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April 2018

Vol. 46, No. 2

Bygone Birds: Historical Highlights for November-December

Neil Hayward

5 YEARS AGO

November–December 2012

Up to four Western Grebes sat off Plum Island from the end of November through December. The state hosted two Allen's Hummingbirds, one continuing in Great Barrington and another on Martha's Vineyard. Two Northern Lapwings were found in Plymouth County in mid-November; the two individuals continuing on Nantucket brought the period count to an amazing four birds. A Black-capped Petrel was seen from Andrew's Point on December 21. A Little Egret spent over a month on Cape Cod. The passerine highlight was a Mountain Bluebird at Good Harbor Beach. The winter finch invasion was historic: Plum Island alone hosted 180 White-winged Crossbills, 180 Common and one Hoary Redpoll, and 30 Red Crossbills. Large flocks of Pine and Evening Grosbeaks roamed the state.

Best sighting: Black-browed Albatross, off Martha's Vineyard, December 2. Third state record and first photographed. Seen feeding within 20 feet of a boat, only four miles into Massachusetts waters (from Rhode Island).

10 YEARS AGO

November–December 2007

A Western Grebe was at Plum Island November 25–28. Western hummingbirds were abundant: four Rufous Hummingbirds were banded and a Black-chinned Hummingbird on Nantucket was the state's fourth. East Orleans hosted the state's latest American Avocet on December 14. A Gray Jay spent most of November on Mount Watatic. The winter will be remembered by many for the unprecedented invasion of Bohemian Waxwings; the Cape Cod Christmas Bird Count (CBC) tallied a record 983. The winter was also exceptional for Pine Grosbeaks, with flocks of up to 100 reported from 20 locations, and at least 11 Hoary Redpolls.

Best sighting: Slaty-backed Gull, Gloucester, December 23. Two individuals, found on the same day, constituted the first and second state records.

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