20 YEARS AGO November–December 1998 There was a fallout of Tundra Swans across the state including a flock of 28 at Westport on November 22. Two American Avocets were on Plum Island at the start of December. Two Ash-throated Flycatchers were found this period including a long-staying bird in Mount Auburn Cemetery. Other western rarities included a MacGillivray's Warbler in the Mattapan neighborhood of Boston, December 13–16, a Townsend's Solitaire and Western Tanager in East Orleans, and a Varied Thrush in Annisquam. A Harris's Sparrow at Plum Island, November 11–18, was 'very cooperative'—at one point it was observed standing on a birder's shoe. Best sighting: a Western Grebe on a reservoir in Attleboro, December 23–26, represented the first inland record for the state. 40 YEARS AGO November–December 1978 Ten Fulvous Whistling-Ducks dropped into Plum Island on November 7. Cape Cod hosted a Franklin's Gull at Monomoy on December 7 and an American White Pelican through November and the first week of December. A Black-billed Cuckoo on Nantucket on December 24 remains the only Massachusetts December record for this species. A Boreal Owl was found at Salisbury on New Year's Eve, and Fish Crows made their first recorded visit to Plum Island on November 19. A Brewer's Blackbird returned to Martha's Vineyard for the winter, with a second bird recorded in Truro in early November. Other highlights included the continuing Lark Bunting at Salisbury and a Harris's Sparrow at Acoaxet present from December 23 through February. Best sighting: a Great Gray Owl found at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Topsfield, on December 28 was the harbinger of the largest ever incursion of this species into the Northeast.