February 2021

Vol. 49, No. 1

Bygone Birds: Historical Highlights for September-October

Neil Hayward


September–October 2015

A Brown Booby continued off outer Cape Cod throughout the period, and an adult Brown Pelican was on Nantucket on September 2. Inland, an immature Brown Pelican was found malnourished in Southborough and was rescued on September 21. A Purple Gallinule was at the Westboro WMA on October 21–23. An American Avocet spent two days in Edgartown in mid-September. Two adult Sabine’s Gulls were reported off Provincetown on September 12. The following day, an observer on Tuckernuck Island photographed a Bridled Tern. Great Barrington hosted a Rufous Hummingbird on October 11. Western flycatchers were well represented with nine Western Kingbirds and at least two Say’s Phoebes. Single Bell’s Vireos were reported from Newbury and Eastham, and another one was banded at Manomet. A Northern Wheatear spent the first six days of October at Wachusett Reservoir. A Green-tailed Towhee was a one-day wonder at Hatfield on October 27.

Best sighting: Masked Booby, West Atlantis Canyon, 90 miles south of Nantucket, September 10. This represents the first record for Massachusetts.


September–October 2010

A Barnacle Goose was in Acton and Concord from October 20 into mid-December. An adult Sharp-tailed Sandpiper was photographed on South Beach, Chatham on October 9, a week after one was reported from nearby Minimoy Island. Prior to this, there had been only three records of this species, the last in Newburyport on October 15, 1989. A Curlew Sandpiper delighted many by spending three weeks on Plum Island in October. A Gull-billed Tern divided its time between Plum Island and Ipswich for a week in mid-September. A largely silent Tropical/Couch’s Kingbird continued in Falmouth to November 2 yet failed to be identified to species. The Plum Island Scissor-tailed Flycatcher disappeared just days short of a 3-month stay. Another was seen at Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard on October 27. A Bell’s Vireo, the fourth state record, was found in Nahant on October 17–18. Warbler highlights were two Black-throated Gray Warblers (Middlesex Fells and Martha’s Vineyard), and a Swainson’s Warbler banded in Brewster, only the fourth record for the state. Great Meadows NWR hosted three species of Ammodramus sparrows (LeConte’s, Grasshopper and Nelson’s).

Best sighting: a juvenile Common Ringed Plover, South Beach, Chatham, on September 11. This represents the second record for the state after a bird seen on September 5, 1990, on nearby North Monomoy Island.

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