From the Editor

I am no birder. That doesn’t mean I don’t like birds. I’ve just never gone out specifically looking for them, so my knowledge is fairly limited. I can recognize the red cardinals and gray catbirds in my yard. And I know that “seagull” isn’t the name of a specific bird, but rather a general word that encompasses many kinds of gulls – such as herring gulls and great black-backed gulls. But that’s far from being an avian expert. More often than not, I simply enjoy the birds I happen to see while going about my everyday life.

Living on the Island, I’ve found that I don’t have to go out of my way to see some cool birds. One of my favorite places to ride my bike is a stretch of Edgartown Bay Road just off Katama Road near South Beach. The birds that are always there – lots of redwing blackbirds, among others – are the perfect complement to the lush edges of Katama Bay with its marshes and fields of beach roses and daisies. And on a bicycle, I love flying down the road with a bird alongside.

Last weekend, my husband and I kayaked across Katama Bay to find our own little stretch of sand. As I sat there enjoying the sun-soaked day, I couldn’t help but notice all the birds around us. Some terns were swooping around. I saw a bigger, brown bird flapping through the air. A couple of birds came teetering down the beach in our direction. Their long orange beaks made them particularly easy to identify: oystercatchers. I recognized them right away from the photographs in this month’s article on the Island’s nesting shorebirds (page 48).

Two days later, I was running along Beach Road and I think I saw a willet. I’d never heard of this bird before reading the shorebirds article, but now I know they tend to feed in marshes, and that’s just where I saw it. I’m still no birder, but I love learning new things.