April 2022

Vol. 50, No. 2

Bird Sightings: November-December 2021

Neil Hayward and Robert H. Stymeist


November was a wet month. Boston had 11 days with precipitation totaling 13.4 inches compared with a normal for the month of 3.6 inches. A major storm on November 12 brought most of the month’s rain, resulting in severe flooding along the coast and wind gusts in excess of 50 miles per hour. The high temperature for the month in Boston was 70 degrees recorded on November 9 and November 18. That brought the total number of days for the year when the temperature in Boston reached 70 degrees or higher to 149—surpassing the previous record of 141 days set in 2010.

Juvenile Bald Eagle and Steller's Sea-Eagle by Mary Keleher
Juvenile Bald Eagle and Steller's Sea-Eagle by Mary Keleher

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The astonishing appearance of a Steller’s Sea-Eagle made this sighting the undisputed birding highlight in Massachusetts so far for the twenty-first century. It was first noted in Dighton on December 12. Nearly 400 birders flocked there on Monday December 20 to see the bird, with nearly as many missing this rarity after it disappeared in the early afternoon. Photographic evidence indicates that this individual has been traveling throughout North America for more than a year, wandering from its home in Asia and the Russian Far East. It was first spotted in Alaska on August 30, 2020, then in Victoria, Texas, on March 7, 2021, and in the Canadian Maritimes between June and November 2021, before its appearance here along the Taunton River. This individual was the first of its species to be recorded in the lower 48 states. Bird Observer devoted nearly half of the February 2022 issue—Volume 50, Number 1—to this mega-rarity.

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