Even one Tropical Kingbird in Massachusetts would likely have been the talk of the season, had that season not also included a Steller’s Sea-Eagle. The state had only a single accepted record of the species as recently as 2018. Two more were added in 2019. “Hold my beer,” said 2021 with double the state’s total. A one-day wonder showed up in Provincetown on May 15; a mid-November bird stayed for five days at Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary; and in early December, one spent four days in Rockport. Benny Albro took the photo above.
On December 23, Skyler Kardell and Ginger Andrews encountered a swan on Sesachacha Pond, near the eastern end of Nantucket. They initially identified it as a Tundra Swan, but soon realized it was a Trumpeter Swan. The re-introduced population of this species around the Great Lakes has boomed in recent years, and is thought to be the source of recent New England records. This bird remained on the pond through at least mid-January. Skyler Kardell took the photo above.
A few weeks after the Trumpeter Swan was correctly identified, Ginger Andrews and Trish Pastuszak found a pair of Tundra Swans while scouting in advance of the Nantucket CBC. All three swans stuck around through the day of the count and one day beyond. A less cooperative pair of Tundras appeared briefly about a month earlier on the oxbow in Easthampton. They stayed long enough to be seen by Sally and Doug Pfeiffer, but vanished before other birders arrived. Trish Pastuszak took the photo above.
The Boston area was bracketed by a pair of Ash-throated Flycatchers late in the fall of 2021. One appeared for a couple of days in mid-November at Belle Isle Marsh at the northern end of the city. It was followed by a flycatcher that spent a couple of weeks on the South Shore in Hingham at Turkey Hill Farm and Weir River Farm. Marcia Dunham took the photo above.
Hampshire County’s Monday Morning Birders group noted that an unusually late meadowlark in the Hadley Honeypot was unusual in more ways than one. Local birders quickly accumulated a library’s worth of photos and audio recordings, establishing the bird as a Western Meadowlark. Massachusetts has had fewer than five confirmed records over the past decade. Sara Griesemer took the photo above.
The Painted Buntings that appeared at birdfeeders in Massachusetts this fall bucked the usual trend of greenish immature birds; all three were beautiful adult males. A one-day wonder in Mashpee kicked things off. An individual in Nantucket followed, lingering for just over a week. The third appeared in the most unusual location, visiting Sheffield in the far southwestern corner of the state. Trish Pastuszak took the photo above.