August 2018

Vol. 46, No. 4

Bygone Birds: Historical Highlights for March-April

Neil Hayward


March–April 2013

The last of the Nantucket Northern Lapwings held on until April 1, although a bird was later spotted from a canoe at Bolton Flats on April 27. Williamstown, in the far northwest corner of the state, hosted a male Mountain Bluebird, April 27–May 2.

Best sighting: Fieldfare, Carlisle, March 17–23. This was the second record for Massachusetts, the first being at Nine Acre Corner in April 1986.


March–April 2008

Flocks of Tundra Swans were observed in Longmeadow and Sheffield. Manx Shearwaters were copulating on the water at Revere Beach! A Swallow-tailed Kite seen on Martha's Vineyard on March 10 was found dead four days later at Chappaquiddick. A Townsend's Solitaire at Rockport successfully survived the winter. A feeder in Brewster attracted two Western Tanagers. Massive numbers of Bohemian Waxwings invaded the state, with a high count of 300 in Northfield.

Best sighting: adult male Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Chandler Pond, Brighton, April 12–15.


March–April 1998

Gyrfalcons were reported from Hanscom Field in Concord, Edgartown, and Logan Airport. Two photogenic American Avocets spent ten days in Scituate in March. Up to three Monk Parakeets were reported in South Dartmouth in April. A Black-backed Woodpecker was a one-day wonder in Uxbridge on March 18. A Golden-crowned Sparrow spent a week in April in Weston, and the Bullock's Oriole that had spent the winter at a feeder in Reading was last seen on April 19.

Best sighting: the Hermit Warbler that overwintered on Martha's Vineyard was last seen on March 4.


March–April 1978

A male Garganey was found at Marshfield on April 1 and stayed until April 18. An adult Golden Eagle spent April 5–10 in the West Newbury area. An immature gray Gyrfalcon devouring a Black Duck was watched for an hour and a half in Newburyport on March 12. A dead Black Rail was picked up on Nantucket on March 31. The Eurasian Curlew from the previous period lingered on Martha's Vineyard until March 18. Two Reeves and up to two male Ruff were in Newburyport Harbor at the end of April. A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was spotted in Rochester on May 3. There were reports throughout the state of 17 Northern Shrikes and four Loggerhead Shrikes. Three adult male Yellow-headed Blackbirds were found in Newburyport, Melrose, and Medford, all in mid-April.

Best sighting: a male Selasphorus hummingbird appeared in a yard in Newton, April 15–17. This was the first record of a hummingbird of this genus in the state. It was thought to be a Rufous Hummingbird, but photographs couldn't rule out Allen's Hummingbird. The first definitive records of Allen's and Rufous appeared in 1988 and 1992, respectively.

Northern Gannet by William E. Davis

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