August 2019

Vol. 47, No. 4

Bygone Birds: Historical Highlights for March-April

Neil Hayward

5 YEARS AGO

March–April 2014

At least two Pink-footed Geese were present in Western Massachusetts in March and a Barnacle Goose spent 11 days in Mendon. A Ross's Goose was found on Nantucket on April 4. A Tundra Swan spent a week in Sheffield. A White Ibis was spotted flying over Concord on April 4. There were probably five individual Swallow-tailed Kites reported during the period from Cape Cod and Wareham. Ruffs were reported from Newburyport Harbor and Nantucket. A Western Tanager was photographed in Auburn, and two Yellow-headed Blackbirds were in West Bridgewater and at Cumberland Farms.

Best sighting: Zone-tailed Hawk, Chappaquiddick Island, April 25. This was a first record for Massachusetts, and only the third east of the Mississippi River.

10 YEARS AGO

March–April 2009

A flock of 17 Greater White-fronted Geese at the Bear Creek Sanctuary in Saugus in March beat the previous state high count of six. An American White Pelican was seen in Westport on April 15. An early Black-necked Stilt was at Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary on April 25. Nantucket hosted a Black-backed Woodpecker at the end of April. Passerine highlights included: a Townsend's Warbler at Chestnut Hill Reservoir in Brighton from April 14–19, a Golden-crowned Sparrow in South Natick on April 18–19, a Painted Bunting at a feeder in Whately on the last day of April, and a Varied Thrush in Palmer.

Best sighting: an "invasion" of Ross's Geese. Prior to 2009 there had only been three records, all single birds. This year there were seven birds in Ipswich on March 15, eight birds in Easthampton the next day, two in Haverhill on March 19, and a single bird on Plum Island on March 22.

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