Bryan's Posts About Monhegan Island

Monhegan Migration Report No. 5: Life and Death in Flight

Here on Monhegan Island, the north winds deliver us migrating songbirds, and the raptors take them away.

Monhegan Migration Report No. 4: Summer Weather and Summer Tanagers

Three Merlins and three Sharp-shinned Hawks chased Northern Flickers in open warfare this morning, a natural event each fall on Monhegan.

Monhegan Migration Report No. 3: The Usual Oddities

THE USUAL RARE BIRDS HAVE ARRIVED. Yeah, it’s an oxymoron. How can rare birds be usual? Well, this is Monhegan Island, after all, where oddities (avian and human) are commodities. Take Lark Sparrow and Dickcissel, which basically breed no closer to…

Monhegan Migration Report No. 2: Yellow-breasted Chat

It’s all about the yellow now on Monehgan Island. Here’s the day-two report.

Monhegan Migration Report No. 1: The Second Sunrise (Redux)

Breaking news from Monhegan Island: Yellow-headed Blackbird.

The Second Sunrise: A Final Monhegan Migration Report

He flashed yellow like an autumn sugar maple. When he launched from the meadow, the sun rose a second time over Monhegan Island. And as we left the island Monday for a wild boat ride, this star of fall migration – a young male Yellow-headed Blackbird – was still flying sorties and issuing his kuh-duck flight calls to the departing birdwatchers.

Hello, Yellow

A Yellow-headed Blackbird has been traversing the skies over Monhegan Island, Maine, for the past couple of days. This westerner heads east now and then, more commonly reaching the Midwest. Occasionally one or two will land here on this small rock off Maine’s midcoast.

Dawn and Rare Birds

SUNRISE THIS MORNING is better than any warbler on Monhegan Island. Well, except for yesterday, when I found a Connecticut Warbler on the Burnt Head trail. Other big news from a flight of birds on Wednesday was one or more Yellow-headed Blackbirds, first discovered by Steve and Jane Mirick.

The Fog of Birding

In the rain, wind and fog on Monhegan Island today, we studied the finer points of common birds. When the winds blow strong from the south, as they have the past two days, migrating songbirds do not come to Monhegan. No worries among the group of amiable birders I am now guiding here. We’re enjoying whatever flies across our path.

A Monhegan Fallout

Today on Monhegan Island the winds blew fair with birds. Peregrine Falcons gave chase and took life. In the lilacs near the Rope Shed a Nashville Warbler cavorted with a Tennessee Warbler. A flock of a dozen Baltimore Orioles paraded around the village.

The Spineless on Monhegan

On north winds Wednesday morning the songbirds came to Monhegan – and then they left. Our gentle rain of migrants included newly arrived Yellow-throated Vireo, Blue-winged Warbler (thanks to Tony Vazzano) and Cerulean Warbler, an extraordinary bird for the island. Blue Grosbeak, Lark Sparrow and Clay-colored Sparrow, the usual Monhegan oddballs, entertained the besotted birders.

Opening Day

To borrow an entire chapter from William Faulkner: My favorite is a fish. Even though we saw more Cape May Warblers than Yellow rumped Warblers; even though Northern Gannets are plunge-diving everywhere offshore; even though Philadelphia Vireos present themselves with such elegance; even though Philadelphia Vireos make me swoon and happy; even though a Sharp-shinned Hawk chased a Belted Kingfisher by our deck during brunch; and even though we watched a couple of Minke Whales drift past Black Head; my favorite encounter during our first day with fall migrants on Monhegan Island, Maine, was the Ocean Sunfish off White Head.