June 2018

Vol. 46, No. 3

Bygone Birds: Historical Highlights for January-February

Neil Hayward

5 YEARS AGO

January–February 2013

The Blizzard of '13 (Winter Storm Nemo) dumped more than two feet of snow on Boston, the fifth largest snowstorm on record for the city. It also made birding headlines: 52 Atlantic Puffins were counted whirring past Orleans, a record for Cape Cod. In the aftermath, dozens of Razorbills were washed up on beaches. A gray phase Gyrfalcon was found in Hadley on New Year's Day, and despite being present for almost two months, many birding vigils came up empty. A much more cooperative and unseasonal LeConte's Sparrow spent five days in Concord in February. A home in Taunton attracted a Black-throated Gray Warbler and scores of visiting birders for 20 days in January.

Best sighting: Northern Lapwing (again). The two birds on Nantucket were joined by a third (!), setting a new high count for Massachusetts, and tying the high count for all of North America.

10 YEARS AGO

January–February 2008

The photographic highlight of the period was an American White Pelican standing in the snow in the Connecticut River on January 9. This is only the second January record for the species. Up to four Thayer's Gulls (now considered a subspecies of Iceland Gull) were hanging out in Gloucester and a Mew Gull was found on Nantucket on February 10. Two Western Tanagers appeared at feeders at the end of January, in Merrimac and Brewster. The massive invasion of Common Redpolls continued, including reports of up to 14 Hoary Redpolls.

Best sighting: the adult Slaty-backed Gull found at Niles Pond, Gloucester, the previous month stayed throughout the period.

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