Town Cove, and Nancy Nordin found an immature white-crowned sparrow there. Chris Scott discovered one fox sparrow at the Gay Head Cliffs and on Feb. 5 he found a swamp sparrow at Pecoy Point. On Feb. 8 Matthew Born observed another fox sparrow at Squibnocket Point.

Winter specialists at foraging on open ground were also seen. Bob Shriber saw 20 horned larks, three American pipits and one Lapland longspur at Norton Field Preserve on Jan. 31. On Feb. 5 Nancy Nordin counted 17 horned larks, 17 pipits and one Lapland longspur — the same day she found 24 pipits at Katama Farm.

And last but not least are warblers other than the relatively-widespread yellow-rumped warbler. Pine warblers were seen by Sea Williams and Bridget Dunnigan in the northeast corner of the state forest on Feb. 3, Thaw Malin and Cynthia Bloomquist watched three at their West Tisbury feeders on Feb. 11, Heidi Lang had one at her feeders on Feb. 5, and Shea Fee spotted three pines and one palm warbler at Poucha Pond on Feb. 10. Lanny McDowell also saw a palm warbler at Katama on Feb. 4.

Barred owl. — Lanny McDowell

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