It's a New Day

December 2019

Vol. 47, No. 6

Bygone Birds: Historical Highlights for July-August

Neil Hayward


July-August 2014

The BBC August pelagic trip produced an eye-popping bounty: three Black-capped Petrels, one hundred Audubon's Shearwaters (a new high for the state), a White-faced Storm-Petrel, eight Band-rumped Storm-Petrels, a Red-billed Tropicbird, a South Polar Skua, and two Long-tailed Jaegers. A Curlew Sandpiper was a one-day wonder at Nahant on August 21. A Sabine's Gull was at Race Point on August 24. Five or six Gull-billed Terns were reported through the period. White-winged Doves were noted from three locations. A breeding plumaged male Rufous Hummingbird was present at a feeder in Townsend for five days at the end of July. An adult Red-headed Woodpecker was discovered at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord.

Best sighting: a Zone-tailed Hawk was photographed at the Cumberland Farm fields on July 8. This is the second record for the state, after the first was photographed at Chappaquiddick Island on April 25 of the same year.


July-August 2009

The July BBC pelagic trip scored 19 Audubon's Shearwaters, a new high count for the state. A White-faced Storm-Petrel was photographed from a fishing vessel 15 miles off Nantucket on August 28. A White-tailed Tropicbird, found in Carlisle on August 23, was a victim of Hurricane Bill. The same day a Gull-billed Tern was seen flying past First Encounter Beach, Eastham. On August 29 the next hurricane, Danny, brought all-time high counts of Cory's, Sooty, and Manx shearwaters past Andrew's Point and a Sabine's Gull to First Encounter Beach. A Great White Heron was present in Fairhaven from July 9–August 26. A White-winged Dove visited a feeder in Manomet in August. Continuing passerine rarities included the Henslow's Sparrow in Montague, which stayed through July 8. A Northern Wheatear was found at Crane Beach, Ipswich, on August 26. A young male Yellow-headed Blackbird was present at Great Meadows, August 9–14.

Best sighting: a Black-capped Petrel, 77 miles south of Martha's Vineyard, July 18. This was the third record for the state, the first photographed and the first seen on a BBC pelagic.

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