December 2018

Vol. 46, No. 6

Hot Birds: December 2018

Mike Sylvia found indisputably the most astounding bird of the season, a Painted Redstart on Cuttyhunk, Massachusetts had one previous record of this spectacular warbler, a 1947 bird at Marblehead Neck that was witnessed by Ludlow Griscom among many others. Sean Williams took the photo above.

A Lark Bunting found near Race Point by Neil Blok was perhaps the rarest member of a wave of vagrant birds from the west that appeared in our state at the end of September, All of the records documented in this wave were one-day wonders, including a Say’s Phoebe and a Black-throated Gray Warbler on September 30, and a Townsend’s Solitaire on October 1. Maili Waters took the photo above.

A Black-throated Gray Warbler which was spotted by the Eckerson family on Gooseberry Neck at the end of September, on the same day as several other western vagrant bird species turned up in Massachusetts was last seen flying away with a large group of other warblers. Another one that spent a few days foraging on a beach in Swampscott in mid-November was less fortunate; it was killed and eaten by a Sharp-shinned hawk to the horror of the birders who were present. Bob Stymeist took the photo above of the Swampscott bird.

A decade ago, Massachusetts had only one record of Pink-footed Goose, which was considered questionable with regards to origin. Now the state hosts multiple individuals just about every winter. Phil Brown found this winter’s first in Ipswich on November 8. Phil’s photo of the bird among Canada Geese is above.

A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, originally spotted in the southwesternmost corner of New Hampshire, flew across the state line to Salisbury Beach State Park where Marj Watson and Judy Parrot Willis were waiting. It stayed overnight to be admired by a gathering of birders the next morning. Around noon it flew across the mouth of the Merrimack River toward Plum Island but was never relocated. Sandy Selesky took the photo above.

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