A Willow Ptarmigan that appeared in southern Worcester County in late April was by far the most astonishing bird of the season. Meaghan Keefe posted an eBird record with photos from Charlton on April 30. (Meaghan’s photo is above.) Photos of presumably the same bird, taken in West Boylston two days before the Charlton sighting, later surfaced on FaceBook. This would be the second record of the species for Massachusetts, following a specimen collected on May 10, 1859.
In a more normal spring, a Swainson’s Warbler would have been the best bird of the season. It was seen by more birders than the ptarmigan was, even though it was a one-day wonder. Jonah Levy found it early in the morning on May 6; by the end of that day, dozens of birders had gathered to admire the state’s seventh record of this species. Justin Lawson took the photo above.
Swallow-tailed Kites appeared in Massachusetts in three different months this spring. Hans Holbrook spotted the first one over his yard in Barnstable on March 28. In April, Liam Waters found a kite flying past Pilgrim Heights. Carrie Almeida caught the third on video over Swansea on May 12. Liam Waters took the photo above.
Joel and Andy Eckerson were playing disc golf, but of course brought their binoculars along, just in case. They observed 39 bird species during their outing, including two Mississippi Kites. Joel Eckerson took the photo above.
Normally rare in our state, White Ibises put on a show in April and May, with appearances in at least 6 locations. An adult visited Wellfleet on April 12–18. Two birds showed up on April 17, one in Ellisville and a second in Duxbury. Two adults appeared in Eastham on April 20–23. An immature White Ibis showed up along the Charles River in Watertown and Cambridge on April 26–27; it or a different bird appeared in Scituate on May 5 and on May 13. Keegan Burke took the photo above.
White-faced Ibises show up annually in coastal Essex County. Sandy Weatherall found the first arrival on April 17 in Ipswich. It or another appeared later in Rowley and Newbury. Marj Watson took the photo above.