20 YEARS AGO November–December 1999 There were three reports of Greater White-fronted Geese from Turners Falls, Great Barrington and Hamilton. A Yellow Rail was flushed by a tractor mowing a wet meadow in the Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield on November 1. A count of 400 Purple Sandpipers in Boston Harbor on December 4 was exceptional. It was a good winter for Barred Owls, including a cooperative bird in the Boston Public Garden. The owl roost at Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary provided birders with seven Long-ears and two Short-ears that could be seen hunting over the fields each night. This was the second biggest year for Northern Shrikes, with at least 73 reported during the period. Rarities included a Northern Wheatear in Northampton, a MacGillivray's Warbler from the Fenway Gardens, and a Henslow's Sparrow at Great Meadows on December 31. A Boreal Chickadee continued at a feeder in West Newbury throughout the period. Best sighting: Spotted Towhee in North Hadley from December 29. This was the first record since the species was split from Rufous-sided Towhee in 1995. 40 YEARS AGO November–December 1979 Plum Island hosted a Western Grebe from November 22, which allowed some observers to approach within 15 feet. A moribund Fulvous Whistling-Duck, found on Nantucket on November 28, was the first record for the island. A pair was seen in Uxbridge, December 8–10. An Ash-throated Flycatcher was in the Cambridge–Belmont area for the first nine days of December. An adult no-tailed Green-tailed Towhee continued in South Peabody until November 4 and another one (this one with a tail) was found in East Orleans on December 16. A Brewer's Blackbird was found at Corn Hill, Truro on November 4 and one or two were on Martha's Vineyard at the end of December. A female Western Tanager was found at Duxbury on November 18. Best event: an unprecedented warm patch between November 23–28 with temperatures 17 degrees above normal and sustained south to southwest winds produced two state and New England firsts. An immature female Black-chinned Hummingbird visited a Cohasset greenhouse from November 25–December 10. Its demise allowed for positive postmortem identification and represented the second record for the northeast after a bird near Antigonish, Nova Scotia, May 30, 1964. A Lucy's Warbler was found at Clark's Pond on Great Neck, Ipswich on December 1. At the time, the only record 'east' of their southwest breeding range, was in Louisiana, December 30, 1959.