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August 2020

Vol. 48, No. 4

Hot Birds: August 2020


Our state had several Wilson’s Plovers. A Piping Plover technician working for the Cape Cod National Seashore came across the most-observed individual on May 5 at Coast Guard Beach in Eastham. CCNS volunteer Adele Sullivan relocated it the following two days, allowing birders to see and photograph it as it foraged and chased Sanderlings and Piping Plovers. Allyson Lague, a technician for Mass Audubon’s Coastal Waterbird Program, found the next one on the beach at Allens Pond on June 5, apparently being nicer to the Piping Plovers there. Bob Murphy encountered a third at Sandy Point on Plum Island on June 19. Sue Finnegan took the photo above.


A few Golden-winged Warblers, all one-day wonders, passed through our state this past May. Glenn d’Entremont heard, but did not see, a song of the species at Wompatuck State Park on May 15, but without visual confirmation, he could not rule out it being a Brewster’s or Lawrence’s. The next day, Maili and Liam Waters spotted an adult male amid a migrant surge past High Head on Cape Cod that included over 2,000 warblers of at least 21 species, and 106 species overall. A couple of weeks later, Mike Sylvia photographed a third in Dukes County. Maili Waters took the photo above.


Ted Bradford (his photo on the right) was birding at Race Point on May 25 and discovered a Sandwich Tern in a flock of Common Terns on the beach. A few other birders glimpsed it over the next couple of days in the area amid hundreds of Common Terns, dozens of Least Terns, a few Roseates, and at least one Black Tern.


A White-winged Dove appeared on Tuckernuck Island, Nantucket, on July 13. It was found twice independently, first by island residents Zoë and William L’Écuyer who saw it at their birdfeeder. It returned to their feeder the following day. The day after that, Skyler Kardell, currently residing at the field station of the Tuckernuck Land Trust, was unaware of the L’Écuyers’ discovery when he came across the same bird at a feeder at the field station. Skyler Kardell took the photo above.


John Flagg photographed a yellow-bellied kingbird (his photo above) below Watertown Dam on July 1, and posted his photos in the FaceBook group “What’s This Bird?” It was quickly identified as either a Couch’s or Tropical Kingbird. Several birders arrived before the end of the day and relocated it. One reported hearing the bird give a Tropical-style call, but everyone else who saw it reported that it was silent while they were present. The bird has not been seen since. The location of this encounter is roughly three miles south of Rock Meadow Conservation Area, Belmont, where a confirmed Tropical Kingbird was present last October.


Maryann Fortier photographed an unfamiliar raptor on May 18, and posted it to the FaceBook discussion group Western Mass Bird Photography asking for help identifying it. To the surprise of all, it was a Mississippi Kite. It was followed by two more in the first week of June. On June 5, Chris Liazos photographed another perched by Lake Quinsigamond. Marshall Iliff added still another, which was soaring high above Borderland State Park on June 7. Maryann Fortier took the photograph above.

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