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April 2022

Vol. 50, No. 2

Bygone Birds: Historical Highlights for November-December

Neil Hayward

5 YEARS AGO

November–December 2016

Single Pink-footed Geese were reported in West Newbury, Cape Cod (flyover), Concord, Cambridge Reservoir in Waltham, and Hadley. On December 28, Plum Island hosted a Ross’s Goose and a Snow x Ross’s Goose hybrid. White-winged Doves were reported from Nantucket and Edgartown, as well as a pair found in the Fenway Victory Gardens in Boston. A Franklin’s Gull was photographed off Truro on December 4. A Hammond’s Flycatcher in the Middlesex Fells Reservation in Medford was the fifth record for the state. The well-watched Gray Kingbird continued in Hyannis until November 2. The Bell’s Vireo banded at Manomet in October continued at nearby Holmes Farm until November 25. Single Sedge Wrens were at Fort Hill, Eastham, and Sandwich. Townsend’s Solitaires were found in Somerset and Essex. A Mountain Bluebird was discovered at Turners Falls on November 13. Harris’s Sparrows were at feeders in Westboro and Dalton, while Painted Buntings were in Melrose and Nantucket.

Best sighting: an Elegant Tern off Wellfleet on November 19 was the third record for the state.

10 YEARS AGO

November–December 2011

Rare geese included a Pink-footed Goose in Saugus and Lynn, with a second in Rutland, and a Barnacle Goose in West Newbury. A Brown Booby—presumed to be the same individual discovered in Dennis on August 31—continued through the end of the year in Provincetown. Two female Rufous Hummingbirds were banded in Wareham and in Lunenburg. There was an “invasion” of Ash-throated Flycatchers with five individuals throughout the state. Other rare flycatchers included a Cassin’s Kingbird—the fourth for the state—discovered in West Newbury in late November, and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers on Nantucket and in Orleans. A Henslow’s Sparrow was found in Dorchester. More usual suspects included a cooperative Western Tanager in Falmouth and Painted Buntings in Eastham, Nantucket, and Methuen, with a Yellow-headed Blackbird on Nantucket.

Best Christmas present: a Townsend’s Warbler appeared on Christmas morning at the feeder of Jim and Nat Berry in Ipswich. Their hospitality in sharing the bird was appreciated by hundreds of local birders.

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