August 2022

Vol. 50, No. 4

Bird Sightings: March-April 2022

Neil Hayward and Robert H. Stymeist


The weather in March was generally uneventful. The average temperature in Boston for the month was 46 degrees and the high was 68 degrees on March 18. Areas west and north saw temperature readings into the low 70s. There was a pleasant stretch of mild weather between March 14–22 when the average temperature in Boston was a balmy 56 degrees. A blast of arctic air arrived at the end of the month; the high on March 28 was just 33 degrees in Boston, which tied the previous record set in 1893 for the lowest high temperature on that date. Rainfall for the month totaled 2.78 inches, 1.4 inches below the average with measurable precipitation falling on 18 days. Snowfall totaled 2.1 inches, 5.7 inches below the normal for March. Most of that snow came from a storm system that passed south of New England on March 9, dropping 1.4 inches of snow on Boston. Higher amounts were reported to the west, with Royalston receiving 5.5 inches and Newburyport 4.3 inches.


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This has been an exciting winter for Pink-footed Geese in the Northeast. In December, a flock of four birds was found at Longmeadow, which represented a new high count for the United States. This flock spent much of the winter to the immediate south in Connecticut. Assuming these were the same birds, the group was spotted again returning north at Longmeadow on March 6–7, and then later in the Hadley area. This once exceptionally rare goose has now been recorded in the state in each of the past nine years. A flock of 362 Snow Geese that flew over Rowley on March 7 was the highest period count for 15 years.


A Swainson’s Hawk, photographed in a kettle of vultures at Race Point, Provincetown, on April 13, is the fifth record from that location. Previous reports of this migratory hawk are September 9, 1994, August 23, 1996, June 25–October 15, 1997, and October 3, 1998. A Swallow-tailed Kite was photographed from North Truro on April 16. This species has been reported six times in recent years from Outer Cape Cod, as well as numerous areas elsewhere on the peninsula. Hawkwatchers stationed at Lot 1 on Plum Island estimated over 925 migrating American Kestrels. This was the second highest number since 2006. The best year was 2011 when 1,206 individuals were counted. Other totals from Plum Island included 83 Merlins, 125 Northern Harriers, and 106 Sharp-shinned Hawks. A Snowy Owl present most of the winter on Plum Island was last reported on April 17 and another bird was noted from Lowell on April 27.

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