February 2018

Vol. 46, No. 1

Bygone Birds: Historical Highlights for September–October

Neil Hayward


September–October 2012

A Black-bellied Whistling-Duck continued from July into September at Great Meadows; two records of Northern Lapwings heralded the start of a winter "invasion" year; a Bar-tailed Godwit and a Little Stint were present in Chatham in September; and the state's fifth record of Allen's Hummingbird was found in Great Barrington. Passerine rarities included a Loggerhead Shrike in Chatham on September 6 and a Bell's Vireo on Martha's Vineyard on October 23.

Best sighting: Gray-tailed Tattler, Nantucket, October 18–20. This was the first record for Massachusetts and the first for the East Coast.


September–October 2007

A juvenile dark morph Swainson's Hawk was seen by many at Cumberland Farms, September 26–October 15. October heated up with "The" Eared Grebe back for its 12th year at Gloucester, a Black-chinned Hummingbird (third for the state) on Martha's Vineyard, three Boreal Chickadees and a Gray Jay on Mount Watatic, and a Henslow's Sparrow in Tyringham.

Best sighting: Black-tailed Gull, Nahant, October 18. This was the second record for Massachusetts. There has been only one record since (2008).


September–October 1997

A Swainson's Hawk that had spent most of the summer at Provincetown stayed until at least October 11. The state's seventh record of MacGillivray's Warbler was banded at Manomet. Evening Grosbeaks were reported from 21 locations, including a flock of 12 in Lexington.

Best sighting: Long-billed Curlew, Nauset Marsh, September 8. This is last (i.e. most recent) record of this species for Massachusetts.


September–October 1977

Nine hundred plus Red Knot were seen throughout the state in September, including 500 at Scituate and a pure albino at Sandy Neck. Barn Owls were seen at Hingham (September) and Monomoy (October). Rarities included a minor irruption of Say's Phoebes (four in October), a Lark Bunting in South Peabody (September), Loggerhead Shrikes (one September, three October), and six Brewer's Blackbirds in three locations. At Manomet, 26 Yellow-breasted Chats were banded in September.

Best sighting: Phainopepla, Tuckernuck Island, October 7. This was the second of only two state records, the first being on Nantucket in February 1973.

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