Bird migration on Martha’s Vineyard, USA


Jennifer Youngman from the USA, who made this video, writes:

An American bittern feeds in the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge in Washington State a couple of hours before dusk in early March – alert to the human noises recorded here, but not unduly alarmed. His legs were as green as stems, and he swayed his neck like rustling reeds. To the wriggling frog he caught in this video and to all the other little morsels, he must have looked like just another plant.

By Robert A. Culbert in the USA:

Friday, September 21

There is a three-way tie for the bird of the week; sightings of not one but two Connecticut warblers, an American bittern and a buff-breasted sandpiper are all worthy, although they are somewhat expected at this time of the year.

Two different Connecticut warblers. Wow. These warblers are not seen on the Island every year; not because they are really rare, but because they are shy and secretive, tending to stay concealed in the dense shrubbery. Allan Keith spotted one at the Gay Head Cliffs on Sept. 16, the first one he has seen on the Island in maybe 20 years. And even more amazing is that he got to study the bird for about two minutes before it disappeared into the shrubbery. Then, on the morning of the Sept. 18, Lanny McDowell and Pete Gilmour found and photographed one at the Phillips Preserve in Vineyard Haven. It was the first time Mr. McDowell had spotted one on the Island.

Simon Athearn found two American bitterns in a somewhat unusual location — in a hayfield at Katama Farm. He got within 20 feet of the birds and studied them carefully, noting their size, long thick neck and head that pointed upward. When he got home he looked at this month’s photograph of a bittern in the Felix Neck calendar, which identified the bird for him.

Another one of my favorite bird sightings is of a buff-breasted sandpiper, which Allan Keith found on the tidal flats near Crab Creek at Quansoo on Sept. 17. While pastures and hayfields with short grass are the typical habitats for this species, it seems that they also utilize the extensive tidal flats when Edgartown and Tisbury Great Ponds are open to the ocean.

Bird Sightings

A lot of people have been out this past week, after all it is mid-September, a prime time for southward migrating birds of all types. And there are still many reports of large swarms of tree swallows and red-breasted nuthatches.

Autumn birding gear: here.

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