It's a New Day

December 2019

Vol. 47, No. 6

Twenty-third Report of the Massachusetts Avian Records Committee

Sean M. Williams, Marshall Iliff, and Tim Spahr


Black-whiskered Vireo. April 21, 2019. Edgartown Golf Club, Edgartown. Photo by Ken Magnuson.

The 23rd report of the Massachusetts Avian Records Committee (MARC) evaluates 111 records involving 54 species. The MARC accepted 97 of those records.

One new species, a Black-whiskered Vireo, was added to the official state list. Native to the Caribbean north to Florida, it was photographed by Ken Magnuson at the Edgartown Golf Club on Martha's Vineyard on April 21, 2018. This brings the Massachusetts state list to 504 species.

This report includes second state records of Trumpeter Swan, Eurasian Hobby, Tropical Kingbird, and Painted Redstart.

The second record of Trumpeter Swan (the first was in 2018) visited a moderately developed pond in Milford. Found by Bette Robo on January 28, 2019, the bird remained until February 13, disappearing during an extreme cold spell. Dozens of observers enjoyed close views and diagnostic booming bugles of this individual.

Early in the morning of October 14, 2018, a stellar Painted Redstart popped up in front of Mike Sylvia on Cuttyhunk Island and promptly disappeared. Fortuitously, a boatful of birders on a planned trip to the island arrived just in time to attempt to refind the redstart. Mike encountered the bird again at 8:30 am, vocalizing, on private property and grabbed two nearby observers within earshot. After a few minutes, the bird moved downhill and out of sight, and unfortunately, was not seen again despite a full day of effort by more than a dozen observers.


Eurasian Hobby. May 13, 2019. 100 miles south of Nantucket. Photo by Allison Black.

On May 13, 2019, while conducting seabird and marine mammal surveys well offshore, Allison Black photographed a strange falcon that landed on her NOAA vessel. The strong moustachial stripe, striped breast, and the orange undertail coverts identified this bird as a Eurasian Hobby. During intensely high seas and rain, the small falcon circled the ship and landed several times over a period of 45 minutes.

On June 15, 2019, Lisa Schibley visited Mass Audubon's Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary to follow up on a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher report. Upon her arrival, a different flycatcher with a bright yellow belly whizzed past her. Although Western Kingbird is the default yellow-bellied kingbird in Massachusetts, Lisa ruled out this species due to this kingbird's large bill and lack of white on the outer vane of the outer rectrix. She alerted the community to the presence of a Tropical or Couch's Kingbird, which according to some authorities are impossible to distinguish based on plumage alone. Audio recording subsequently confirmed it as a Tropical Kingbird, a second state record. After Lisa's report, another observer, Nancy Blake, realized that she had photographed the bird the previous day. It remained until July 4. The source population for vagrant Tropical Kingbirds is not well known; some may represent austral migrants.

During a NOAA cruise for mammal and seabird surveys in July and August 2018, Skye Haas photographed several noteworthy rarities for Massachusetts deep waters, including a third state record of Masked Booby and Trindade Petrel, two Red-billed Tropicbirds, and two Brown Boobies. These sightings occurred during a month of daily surveys beyond the continental shelf. Another survey in 2019 yielded similar results (those records have not yet been reviewed by the committee). The results pose the question: Are these pelagic species true rarities in Massachusetts, or are they part of the regular cast of the fauna in a relatively inaccessible area? With ocean temperatures warming overall and showing occasional "heat waves" that affect the distribution of better-known species, the question arises if the distribution of these species is changing as well. The answer is yes for Brown Booby, but much less clear for the other species.


California Gull. March 17, 2019. Turners Falls Power Canal, Turners Falls. Photo by David Sibley.

David Sibley found a California Gull bathing with the local gull crowd at Turners Falls in Montague. The gull departed with some Herring Gulls less than an hour later, and extensive searching later in the day yielded no additional sightings. This was a fourth state record, the first since 2005, and the first for a landlocked county in Massachusetts.

