Bird Observer: The Birding Journal for New England

Bird Observer

The Birding Journal for New England

February 2017

Vol. 45, No. 1

Twentieth Report of the Massachusetts Avian Records Committee

Matthew P. Garvey, Jeremiah R. Trimble, Sean M. Williams, and Marshall J. Iliff


Yellow-billed Loon, March 20, 2016, Race Point, Provincetown. Photograph by Peter Flood.

The twentieth report of the Massachusetts Avian Records Committee (hereafter MARC or the committee) covers the evaluation of 63 records involving 34 species or subspecies. Sixty-two records were accepted, an acceptance rate of 97%. All accepted records in this report were accepted unanimously on the first round of voting unless noted otherwise. The 53 records noted with an “eB” were accepted via eBird in accordance with the procedure described in our bylaws for expedited review (Garvey and Iliff 2013).

Two first state records are treated in this report. Yellow-billed Loon (Gavia adamsii) and Masked Booby (Sula dactylatra), bringing the total Massachusetts list to an impressive 503. Massachusetts and Florida are the only two states east of the Mississippi River with a total avian species list above 500.

The Yellow-billed Loon, found and photographed during one of many long slogs off the bountiful Race Point by the diligent and persistent Steve Arena, thankfully stayed long enough for hundreds of birders to make the long trek for a winter twitch. The Masked Booby, on the other hand, was unchaseable and seen by just one person: the astute captain Joe Huckameyer found and photographed it during a September fishing trip well offshore at Atlantis Canyon. Fortunately, Captain Joe regularly pilots the Helen H for the BBC pelagic trips and we can all hope that those trips score discoveries of similar magnitude in the future.

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