A week on the Vineyard

Just back from a week on Martha's Vineyard with the family. Birding was sporadic at best, but I did get out a couple times. On Monday, August 8th, I birded the Gay Head cliffs first thing for morning flight. Things were dreadfully slow, and warblers were almost nonexistent. Highlights were five species of swallow/martin including Cliff Swallow and Purple Martin, which interestingly the first reports from MV this year for either species...though I have no idea about the level of eBird participation on that island. A few Red-breasted Nuthatches were presumably migrants, but again I am unaware of their breeding status on the island.

On August 11th I kayaked across Tisbury Great Pond to the flats on the south side of the pond, along the north side of the barrier beach. I was really impressed by the numbers, as ~1700 shorebirds covered the limited mudflats available there. Nothing unusual was seen, but a Red Knot, a solid count of 30 White-rumps, and four flyby Pec Sands were nice to see. Tern numbers and diversity were low, but I eventually turned up two Forster's Terns. Ten immature Lesser Black-backed Gulls were tallied among the more common species, a number that was flagged by eBird.

Other than that, there really was no birding. I did have incidental sightings of Black Skimmers and a juv Yellow-crowned Night-Heron during the week. And on the 10th we took the boat to Bonito Bar at Nantucket/Tuckernuck where several hundred terns were actively feeding. Diversity was better here, with five species including a single-scan count of 55 Black Terns.

Overall I wish I could have tapped into the island's birding a bit more, but that will have to wait for another visit. It's a great place for a outdoorsy person to spend a week with all that open space and some great fall migration potential.

 - NB


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