During an International Shorebird Survey at the Powder Hole on Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) on August 19, 2018, Sean Williams, Marshall Iliff, Sue Finnegan, and John Pratt sighted a worn, male "ringed" plover, apparently in first-summer plumage. The bird appeared larger, paler, and with a more prominent eyebrow than nearby Semipalmated Plovers. Lack of webbing between the toes and a vocalization confirmed the identification as a Common Ringed Plover, a fifth state record. Sean and Marshall saw what was almost certainly the same individual on September 2 on a beach roost at high tide, five miles north of the original location. (The MARC formally considered it the same bird, based partly on plumage details.)

A Sage Thrasher dashed by Logan Kahle at Low Beach on Nantucket on November 25, 2018. Its stealthy habits evaded many observers, although some fortunate souls caught up with the bird the next day. This was a fourth state record and the first for Nantucket County.

The committee accepted a 1990 report of a Ross's Gull by the legendary, late Richard Forster, who sighted the bird on Niles Pond in Gloucester on February 1. Although no photographs were obtained, this experienced observer published an extensive account of his encounter in Bird Observer June 1990, volume 18, number 3, covering all plumage aspects and addressing potential identification pitfalls. Old, credible reports such as these are vital, exemplary pieces of ornithological history in Massachusetts. This was a second state record.

Favorable southwesterly winds and a long-term increase at the northern edge of the range combined for an exceptional year for Mississippi Kites, especially away from Cape Cod. Nine records were accepted in 2019, which was more than any other previous year.

The 2018–19 roster of MARC voting members included Nick Block, Marshall Iliff, Jessica Johnson, Wayne Petersen, David Sibley, Ryan Schain, Tim Spahr (chair), Jim Sweeney, and Larry Therrien. Sean Williams served as a nonvoting secretary.

Species taxonomy and nomenclature follow the seventh edition of the American Ornithological Society (AOS, formerly American Ornithologists' Union) Check-list of North American Birds (AOU 1998) and its supplements (Chesser et al. 2009, Chesser et al. 2010, Chesser et al. 2011, Chesser et al. 2012, Chesser et al. 2013, Chesser et al. 2014, Chesser et al. 2015, Chesser et al. 2016, Chesser et al. 2017, Chesser et al. 2018, Chesser et al. 2019).

The list of species reviewed by the MARC (the Review List) is available at maavianrecords.com. Please check the Review List to send evidence of records that are not listed in our Searchable Database—even in this Information Age we often do not receive sufficient information for many records. The committee strongly encourages written submissions even when photographs are available.

The statistics in brackets for each species or taxon show the number of records accepted in this report, followed by the total number of accepted records for that species. Species that lack statistics are species for which we have a relatively poor handle on the number of actual records, or it is a species reviewed due to its unseasonality. Below, we present data for all records covered, formatted as such: Record identification number, count of individuals, location, range of observation dates, original observers, and observers submitting documentation. We credit the discoverer with an asterisk (*). We indicate whether the evidence provided was photographic (ph), video (v), audio (au), or a written submission (†).

Accepted Records

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) [3 records accepted in this report, 12 total accepted records]

2018-052: 1 at Gooseberry Neck, Westport, Bristol, 7/29/2018 [Joel Eckerson* (ph)].

2019-036: 1 at Madaket, Nantucket, 6/10/19 to 6/12/19 [Trish Pastuszak* (ph)].

2019-037: 6 at Red Brook Wildlife Management Area, Wareham, Plymouth, 6/19/19 [David Hollie* (ph)].

Ross's Goose (Anser rossii) [5, 34]

2018-047: 1 at Children's Island, Marblehead Harbor, Essex, 9/22/2018 [Susan Hedman* (ph)].

2018-049: 1 at Mill Pond, South Egremont, Berkshire, 12/22/2018 [Jonathan Pierce* (ph)].

2019-002: 1 at Tedesco Country Club, Marblehead, and Forest River, Marblehead/Salem, Essex, 1/12/2019 to 1/13/2019 [Constance Lapite* (ph), Rick Cuzner* (ph)].

2019-004: 1 at Plum Island, Newburyport, Essex, 2/10/2019 [Sebastian Jones* (ph), Ted Bradford* (ph)].

2019-005: 1 at Lower Mill Pond, Easthampton, and East Meadows, Northampton, Hampshire, 3/14/2019 to 3/16/2019 [Scott Rasmussen* (ph) and Sean Williams* (ph)].

Ross's Goose records continue to increase. The Children's Island bird represents a record early date and the first September record for the state. Elimination of potential hybrids has been a contentious issue for the MARC, so observers are advised to describe the shape of the head and bill in detail and obtain photos from as close a range as possible.

Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus) [1, 18]

2018-069: 1 at Argilla-Northgate-Essex Fields, Ipswich, Essex, 11/8/2018 to 11/15/2018 [Phil Brown* (ph)].

Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) [1, 2]

2019-010: 1 at Milford Pond, Milford, Worcester, 1/28/2019 to 2/13/2019 [Bette Robo* (ph)].

Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus) [2, 3 since 2017]

2019-009: 19 at Turners Falls Power Canal, Turners Falls, Franklin, 03/11/2019 to 03/12/2019 [Alex Haro*, Aaron Hulsey (ph)].

2019-034: 3 at Bridgewater State Hospital, Bridgewater, Plymouth, 3/16/19 [Marshall Iliff* (ph)].


Curlew Sandpiper. May 25, 2019. Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, Chatham. Photo by Jeffrey Offermann.

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) [2, 28]

2019-006: 1 at Long Pond, Harwich, Barnstable, 1/17/2019 to 1/30/2019 [Mary Jo Foti* (ph)].

2018-073: 1 at Higgins Marsh, South Peabody, Essex, 11/22/2018 to 01/13/2019 [Zoltan Poleretsky* (ph)].

Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) [1, 12]

2019-001: 1 at MacMillan Wharf, Provincetown, Barnstable, 1/1/2019 to 1/26/2019 [Scott Schwenk*† (ph)].

Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) [1, 10]

2018-041: 1 at Granite Pier to Andrews Point, Rockport, Essex, 11/19/2018 to 12/01/2018 [Brian Harris* (ph)].

White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica) [1, 26]

2017-139: 1 at Starfish Lane, Chatham, Barnstable, 5/19/2017 [Fred Atwood*].

Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) [1, 37]

2018-051: 1 at Lafayette Drive, Peru, Berkshire, 7/26/2018 [Ed Neumuth* (ph)].

Rufous Hummingbird records seem to be on the decline in recent years; July records often pertain to adult males, as with this bird.


Little Stint. July 31, 2018. Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, Chatham. Photo by Sean Williams

Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinica) [1, 11]

2019-026: 1 at Cohasset Golf Course, Cohasset, Norfolk, January 2019 [Sally Avery* (ph)].

Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula) [1, 5]

2018-037: 1 at Monomoy NWR, Chatham, Barnstable, 8/19/2018 to 9/2/2018 [Sue Finnegan*, Marshall Iliff* (ph), John Pratt*, Sean Williams*† (ph, au, vi)].

With only one record until the state's second in 2010, the four records since 2013 (one still pending MARC review) reflect a notable increase, probably due more to increased observer awareness of this subtle identification than a change in status.

Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea) [1, 5]

2019-035: 1 at Monomoy NWR, Morris Island, Chatham, Barnstable, 5/19/19 to 5/30/19 [David Clapp*, Joel Wagner (ph)].

Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis) [1, 14]

2019-029: 1 at Parker River NWR, Newburyport, Essex, 7/15/2019 to 7/18/2019 [David Adrien* (ph)].

Little Stint (Calidris minuta) [1, 8]

2018-036: 1 at Monomoy NWR, Chatham, Barnstable, 7/31/2018 [Maili Waters*† (ph), Sean Williams*† (ph)].

South Polar Skua (Stercorarius maccormicki)

2018-058: 2 at 41.0447,-69.5588, Nantucket, 08/25/2018 [Brookline Bird Club (BBC) Extreme Pelagic].

Ross's Gull (Rhodostethia rosea) [1, 2]

1990-07: 1 at Niles Pond, Gloucester, Essex, 2/1/1990 [Richard Forster*].

Mew Gull (Larus canus) [3, 22]

2018-074: 2 at King's Beach, Lynn, Essex, 11/24/2018 to 2/6/2019 [Suzanne Sullivan* (ph)].

2018-075: 1 at Loblolly Cove, Gloucester, Essex, 11/27/2018 [Ryan Doherty* (ph)].

2019-040: 1 at Race Point, Provincetown, Barnstable, 4/7/19 to 4/17/19 [Peter Flood* (ph)].

