It's a New Day

October 2019

Vol. 47, No. 5

Bygone Birds: Historical Highlights for May-June

Neil Hayward

5 YEARS AGO

May–June 2014

A Eurasian Collared-Dove was found on Nantucket during the Mass Audubon Bird-a-thon, May 16-17, and a White-winged Dove was on Crane Beach, Ipswich on June 27. A Yellow-nosed Albatross was spotted by the naturalist aboard the Seven Seas whalewatch boat, just seven miles off Gloucester. At the end of June a pelagic trip to Hydrographer Canyon reported eight Audubon's Shearwaters, two White-faced Storm-Petrels, and a South Polar Skua. Rare shorebirds included Wilson's Plover, which was recorded in three locations in May, a Black-necked Stilt at Plum Island and in the Rowley area between May 28–June 4, an American Avocet at Plum Island and Ipswich for most of June, and a Ruff at Plum Island, May 20–22. A Franklin's Gull was photographed at Plymouth Beach on June 10, and a Little Egret was on Nantucket on May 17 and nearby Tuckernuck Island on May 19. A Swainson's Hawk was photographed migrating north over Plum Island on May 3. The following day a Swallow-tailed Kite was seen flying over Cohasset. The best of the passerine rarities was a Fork-tailed Flycatcher at Mount Auburn Cemetery, May 13–14.

Best sighting: Fea's Petrel, Stellwagen Bank, June 25. This bird, photographed on a whalewatch cruise, was a first record for Massachusetts.

10 YEARS AGO

May–June 2009

A Purple Gallinule was photographed on Nantucket in June. Shorebird highlights included Black-necked Stilts at three locations, an American Avocet at Rowley on May 20, and a Curlew Sandpiper at Duxbury Beach on May 24. A weather system in mid-June brought rare pelagic species within sight of land-based birders; South Polar Skuas were recorded from Rockport and Tuckernuck Island, a Black-capped Petrel was seen off Race Point in Provincetown on June 23, and an Audubon's Shearwater was seen the same day off Nantucket. Nantucket also hosted an unlikely Black-backed Woodpecker between May 8–17. Three Swallow-tailed Kites in Brewster on May 10 represented the first time multiple individuals of this species had been seen together in the state. An adult Fork-tailed Flycatcher was a one-day wonder on Nantucket, May 7.

Best sighting: a singing male Henslow's Sparrow, Montague, June 27. This was the first potential breeder since a pair successfully bred in Lincoln in 1994.

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