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December 2022

Vol. 50, No. 6

Bygone Birds: Historical Highlights for July-August

Neil Hayward

5 YEARS AGO

July–August 2017

An Audubon’s Shearwater was reported from Gooseberry Neck on July 21 during an unprecedented incursion of Cory’s Shearwaters into Buzzards Bay. An adult Brown Booby was spotted from Herring Cove Beach on July 14. This period was good for pelicans: Brown Pelicans were spotted in July along the North Shore and on Nantucket, and an American White Pelican was in Scituate on August 25 and on Martha’s Vineyard at the end of the month. Two immature White Ibises spent over two weeks at Wellfleet Bay. The baueri subspecies of Bar-tailed Godwit continued on the Lower Cape until August 21. An adult Little Stint was found at Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) on August 9. At least two different South Polar Skuas took up residency on the beaches of Provincetown. An adult California Gull—the sixth for the state—was found at Westport on the last day of August. Franklin’s Gulls were reported from Ipswich and Chatham, and up to three Sabine’s Gulls were in Provincetown in mid-August. Passerine highlights included the first August record of Say’s Phoebe in Wellfleet on August 31 and a Yellow-headed Blackbird on Nantucket on August 23.

Best nesting bird: Blue Grosbeaks nested at the Frances Crane Wildlife Management Area in Falmouth. This nesting record was the second for the state after a pair bred the previous year at Cumberland Farms in Middleboro.

10 YEARS AGO

July–August 2012

A single Black-bellied Whistling-Duck spent most of the period at Great Meadows NWR. Additional birds were seen at the Fenway in Boston on July 22 and on Plum Island on August 4. A White-winged Dove was photographed as it flew over Gooseberry Neck, Westport, on August 23. There was an unprecedented number of summer records of Selasphorus hummingbirds visiting feeders: Rufous Hummingbirds were in Randolph and in Orleans and an Allen’s / Rufous Hummingbird was present in Chatham. A one-day Brookline Bird Club (BBC) pelagic trip to the Continental Shelf on July 21 produced a Black-capped Petrel. An immature White Ibis was photographed flying over the hawkwatch at Morris Island on August 29. South Beach, Chatham, hosted a Sandwich Tern, a Bar-tailed Godwit, and a Little Stint—the latter being the first for the state since 2005. A Curlew Sandpiper spent the last week of August on nearby Tern Island in Chatham.

Best trip not to be missed: the BBC overnight pelagic on August 25–26 yielded a Barolo Shearwater, a Red-billed Tropicbird, seven White-faced Storm-Petrels, nine Band-rumped Storm-Petrels, and one Bridled Tern. The Barolo Shearwater was the third record for the state. The first was found on the same BBC trip on August 25, 2007.

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