Mew Gull records have been surging in recent years, and have involved at least three taxa: Larus canus canus from western Europe, Larus canus brachyrhynchus from the Pacific coast of North America, and birds matching Larus canus kamtschatschensis from east Asia. The MARC has yet to formally assess the subspecies of these records, but plans to review these records at that level as well.

California Gull (Larus californicus) [1, 6]

2019-003: 1 at Turners Falls Power Canal, Montague, Franklin, 03/17/2019 [David Sibley* (ph)].

Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica) [2, 12]

2019-038: 1 at The Club at New Seabury, Mashpee, Barnstable, 4/28/19 to 5/1/19 [Mary Keleher* (ph)].

2019-039: 1 at Demarest Lloyd State Park, Dartmouth, Bristol, 6/3/19 [Nicole Kirkos* (ph)].

Red-billed Tropicbird (Phaethon aethereus) [4, 8]

2014-073: 1 at North of Dogbody Canyon, Nantucket, 8/24/2014 [BBC Extreme Pelagic].

2015-074: 1 at Hydrographer/Welker Canyon, Nantucket, 8/22/2015 [BBC Extreme Pelagic].

2018-034: 1 at 40.429,-66.637, Nantucket, 7/24/2018 [Skye Haas* (ph)].

2018-035: 2 at 40.54283,-66.526, Nantucket, 8/14/2018 [Skye Haas* (ph)].

Pacific Loon (Gavia pacifica)

2018-060: 1 at Race Point, Provincetown, Barnstable, 9/30/2018 to 10/20/2018 [Kate Sutherland*, Peter Flood* (ph)].

2018-065: 1 at Little Harbor Beach, Wareham, Plymouth, 10/2/2018 to 10/3/2018 [Lisa Schibley* (ph)].

2018-072: 2 at Race Point, Provincetown, Barnstable, 11/21/2018 to 02/03/2019 [Peter Flood* (ph), Kate Sutherland* (ph)].

2018-077: 1 at Andrews Point, Rockport, Essex, 12/16/2018 [Nathan Dubrow* (ph)].

2019-007: 1 at Salt Pond, Falmouth, Barnstable, 01/30/2019 to 02/03/2019 [Evan Dalton* (ph)].

Trindade Petrel (Pterodroma arminjoniana) [1, 3]

2018-030: 1 at Bear Mount Canyon, Nantucket, 8/9/2018 [Skye Haas* (ph)].

Likely more regular than the three records suggest, all Trindade Petrels have been found by seabird researchers from waters south of the continental shelf—beyond the reach of recent organized pelagic trips. Whether the three recent records are solely from increased recent coverage of deep waters or because of recent increases in ocean temperatures is unknown.

Masked Booby (Sula dactylatra) [1, 3]

2018-032: 1 at Munson Canyon, Nantucket, 8/13/2018 [Skye Haas* (ph)].

Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) [8, 16]

2018-053: 1 at 39.852,-67.908, Nantucket, 7/30/2018 [Skye Haas* (ph)].

2018-054: 1 at Menemsha, Chilmark, Martha's Vineyard, Dukes, 8/6/2018 to 8/9/2018 [Laurie Lee* (ph)].

2018-055: 1 at 39.852,-67.908, Nantucket, 8/14/2018 [Skye Haas* (ph)].

2018-056: 1 at Onota Lake, Pittsfield, Berkshire, 8/17/2018 to 8/20/2018 [Rene Wendell* (ph)].

2018-059: 1 at Andrews Point, Rockport, Essex, 9/2/2018 [Rick Heil* (ph)].

2019-030: 1 at pelagic waters- 40.00651167, -70.8296933, Nantucket, 7/9/2019 [Allison Black* (ph)].

2019-031: 1 at pelagic waters- 39.58307167, -70.56025167, Nantucket, 7/10/2019 [Allison Black* (ph)].

2019-032: 1 at pelagic waters- 39.80960833, -70.482395, Nantucket, 7/10/2019 [Allison Black* (ph)].

Brown Booby has shown perhaps the most astonishing change in status across all species in Massachusetts in the past decade and the MARC still requests formal submissions to help document this remarkable change. Allison Black's three birds across two days matches the state total up until 2005. Of particular note is the state's second inland record, which was also a Berkshire first.


Tropical Kingbird. June 17, 2018. Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary, Marshfield. Photo by Nancy Maciolek Blake.

