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February 2021

Vol. 49, No. 1

Hot Birds: February 2021


Bullock’s Oriole came east in numbers this fall and winter. The first and longest-staying arrived at the feeders of Ellen Freda and Steven Magnell in Cohasset on November 2, appeared for the Quincy CBC, and has stayed on through press time in mid-January. In Seekonk on November 8, Natalie Gruppuso encountered two orioles eating crabapples together and photographed one of them. The third showed up at Amie Holen’s feeders in Haverhill December 4–14. Richard Littauer took the photo above.


The first Boreal Chickadees to irrupt into Massachusetts this autumn were uncooperative. Two reported in early November were seen briefly and not photographed. However, a friendlier one appeared in Wellfleet on December 7—only the second found on Cape Cod—and returned to the feeders of Christine and Alan Hight for the next two days. The most recent, visiting Lori van Handel’s feeders in Williamstown on December 29, has stayed over two weeks later up through press time. Peter Johnson-Staub took the photo above.


Christine Goddard of Sudbury photographed a Varied Thrush near her feeders the day before New Year’s Eve. It was the second found in New England in December. It appeared around the same time that one in Rhode Island, about 40 miles to the south, stopped showing up after a week-plus of sightings. The two were clearly different individuals—the Rhode Island bird was male and the one in Massachusetts was a female. Christine’s thrush was still visiting just before press time. Sam Zhang took the photo above.


Ben Shamgochian came across a western-type Empidonax flycatcher near Fresh Pond, Cambridge, on November 24. It remained in the area through December 16, during which time birders were able to record its calls. The recordings pointed to Pacific-Slope Flycatcher, only the second state record, coming just over a year after the state’s first appeared in Hadley. Bill Millett took the photo above.


Hoary Redpoll does not seem like a MARC review-list species this winter, with at least seven individuals reported in our state between mid-November and mid-January. Bob Stymeist found the first and most cooperative one on November 22 at the Rose Kennedy Greenway. It stayed in the area for four days, to the enjoyment of many area birders. Other Hoarys were photographed in Fitchburg December 7–10, Warwick on December 11, Plymouth on December 22, and Bolton Flats on December 24. The longest-staying bird, on Lieutenant Island in Wellfleet, showed up on December 30 and stayed until January 8. The most recent Hoary was seen on January 8 in Sandwich. Kevin Schwartz took the photo above.


On December 13, Theresa Gessing photographed a Sage Thrasher near Great Pond in Hatfield. Subsequent birders have found it in the same location through press time. Bizarrely, there were two others just outside of our state this fall and winter. Another Sage Thrasher spent the first half of November in a conservation area in eastern New York state, about 65 miles west of Hatfield. The third was found in the Hinsdale Setbacks of New Hampshire, about 35 miles north of Hatfield, during the Brattleboro CBC and, like the Massachusetts bird, is still present at the time of this writing. Julie Blue took the photo above.


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