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October 2021

Vol. 49, No. 5

Bird Sightings: May-June 2021

Neil Hayward and Robert H. Stymeist

May 2021 was pleasant; the average temperature was 67 degrees, one degree above average for the month. The high was 92 degrees on May 26. There were only four days during the month that saw any precipitation. The total rainfall in Boston was 4.92 inches, 1.43 inches above normal. Most of the rain occurred over Memorial Day weekend. Beginning on Friday May 29, two inches of rain were recorded in Boston and the temperature on Saturday reached only 50 degrees, just one degree shy of setting a record low for that day’s high temperature. Saturday’s storm brought downpours and strong northeast winds along the coast. Cape Cod and the Islands were especially impacted, with gusts over 50 miles per hour that continued through to Monday. Birders along the coast were rewarded with great days of spring sea watching.


BALD EAGLE BY SANDY SELESKY

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WHISTLING-DUCKS THROUGH IBISES

A Black-bellied Whistling-Duck was photographed on Tuckernuck and Nantucket islands in June. This species, first recorded in Massachusetts in 2008, has been expanding its range northward. This is the first record for the state since the pandemic—the last being in September 2019, also on Nantucket. The Franklin Park Cackling Goose, first found on April 26, continued until May 1, when it qualified as only the second May record for the state—the first, also present on May 1, was at Plum Island in 1999.


VULTURES THROUGH DICKCISSEL

The hawk movement this spring was special, with six reports of Swallow-tailed Kites, all but one documented by excellent photographs. Several birds were present for multiple days, affording many birders a chance to add this species to their state or life lists. During this period there were seven reports of Mississippi Kites compared with just two last year—a reflection of how the range of this species has been expanding in recent years. One individual was photographed at the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain, a first record for Boston and Suffolk County.

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