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) [1, 28]

2018-076: 2 at Parker River NWR, Newburyport, Essex, 11/30/2018 to 12/1/2018 [Rick Heil* (ph)].

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) [2, 17]

2018-039: 1 at Nauset Light Beach, Eastham, Barnstable, 7/29/2018 [Tim Spahr*†, Brian Harris*].

2019-020: 1 at Monomoy NWR, Morris Island, Chatham, Barnstable, 5/11/2019 [Sonya Silk*, Kristina McOmber*, Keelin Miller* (ph)].

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) [2, 5]

2019-018: 1 at Plum Island, Newburyport, Essex, 4/25/2019 [Andrea Bean* (ph), Marjorie Watson* (ph)].

2019-028: 1 at Route 1A, Newbury, Essex, 6/24/19 [Andy Sanford* (ph)].

White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi) [3, 28]

2018-050: 1 at Clark Pond, Ipswich, Essex, 7/14/2018 [Cammy Kaynor* (ph)].

2019-024: 1 at Argilla-Northgate-Essex Fields, Ipswich, Essex, 5/16/2019 [Chris Floyd*].

2019-056: 1 at Cape Ann Golf Course, Essex, Essex, 6/21/19 to 6/22/19 [Margo Goetschkes* (ph), Steve Grinley*].


Lark Bunting. September 30, 2018. Hatches Harbor Fire Road, Provincetown. Photo by Maili Waters.

Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) [1, 15]

2019-053: 1 at Gay Head cliffs, Aquinnah, Martha's Vineyard, Dukes, 5/21/19 [Ted Gilliland* (ph)].

Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis) [9, 27]

2019-044: 1 at Willowbend Country Club, Mashpee, Barnstable, 5/22/19 [Mary Keleher* (ph)].

2019-045: 3 at Gay Head cliffs, Aquinnah, Martha's Vineyard, Dukes, 5/22/19 [Ted Gilliland* (ph)].

2019-046: 1 at Ocean View Farm Reserve, Dartmouth, Bristol, 5/22/19 [Marshall Iliff* (ph)].

2019-047: 1 at Oak Street, Dighton, Bristol, 5/26/19 [Joel Eckerson* (ph), Mark Eckerson*, Matthew Eckerson* (ph), Andy Eckerson*].

2019-048: 1 at Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary, Plymouth, Plymouth, 6/1/19 [Cindi Jackson* (ph)].

2019-049: 2 at Pilgrim Heights, North Truro, Barnstable, 6/4/19 [Maryellen Stone* (ph)].

2019-050: 1 at Arrowhead Road, North Truro, Barnstable, 6/4/19 [Chris Floyd* (ph)].

2019-051: 1 at Shore Road, North Truro, Barnstable, 6/23/19 [Ted Bradford* (ph)].

2019-052: 1 at Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary, Plymouth, Plymouth, 6/23/19 [Brian Vigorito (ph)].

Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo) [1, 2]

2019-021: 1 at pelagic waters- 39.74899667, -70.8283983, Nantucket, 5/13/2019 [Allison Black* (ph)].

Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya) [2, 12]

2018-061: 1 at Cuttyhunk Island, Dukes, 9/30/2018 [Mike Sylvia* (ph)].

2018-067: 1 at Carter & Stevens Farm, Barre, Worcester, 10/12/2018 to 10/13/2018 [Allison O'Hare*, Bette Robo (ph)].

Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus) [1, 2]

2019-022: 1 at Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary, Marshfield, Plymouth, 6/14/2019 to 7/4/2019 [Lisa Schibley* (ph), Nancy Blake* (ph), Sean Williams (au)].

Gray Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis) [1, 3]

2018-045: 1 at Miacomet Avenue, Nantucket, Nantucket, 11/04/2018 to 11/05/2018 [Nannette Orr*, Tom Griswold*, Kim Griswold*, Peter Trimble (ph)].

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus) [2, 5]

2018-070: 1 at Salisbury Beach State Reservation, Salisbury, Essex, 11/8/2018 to 11/9/2018 [Judy Parrot-Willis* (ph), Marjorie Watson*].

2019-055: 1 at Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary, Marshfield, Plymouth, 6/14/19 to 6/15/19 [Lisa Schibley* (ph), Nancy Maciolek Blake* (ph)].

