No bird in the state during this period attracted more attention or was more photographed than the Trumpeter Swan on Milford Pond. Bette Robo’s eBird report was relayed by other birders to Facebook and from there to MassBird. The Trumpeter lingered in the area among 16+ Mute Swans for over two weeks, often seen resting on the ice as the pond gradually froze over. Like most recent New England records of the species, this bird is thought to have come from the re-introduced Great Lakes population. Bette Robo took the photo above.
The rarest bird of the period unfortunately was in a location where very few could enjoy it. A birder on Nantucket was keeping a friend’s bird feeders filled when those feeders lured in a female Varied Thrush! The location was not suitable for crowds of birders, so only those who were able to arrange a visit through the feeder-filling caretaker were able to visit. The thrush was seen by birders for roughly a week, but the homeowner, upon being notified of the bird’s identity, indicated that they had been seeing it since December without realizing what species it was. Trish Pastuszak took the photo above.
As seems to be usual in recent winters, Pacific Loons were reported from several coastal locations. Also as usual, very few allowed themselves to be documented clearly enough to eliminate potential confusion with other loon species. And also as usual, Race Point was an exception, with at least one Pacific Loon getting photographed there several times through February 23. Sue Finnegan took the photo above.
An Eared Grebe, originally found on New Year’s Day by Scott Schwenk, continued to provide birders at MacMillan Wharf in Provincetown with dazzling up close views through January 27. Neil Dowling took the photo above.
The state’s Tufted Duck tally for this winter grew to at least three birds. The drake on Nantucket continues through at least its third consecutive winter on the island. A female/immature bird which appeared for a couple of days in Andover in mid-January appeared to be the same one observed near Christmastime in North Reading, and probably the same seen in Peabody around Thanksgiving. These two were joined by another adult male which was found in Harwich on January 17 by Mary Jo Foti; it remained in that area for at least a month. Chris Floyd took the photo above.