The first White-faced Ibis in the state this year was a Tax Day surprise for Sue Walas, who photographed it near Fairhaven on April 15. Next came the anticipated annual appearances in Essex County: the first in Ipswich near New England BioLabs April 17–24, then a second in Newbury near Scotland Road May 14–20. Shilo McDonald took the photo above.
A couple of birders who visited Mount Auburn Cemetery on April 19, before most of the warblers had even started to arrive, were richly rewarded when a Townsend’s Solitaire showed up. The vast majority of Massachusetts records of this western thrush appear in the fall; only a handful have been found in the spring. Clara Easter took the photo above.
Sean Williams picked the right morning to bring his Holy Cross ornithology students to Parker River NWR, where they discovered a Reeve and Ruff together in one of the Salt Pannes. The one-day-wonder pair were enjoyed by several birders until they disappeared late that afternoon. Another Ruff made a briefer appearance at Mass Audubon’s Allens Pond Sanctuary on June 29, showing up just long enough to be photographed in flight by Joel Eckerson. The photo is above.
Mississippi Kites appeared in twos in Massachusetts this spring. On May 26, Ted Gilliland photographed one kite in South Hadley and Will Sweet and Nick Tepper found a kite near Truro. Two kites were seen on June 5, one in Falmouth and the other in Plymouth. Two days later, a kite was spotted in Fairhaven and another was seen in Taunton. One June 19, Richard George photographed a single kite over the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. The photo above is by Nick Tepper.
A Heermann’s Gull, presumed to be the same bird that has been present in Florida for the past couple of years, caught a sudden case of wanderlust this spring. It first moved north to Tybee Island, Georgia in February and March. It was next sighted in coastal Virginia on May 12, before arriving on May 27 at Mass Audubon’s Allens Pond Sanctuary. It almost immediately moved east, first to Acoaxet, then across the state line into Rhode Island. Then it spent a few days at Cape May before returning to Georgia, where it reappeared at Tybee Island June 18. It and was most recently spotted at St. Simons Island on June 24. Joel Eckerson took the photo above.
Skyler Kardell photographed a Black-bellied Whistling-duck on Tuckernuck Island on June 2. Just over three weeks later, Trish Pastuszak found one feeding with Mallards in a yard near the downtown section of Nantucket; the homeowner shared that it had been showing up for a couple of weeks. On July 15th, Amy Roberts photographed another one at the Falmouth salt pond. Ginger Andrews relocated the bird on Tuckernuck on the 15th as well, confirming that at least two individuals are present in the state this summer, if not three or more. The photo above is by Skyler Kardell.