Bell's Vireo (Vireo bellii) [1, 12]

2018-042: 1 at Fort Hill, Eastham, Barnstable, 10/8/2018 to 10/9/2018 [Tim Spahr* (ph)].

Black-whiskered Vireo (Vireo altiloquus) [1, 1]

2019-013: 1 at Edgartown Golf Club, Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, Dukes, 4/21/2019 [Ken Magnuson* (ph)].

Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) [2, 5]

2019-041: 1 at Turners Falls Airport, Montague, Franklin, 6/3/19 [Peter Gagarin* (ph)].

2019-042: 1 at Gay Head, Aquinnah, Martha's Vineyard, Dukes, 5/24/19 [Ted Gilliland* (ph)].

Sage Thrasher (Oreoscoptes montanus) [1, 4]

2018-043: 1 at Low Beach, Siasconset, Nantucket, Nantucket, 11/25/2018 to 11/26/2018 [Logan Kahle* (ph)].

Townsend's Solitaire (Myadestes townsendi) [2, 18]

2018-064: 1 at Monomoy NWR, Chatham, Barnstable, 10/1/2018 [Valerie Bourdeau* (ph)].

2018-068: 1 at Duck Harbor Road, Wellfleet, Barnstable, 10/18/2018 [Greg Ward* (ph)].

Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius) [1, 16]

2019-008: 1 at Madaket, Nantucket, Nantucket, 02/17/2019 to 03/26/2019 [Trish Pastuszak* (ph)].

Hoary Redpoll (Acanthis hornemanni) [1, 12]

2019-011: 1 at Fort Hill Road, Easthampton, Hampshire, 2/6/2019 [Brian Kulvete* (ph), Joseph Oliviero* (ph)].

Lark Bunting (Calamospiza melanocorys) [1, 8]

2018-062: 1 at Hatches Harbor Fire Road, Provincetown, Barnstable, 9/30/2018 [Neil Blok*, Maili Waters (ph), Sean Williams (ph)].

LeConte's Sparrow (Ammospiza leconteii) [1, 14]

2018-079: 1 at Betty's Neck, Lakeville, Plymouth, 12/30/2018 to 1/6/2019 [Mark Faherty* (ph)].

Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) [2, 4 since 2017]

2019-015: 1 at Pilgrim Lake, Orleans, Barnstable, 4/24/2019 [Nick Tepper* (ph)].

2019-016: 1 at Fannie Stebbins Wildlife Refuge, Longmeadow, Hampden, 4/24/2019 [Michele Moore*].

MacGillivray's Warbler (Geothlypis tolmiei) [1, 13]

2009-60: 1 at Fenway Victory Gardens, Boston, Suffolk, 11/17/2009 to 12/16/2009 [Paul Peterson*, Jeremiah Trimble (ph), Margo Goetschkes (ph), Ryan Schain (ph)].

Black-throated Gray Warbler (Setophaga nigrescens) [3, 18]

2018-066: 1 at Nantucket Island, Nantucket, 10/6/2018 [Nick Ernst*, Brian Harris* (ph)].

2018-071: 1 at Phillips Beach, Swampscott, Essex, 11/11/2018 to 11/15/2018 [Dana Crowley* (ph)].

2018-063: 1 at Gooseberry Neck, Westport, Bristol, 9/30/2018 [Andy Eckerson*† (ph), Joel Eckerson*, Matthew Eckerson* (ph), Paul Champlin*].

The Phillips Beach bird was last seen when it was depredated by a Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)—similar outcomes likely befall many tired vagrants.


Painted Redstart. October 14, 2018. Cuttyhunk Island, Cuttyhunk. Photo by Sean Williams.

Townsend's Warbler (Setophaga townsendi) [2, 19]

2018-057: 1 at Nantucket Island, Nantucket, 8/24/2018 [Evita Caune* (ph)].

2019-054: 1 at Beech Forest, Provincetown, Barnstable, 5/5/2019 [Philip Kyle* (ph)].

Painted Redstart (Myioborus pictus)

2018-044: 1 at Cuttyhunk Island, Dukes, 10/14/2018 [Mike Sylvia* (ph), Maili Waters† (ph), Sean Williams† (ph)].

