The weather this spring made birding difficult. The earlier half of spring saw clear sunny days and caused migrants to pass right over us. Then we were hit with a cooler, wetter, May with most days seeing a high in the mid 50s. During the second half of May, when migration on the island is usually peaking and the most birders are out, it rained on all but a few days and total precipitation was around 5.1 inches. Bad weather during migration can hold up migrants which then pulse when there is a clear night. This happened on the night of the 20th then the following rain kept many of the migrants around. The 21st was a perfect ‘fallout’ and the mass of birds stayed for a few days after.
Throughout the spring season, 167 species (+/-) were reported from the island. Below is a summary of these birds:
Waterfowl through Alcids
Only six species of ducks and geese were reported with Common Eider the only sea duck. The persistent rain minimizing visibility likely explains the lack of seawatching and therefore the lack of seaducks, especially scoters. A drake RING-NECKED DUCK found in the meadow on the 26th represented only the 3rd record for the island. Both Virginia Rail and Sora were present in the meadow where they were fairly vocal. The tagged Herring Gull (K195; tagged in Revere, MA on 3/22/13) continued in the harbor all spring. Black Guillemots were abundant while low numbers of Razorbills and Atlantic Puffins were reported near the end of May.
Doves through Swallows
One Rock Pigeon found in the rope shed was captured and turned out to be someones pet racing pigeon, further making this a ‘rare’ bird on the island. Two WHITE-WINGED DOVES were reported on the island this spring are the 6th and 7th records for the island:
Representing a first for the island was a BARRED OWL first reported by hikers but later confirmed by an experienced birder. A single Common Nighthawk was fairly reliable in the evening over the meadow for the second half of may but that was overshadowed by a high count of 25 on the night of the 30th. One or two ACADIAN FLYCATCHERS were found in late May representing the 4th (and maybe fifth) island record: one extremely cooperative bird I found on Fish Beach on the 25th and continued there on the 26th, then another (or the same) which was seen on the 30th near Lobster Cove and recorded on the 31st near the Monhegan House.
A massive empid flight of over 700 birds was reported on the 30th. All five of Maine’s regularly occurring swallows were reported this spring as well as a loose group of six Purple Martins that stayed for a few days.
Chickadees through Warblers
Though never abundant in the spring, only one Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was reported. Singles of both Gray-cheeked Thrush and Wood Thrush were reported to eBird. European Starlings successfully bred thing spring resulting in depressingly high counts around town. 23 species of warblers stopped over on the island with American Redstarts being the most abundant: high counts of 250+ during the late May fallout. A female HOODED WARBLER was the only ‘rare’ warbler this season.
Sparrows through Finches
A late American Tree Sparrow was seen by a few birders along Wharton Ave on May 23rd. Two Clay-colored Sparrows were reported, one seen with the ATSP and another on May 30th in town. 2-3 Blue Grosbeaks showed for only a few birders in the last few days of May. A single immature male Orchard Oriole was present daily from May 24th through the 28th.