June 2019

Vol. 47, No. 3

Hot Birds: June 2019

A flock of 19 Tundra Swans, nearly matching the number of resident exotic Mute Swans, was found on the Turners Falls power canal by Alex Haro on March 12. They remained on the canal the following day, pleasing many local birders, but were gone the day after that. Josh Layfield took the photo above.

A Ross’ Goose, standing on the ice on the Lower Millpond in Easthampton, was photographed on March 14 by Scott Rasmussen (his photo above). After a couple of days there, Sean Williams spotted it flying over the East Meadows of Northampton among thousands of other geese including a Cackling, a White-fronted, and nearly 90 Snow; that was the last time anyone saw it in the area.

A Reeve (female Ruff) turned up on March 30 with a flock of yellowlegs in the Scotland Road Wet Meadows area of Newbury. Marj Watson was the first to document it (her photo is above), originally thinking that it was one of the yellowlegs, but when she posted her photos on Flickr, Nate Dubrow noticed and confirmed the bird’s true identity. A horde of birders enjoyed the Reeve’s continuing presence the next day, but beyond that it was not relocated.

Black Brant,
the Pacific subspecies of Brant, is extremely rare in Massachusetts… but slightly less so in Plymouth Bay. Over the past 20 years, there have been at least 8 reports of Black Brant from Plymouth Bay, including Sean Williams’ find on April 19 (his photo is above), compared to only one in the entire rest of our state. Francis Morello and Max Chalfin-Jacobs relocated the bird plus an apparent second individual the following day!

A California Gull joined the crowd of gulls of other species which regularly gathers at the Turners Falls power canal during the nonbreeding season, just in time for David Sibley to arrive and find it! (His March 14 photograph is above).The bird sadly stayed for less than an hour before flying off and was never found again. About a week later, what appeared to be the same bird was photographed in New Jersey! Only the 5th state record in MA (and NJ as well), but the first ever found away from the coast. 

Hard to believe that the 5th state record of California Gull would get upstaged as the best bird of the period, but Ken Magnuson photographed a *first* state record Black-whiskered Vireo on Martha’s Vineyard on April 21. This Caribbean specialty is a breeding resident in Florida, but is virtually never found anywhere further north, with fewer than 10 records for the entire country north of Florida. Good thing that Ken got some photos, as no one else ever saw the bird. 

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