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) [1, 25]

2018-078: 1 at Court Street, Newton, Middlesex, 12/26/2018 to 1/4/2019 [Jacob Hesterman*, Sebastian Jones (ph)]

Records Not Accepted

Ross's Goose

2018-048: 1 at Bartholomew's Cobble, Sheffield, Berkshire, 10/13/2018.

Some members found the distant, in flight photos to be acceptable documentation for a pure Ross's goose, but several members felt a Snow x Ross's Goose hybrid could not be eliminated and the record was thus not acceptable.

Western Grebe

2019-027: 1 at Quabbin Reservoir, Shutesbury, Franklin, 6/19/2019.

The brief description did not eliminate other possibilities.

White-winged Dove

2019-014: 1 at The Club at New Seabury, Mashpee, Barnstable, 4/22/2019.

Some members found the combination of distant photos and description acceptable, but some were concerned about the brief description and failure to fully eliminate Eurasian Collared-Dove.

Bermuda Petrel

2018-031: 1 at Hydrographer Canyon, Nantucket, 8/18/2018.

Members thought the brief description of a highly significant rarity was not sufficient for acceptance.

Barolo Shearwater

2018-033: 1 at Munson Canyon, Nantucket, Nantucket, 8/13/2018.

Members thought the brief description of a highly significant rarity was not sufficient for acceptance.

Little Egret

2019-019: 1 at Pikul's Farm, Rowley, Essex, 5/4/2019.

The distant photos and brief observation in the field, not supported by detailed field notes, was not considered sufficient, especially with hybrid egrets a potential concern.

White-faced Ibis

2019-023: 1 at Scotland Road, Newbury, Essex, 4/20/2019.

2019-025: 1 at Chebacco Woods, Hamilton, Essex, 5/17/2019

Some members thought the photos of the Chebacco Woods bird were sufficient for acceptance, while others were concerned about the poor quality of the images. Furthermore, members were troubled that this record lacked any written description. Photos from the Scotland Road record matched Glossy Ibis not White-faced.

Swallow-tailed Kite

2005-062: 1 at east of Bourne Bridge, Bourne, Barnstable, 4/16/2005.

Hoary Redpoll

2018-046: 1 at Pine Hill Road Grasslands, Bolton, Worcester, 12/6/2018.

Putative Hoary Redpoll records are difficult to assess, especially when only seen from below. Committee members were split on the identification of the Pine Hill Road's bird, but all agreed that photos showing the bird in profile or showing the upperparts would have been helpful.

Boat-tailed Grackle

2018-040: 1 at Western Avenue, Essex, Essex, 4/29/2018.

The audio recording likely represented a mimid (e.g., Gray Catbird), possible with Boat-tailed Grackle-like phrases learned from the wintering grounds.

Golden-winged Warbler

2019-017: 1 at Jason Street marsh, Pittsfield, Berkshire, 4/24/2019.

Elimination of hybrids remains important in records of this species. The brief description here was not unanimously thought to be conclusive.

Literature Cited

  • American Ornithologists' Union. 1998. Check-list of North American Birds, 7th ed. Lawrence, Kansas: American Ornithologists' Union.
  • Chesser, R. T., R. C. Banks, F. K. Barker, C. Cicero, J. L. Dunn, A. W. Kratter, I. J. Lovette, P. C. Rasmussen, J. V. Remsen Jr., J. D. Rising, D. F. Stotz, and K. Winker. 2009. Fiftieth Supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list of North American Birds. Auk 126 (3): 705–714.
  • Chesser, R. T., R. C. Banks, F. K. Barker, C. Cicero, J. L. Dunn, A. W. Kratter, I. J. Lovette, P. C. Rasmussen, J. V. Remsen Jr., J. D. Rising, D. F. Stotz, and K. Winker. 2010. Fifty-first Supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list of North American Birds. Auk 127 (3): 726–744.
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  • Chesser, R. T., R. C. Banks, F. K. Barker, C. Cicero, J. L. Dunn, A. W. Kratter, I. J. Lovette, P. C. Rasmussen, J. V. Remsen Jr., J. D. Rising, D. F. Stotz, and K. Winker. 2012. Fifty-third supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list of North American Birds. Auk 129 (3): 573–588.
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Northern Fulmar, September 2019 BBC pelagic. Photographs by Neil Dowling.

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