Downy Drummer woodpecker by Justine Kibbe

This woodpecker snippet appears “wobbly” I know. But I wanted to share with folks just how filled with bird chatter the mornings on Fishers Island can be!

Up east on the bike path I quickly hopped off to catch this Downy drumming fiercely. These birds audibly mark their nesting territory during breeding season.

On such a quiet Sunday morning I could hear its rival pecking away down the road within woods by Chocomount.

– A Snippet from The Field by Justine Kibbe May 15, 2018

Oyster Catcher - Preen by Justine Kibbe

While riding by Barley Field cove (just before the Big Club) I sighted this Oyster Catcher. Very happy to remark that these years on Fishers Island there are indeed more of these beautiful wading shorebirds documented especially during breeding pair season!
Considered a threatened species with critical shore habitat-Oyster Catchers possess site fidelity-returning to the same locale annually. PLEASE consider even one surviving chick within nesting season a miracle.

*PLEASE be mindful on coastal and beach treks, step lightly and leash dogs during these spring months.

– A Snippet from The Field by Justine Kibbe May 12, 2018

Piping Plover morning tidal wrack line

Piping Plover morning tidal wrack line

Great news!

I spied this Piping plover on Chocomount beach mid-week. Note the single black neck- band (breeding plumage) and sand colored camouflage. I was happy to see it feeding within the morning tidal wrack line; deposits from healthy Seagrass (Eel grass) meadows that surround Fishers Island. This shorebird species is listed as threatened in Connecticut and endangered in New York.

*Please be mindful about leashing dogs on beach walks during these nesting weeks.

– Field Note by Justine Kibbe May 10, 2018

Piping Plover

Scarlet Tanager

I found myself bicycling up east again Thursday afternoon. Lo and behold this individual bird was still dancing about the branches above Oyster Pond. I quickly hopped off to take this closer video snippet of what looks to be a “variant” adult breeding male (occasional individuals are orange) hiding within the ground cover.

– A Snippet from The Field by Justine Kibbe May 3, 2018

Scarlet Tanager

Riding through the wooded habitat that hugs Oyster Pond, I spied this brilliant Scarlet Tanager flitting and perching from branch to branch. My Sibley Guide to Birds notes it’s an adult male with breeding plumage from Mar-Aug; otherwise it dons rich yellow colored feathers with black wings.

I look forward to joining the Fishers Island Conservancy Spring Bird Count Sunday May 6th at 8am-each year learning more and more about my fine-feathered friends.

– Field Note by Justine Kibbe May 4, 2018

Adult Male Scarlet Tanager by Justine Kibbe

Proud Parents Mute Swans

I caught up with the pair of Mute swan (March Field Note jottings) while up east along the bike path bridge nearing the Big Club. It was such a warm spring afternoon with buds and blossoms bursting. I imagined this pair was bursting as well-with pride for their brood.

– A Snippet from The Field by Justine Kibbe

Barred owl 4-27-18 J Kibbe

Bike Path entrance, Fishers Island. Over the last years this small pond has become increasingly familiar habitat to a host of “residents.” A foraging spot for Great egret and muskrat, a look out spot for alert Osprey, a chiming in spot for Bull frogs, and here; a spot in the morning sun for a young Barred owl.

– A video snippet from the field taken by Justine Kibbe April 27, 2018.

A 9,000 mile migration? It was no problem for these remarkable birds – until humans got in the way.

Read the full article from The New York Times.


As you trek within the Parade Grounds on Fishers Island, in the evening hours of spring, just before sunset; most likely you’ll spy a Harrier or two. Known to soar low over these grassy fields and the South beach dunes, this hawk frequently veers its course to include the marshy pond area (“Marsh hawk”); typically hunting for small birds and mice. Adult male Harriers are more grayish in color so I am thinking this is a female that visited with me- swooping in and landing on the telephone pole near the Bike Shop.

These majestic raptors are ground nesters-PLEASE keep all dogs on leash, helping to steward this sensitive habitat.

– Video Snippet by Justine Kibbe April 25, 2018

Northern Harrier Totem by Justine Kibbe

A “Sky Dancer”. This female Red-tailed hawk swooped within the grasses and sedge of Parade Grounds soaring upwards to its favorite lookout (for mice and small birds) platform near the airport here on Fishers Island.

– Field Note by Justine Kibbe April 25, 2018