February 2023

Vol. 51, No. 1

Bygone Birds: Historical Highlights for September-October

Neil Hayward

February 2018 cover
September–October 2017

Rare geese at the end of October included a Pink-footed Goose in Gill, a Barnacle Goose in Westfield, and a “Black Brant” in Gloucester. A juvenile Common Ringed Plover—the fourth record for the state—was found at Gooseberry Neck on September 11. A White Ibis spent two days in Northampton. A first winter Common Gull (at the time known as Mew Gull before its split in 2021 into Common and Short-billed gulls) was a one-day wonder at Lynn on October 27. Tropical Storm Jose hit Cape Cod on September 20, bringing days of gale force winds. Birders at Race Point were rewarded with three South Polar Skuas, two Sabine’s Gulls, one Franklin’s Gull, and one Sandwich Tern. At nearby Wellfleet, a Masked Booby was picked up on the beach—the second record for the state, and the first on state soil. Passerine rarities included an Ash-throated Flycatcher in Middletown, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in North Truro, LeConte’s Sparrows at Bolton Flats and Falmouth, a Harris’s Sparrow in Scituate, and a male Painted Bunting in Barnstable. There were Black-throated Gray Warblers in Chatham and Monomoy, and MacGillivray’s Warblers in Lexington and Orleans.

Best sighting: a Short-tailed Shearwater was photographed at Race Point on September 23. It was the first credible sighting for Massachusetts, although given the difficulty of ruling out the very similar Sooty Shearwater, the record was not accepted by the MARC and the species is not (yet) on the state list.


February 2013 cover
September–October 2012

A Black-bellied Whistling-Duck continued at Great Meadows in Concord. Artichoke Reservoir in West Newbury hosted a Pink-footed Goose and a Greater White-fronted Goose in October. A Ross’s Goose was found in Sharon at the end of October. An Allen’s Hummingbird was found in Great Barrington—the fifth for the state. A Magnificent Frigatebird spent October 30–31 crossing between the South Dartmouth area and adjacent Rhode Island. A Purple Gallinule spent a week at the Stony Brook Sanctuary in October. The third and fourth records of Northern Lapwing appeared on the same day—October 30—with singles found on Nantucket and in Eastham. Chatham hosted a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Little Stint, and a Curlew Sandpiper, all continuing from August. Also in Chatham, a one-day Loggerhead Shrike was found on September 6. In October, a Say’s Phoebe was present for two days on Plum Island and a Bell’s Vireo for one day on Martha’s Vineyard. Northern Wheatears were found in Orleans and Andover and Townsend’s Solitaires in Truro and South Monomoy. Eastham hosted a single Bohemian Waxwing on October 26 and a LeConte’s Sparrow at Fort Hill on October 30. There were two reports of Black-throated Gray Warblers—on Martha’s Vineyard and South Monomoy.

Best sighting: a Gray-tailed Tattler was discovered on Nantucket on October 18–20. It was the first record for Massachusetts and the first for the eastern half of the United States.

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