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June 2020

Vol. 48, No. 3

Bygone Birds: Historical Highlights for January-February

Neil Hayward

5 YEARS AGO

January–February 2015

A pair of Barnacle Geese were present in Northampton from January 2–11. An Eared Grebe was back at Mashpee on January 20, possibly the same bird seen in November. An immature Purple Gallinule was found in distress in Weston on January 19 but died before rehabilitators arrived the following day. Nantucket hosted a flyby Brown Pelican on New Year's Day and a Royal Tern on January 16, the first winter record for the state. A Prairie Falcon was a nice surprise on Plum Island for the first day of 2015. What would have been a state first ended up being rejected based on photographs that showed falconer's gear attached to one of the bird's legs. A Spotted Towhee was in Chilmark and a Painted Bunting in Wellfleet. Continuing birds from December included the Townsend's Solitaire in Marion, the Townsend's Warbler in Marblehead, and the Audubon's Warbler in Hingham.

Best sighting: Black-backed Woodpecker at the Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plain, January 6. This bird stayed for over four months and was seen by many local birders.

10 YEARS AGO

January–February 2010

Rare geese included the continuing Greater White-fronted Goose in Sharon and a Barnacle Goose in South Egremont. The pair of Tundra Swans continued on Nantucket. An Eared Grebe spent four days at Marstons Mills in January. A Wood Stork was a one-day wonder in Cotuit on January 20. Another one-day surprise was a Slaty-backed Gull photographed at Eastern Point, Gloucester, on January 25. Ivory Gulls were more obliging, with an adult at Race Point, January 14–17, and a second bird at Westport on January 23. The White-winged Dove first found on the Sturbridge Christmas Bird Count continued into January at the feeders of the Bird Store and More in Sturbridge. The Allen's Hummingbird first discovered in October at a feeder in Harwich survived until January 19. A Townsend's Solitaire spent more than three weeks in Yarmouthport, while a Summer Tanager and a Painted Bunting visited feeders within three blocks of each other in Orleans.

Best sighting: Sage Thrasher at Salisbury State Park, January 11–March 28. This represents the third state record for the species, the two previous records coming from Plum Island in October 1965 and November 2005.

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