Bird Observer: The Birding Journal for New England

Bird Observer

The Birding Journal for New England

December 2017

Vol. 45, No. 6

Hot Birds: December 2017


The fourth state record of Common Ringed Plover was found at Gooseberry Neck by Marshall Iliff. It allowed many excellent photos, videos, and recordings of its calls for the first couple of days. While additional reports trickled in after the 13th, none included objective documentation, and some included photos which were found to be of misidentified Semipalmated Plovers. There are possibly fewer than a dozen records for this species in the entire lower 48 states. Amusingly, it was found on the same date as the second state record, exactly seven years earlier. Justin Lawson took the photograph above.


Marj Rines reported a MacGillivray’s Warbler from Dunback Meadow on September 17, but was unable to photograph it, and the bird was never seen again. However, Sean Williams and Maili Waters improbably found ­ and photographed ­ another one the very next day out on Cape Cod! Sean took the photo above.


Another uncooperative warbler at Dunback, a Golden­wing, was reported originally by Renee LaFontaine on September 14, and apparently relocated by Chris Floyd on the 18th, but never photographed. But another one flew into the nets and was banded at Manomet on October 4, and recaptured the next day. Sarah Duff took the photograph above.


By far the most shocking sighting of the many at Race Point on September 23 was a Short-­tailed Shearwater, not just a first state record, but a species with possibly fewer than five documented records from the entire Atlantic coast of the US. Even more astounding than its original detection that day was that it was photographed again roughly three weeks later! Peter Flood took the photo above.


Paul Dutil’s first-ever eBird submission was a great one. He was kayaking on the Connecticut River oxbow near Northampton and encountered an immature White Ibis, only the fourth state record west of the Quabbin. Unfortunately, heavy rains in the days that followed made the water much deeper in the areas where the bird had been feeding; neither he nor anyone else could relocate it after his original report. Paul took the photo above.


Sean Williams and Maili Waters found a Scissor-­tailed Flycatcher at the Highland Light golf course in Truro. After leaving there it was relocated at the nearby Old North Cemetery. It bounced between these two locations for the next few days. Sean took the photo above.

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