It's a New Day

August 2020

Vol. 48, No. 4

Bird Sightings: March-April 2020

Neil Hayward and Robert H. Stymeist

The unusually mild and snow-free conditions of January and February continued into March. The average temperature in March was 42.1 degrees, 4.1 degrees warmer than the average for the month. Boston reached a high of 72 degrees on March 9, the second hottest on record, behind the 77 degrees set in March 2016. Precipitation totaled 3.6 inches, about a half-inch below average. The highest single day rainfall for the month was 1.38 inches on March 23. Only a trace of snow was recorded in Boston compared to the 7.8 inches that fell in March the previous year.


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Wild goose chasers were busy this period, with reports of all eight species of goose on the state list. A single Pink-footed Goose joined the continuing and long-staying pair of Barnacle Geese in the Rochester area. Cackling Geese were in short supply, with only single sightings in Essex and Worcester counties, compared to records in eight counties during the same period the previous year. A Ross's Goose, the first since November last year, made its 2020 debut in Newbury in mid-March.


A Swallow-tailed Kite was photographed in Bridgewater on March 11 and possibly the same individual was seen nearby on March 14. March reports of this species are rare in the state. The most recent March reports are from 2014, with birds recorded in Orleans and Harwich (March 12), Essex (March 15), and Nantucket (March 17). Another Swallow-tailed Kite was noted on April 11 from Truro, an area of the outer Cape that is one of the more reliable locations to see this species from mid-April through early June.

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