A Varied Thrush that was reported from Carver on March 23 continued an influx of the species into the Northeast.The landowner there did not allow visitors, but in West Brookfield a property owner allowed a few birders to enjoy a male Varied Thrush that appeared at feeders April 5–6. The female that overwintered in Sudbury was last seen a month earlier, March 5. Since February 1, birders also photographed two Varied Thrushes in Rhode Island. Justin Lawson took the photo above.
Sean Williams observed perhaps the most remarkable bird of the season—a Great-tailed Grackle in Plymouth on April 10. An April 9 observation by Leslie Gomes was subsequently made. This is only the second known record for the Atlantic Coast, the first bird having spent the winter of 1983-1984 in in Nova Scotia. Our state has two previous records of grackles that were either Great- or Boat-tailed but could not be identified; recordings of its vocalizations clinched the identification of this bird.Sean Williams took the photo above.
On April 13, Frederick Bowes photographed a shorebird at Duxbury Beach that he suspected was a Pacific Golden-Plover, only the fourth Massachusetts record. However, when he circulated the photo to other birders, it turned out to be even rarer, a first state record European Golden-Plover. Upon reviewing his photos, Frederick discovered that he had encountered the bird on April 5 but had not recognized its rarity at the time. Neil Dowling took the photo above.
On May 8, Amasa and Genlyne Fiske-White found an apparent Golden-winged Warbler in Montague. It was still present on May 17. The bird has been singing a Blue-winged Warbler’s song nearly all of the time, raising some question about its parentage. A few days later, Bob Zajda encountered one in Warren, singing a slightly more typical Golden-winged song; Bob subsequently reported a female with it. Julie Blue took the photo above.
Brendan Burke spotted a Golden-crowned Sparrow by a roadside near Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, on April 28. Other birders saw it in the area through May 2. Ken Magnuson took the photo above.
When the cool weather concentrated dozens of swallows low over the water on April 18, Andy Sanford photographed an interesting one mixed in with the Cliff Swallows, which he later determined was a Cave Swallow. This species is found here occasionally in the fall and rarely in the spring; this was the first April record. Even more striking, the bird was identified to the Caribbean subspecies, the first documented in the state; all other Massachusetts records identified to subspecies have been from the southwest. Andy Sanford took the photo above.