A wave of Roseate Spoonbills wandering far outside of their usual range, reached Massachusetts this summer. Buzz DeVine found one in far northwestern Connecticut on August 7, an agonizing quarter-mile from the Massachusetts line. The following morning, Matt Kelly and Pauline Banducci encountered presumably the same bird near Bartholomew’s Cobble, where it was seen intermittently through the 11th. This is Massachusett’s first record of the species, so it is definitely the top bird of the season. Matt Kelly took the photo above.
A Magnificent Frigatebird blazed a trail down the North Atlantic coast in mid-August. It was first photographed at Cape Sable, Nova Scotia, August 15. On the 19th it was seen from two locations in coastal New Hampshire, then turned up on the Isles of Shoals on August 20 and 21. The bird reached Massachusetts on August 22, putting on a show between UMass-Boston and Squantum. The lone report since then came from the vicinity of the Cape Cod Canal on September 1. Lauren Grimes took the photo above.
Here is another traveling vagrant bird. After spending several days near Lighthouse Point in Connecticut during the last week of August, an American White Pelican took a tour of Massachusetts’s south coast. The bird was spotted in Westport September 3, spent September 4-8 on Nantucket, then relocated to Orleans on the 8th, where it was seen again on the 14th. Janette Vohs took the photo above.
Tom Johnson’s surveys of pelagic seabirds from NOAA research vessels regularly yields noteworthy offshore bird sightings. Perhaps the most remarkable this summer was the Masked Booby (above) that he photographed on August 9, the sixth state record for Massachusetts. He also crossed paths with a a Bridled Tern on July 31 and a Barolo Shearwater on August 1, in addition to several encounters with Black-Capped Petrels.
Two White Ibises visited eastern Massachusetts this summer. On July 30, an adult was caught on video at Dudley Pond in Wayland. Two weeks later, on August 16, came another report from Wayland at Heard’s Pond. When birders relocated it the following day, it was a younger individual than the bird seen in July. August 18th, Joel Eckerson photographed one flying over Dighton, 40 miles to the south; photo comparisons revealed that the Dighton bird was the same individual seen at Heard’s Pond. This White Ibis had also been photographed in Nova Scotia on August 2. Lauren Grimes took the photo above.