A Black-bellied Whistling-Duck was photographed at Westport at the end of July. This southern species has recently been increasing its range, and together with a propensity for wandering, has been turning up almost annually in the state since the first record in Ipswich ten years ago.
A Snow Goose was a rare summer sight in Hyannis for much of July and August. King Eiders were reported from Westport and Tuckernuck Island, only the second and fourth records this century for July and August, respectively. The family of Ring-necked Ducks in Royalston, the first documented breeding in the state since 1979, was doing well in July, although missing one of the original seven ducklings.
This was a good year for Pied-billed Grebes, which were recorded in seven counties this summer with breeding confirmed in at least two locations. Pied-billed Grebe is listed as endangered, together with eight other bird species, under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA).
Common Nighthawks begin their southern migration in the last weeks of August, typically peaking around September 1 (see Figure 1). Over the past fifty years this goatsucker has been suffering a massive population decline. This year, however, brought a welcome respite from the bad news: Tom Gagnon, Northampton nighthawk watcher, reported the numbers this fall to be his third best for the past 44 years. It was also the first time he'd had back-to-back nights of more than 1,000 birds. A Chuck-will's-widow continued into July in Plymouth.
Fairhaven has become the go-to place in the state for rail watching. This summer allowed for a good comparison of the two large rallids, with a King Rail present throughout July and the first half of August together with up to two Clapper Rails. Clappers were also reported from nearby Westport and locations around the Cape. Common Gallinules were present at five sites, including an impressive six individuals at Monomoy.