20 YEARS AGO September–October 2001 Old friends returned to the state to winter; the female Rufous Hummingbird came back to the same feeder in Agawam for the fifth consecutive year, while the Eared Grebe returned to East Gloucester for its seventh winter. A Pacific Loon was spotted from Plum Island on October 31. A White-faced Storm-Petrel was observed from a tuna boat near Atlantis Canyon on September 7–9. A Ross’s Goose on Martha’s Vineyard on October 14–22 was just the second record for the state. Rare raptors included a Mississippi Kite over Mount Wachusett and a Swainson’s Hawk and a dark Gyrfalcon at Plum Island. A Yellow Rail was reported at the Daniel Webster Sanctuary in Marshfield. A Northern Wheatear spent four days on Plum Island in early September. An “invasion” of Boreal Chickadees was heralded by the early arrival in mid-September of birds at Mount Watatic and Mount Tom. Best sighting: a Couch’s Kingbird found on Plum Island on September 7. This first—and only—record for the state came only 10 months after the first state record of the very similar Tropical Kingbird at World’s End, Hingham in November 2000. 40 YEARS AGO September–October 1981 A Black Vulture—a scarce rarity at the time—was photographed in Truro, Eastham, and Nantucket during the period. A Ruffed Grouse was seen in Newton. An adult Purple Gallinule was found at Great Meadows on September 17. A Brookline Bird Club pelagic trip on October 25 was “wing-to-wing” with gulls with over 20,000 Herring Gulls. An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was a life bird for 90 percent of those on board. A Fork-tailed Flycatcher appeared again in the same location in Chatham as the previous year. A Redwing was heard and seen on Plum Island on October 4. The record was not accepted and the species has yet to make it on the state list. The same day, a Bell’s Vireo was reported from Truro. A Sedge Wren was found at Great Meadows in Concord. Three Brewer’s Blackbirds were reported from Dwyer’s Farm in Marshfield on October 24–25. A Henslow’s Sparrow was at Squantum on October 18–19. Best sighting: A first winter Mew Gull of the North American race Larus canus brachyrhynchos was reported from Nantucket. Mew Gull was split by the AOS in 2021, and so this report (if accepted as such) would represent the new North American taxon, Short-billed Gull .