August 2018

Vol. 46, No. 4

Bird Sightings: March–April 2018

Neil Hayward and Robert H. Stymeist

March came in like a lamb. The first of the month registered 60 degrees, which would end up being the high for the whole of March. A nor'easter on March 2, coming on the heels of one in late February, brought heavy rains and cold temperatures to eastern Massachusetts together with significant snowfall at higher elevations in Worcester, Franklin, and Berkshire counties. Wind gusts exceeding 50 mph felled many trees, and approximately 67,000 homes were without power. This storm was followed by another nor'easter on March 7–8 that dumped over six inches of snow on Boston and up to 18 inches on parts of Worcester County. Another nor'easter, the third in less than two weeks, brought another 14 inches of snow to Boston on March 13–15. Heavy, wet snow fell in Bristol County, the South Shore, and Cape Cod. Combined with high winds in these areas (gusts of 81 mph were recorded in Falmouth), many power lines and trees were knocked down leaving thousands without power for several days. The average temperature in Boston for March was 37 degrees, just one degree below normal. Total rainfall was 5.07 inches, almost an inch above normal. Snowfall in Boston for the month was 23.3 inches.

Greater White-fronted Goose and Canada Goose by David Clapp

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Numbers after dates reflect the number of days early (-) or late (+) compared to average arrival date. Thus, Piping Plover (March 24, +10) means the earliest record this year was March 24, 10 days later than the average arrival date (i.e., March 14). Average arrival dates are calculated from eBird data for the period 2000-2017 inclusive.


The town of Sheffield, in Berkshire County, has always been the place to go to see Black Vultures. Fifty-two of them were counted on March 26, although this is still short of the record 77 Black Vultures recorded in Sheffield on January 1, 2016.

The Plum Island hawkwatch at Lot 1 was well covered for the month of April. Some of the more impressive totals included: 167 Northern Harriers, 76 Merlins and 378 American Kestrels. Two Golden Eagles were recorded at the Barre Falls hawkwatch: an adult on April 5 and a sub-adult on April 11.

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