10 YEARS AGO January–February 2013 Three Cackling Geese , discovered together in Newbury on January 14, graced Newburyport Harbor a week later. A Western Grebe (one of a flock of four discovered the previous November) lingered at Plum Island until February 22. The Northern Lapwing at Bridgewater stayed long enough to see in the New Year. The two lapwings on Nantucket were joined by a third on February 26. A Common Gull was in Lynn for much of January. A count of 52 Atlantic Puffins off Skaket Beach in Orleans was a new high count for Cape Cod. The birds appeared in the aftermath of Winter Storm Nemo. In January, there were reports of three Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and three Rufous Hummingbirds —with two of the latter in Wellfleet, and the other in Concord. An immature Red-headed Woodpecker continued in the Fenway, Boston, until February 6. Passerine rarities included a Varied Thrush in Provincetown on February 18 and a cooperative LeConte’s Sparrow in Concord in February that stayed for five days. A Black-throated Gray Warbler continued in the Davenport’s backyard in Taunton until January 23. Best sighting: a gray Gyrfalcon was discovered in Hadley on New Year’s Day. It stayed for two months, equally delighting and frustrating scores of visiting birders. 20 YEARS AGO January–February 2003 “The” Eared Grebe continued in Gloucester for its tenth winter. Single Western Grebes were found in January at Scituate and Nahant, with the latter staying for three weeks. Four Greenland Greater White-fronted Geese spent much of the period in Fairhaven. Rough-legged Hawks were plentiful, with nine in Marshfield and eight on Plum Island. The South Boston Gyrfalcon was back for another winter. An out-of-season Western Sandpiper was found on South Beach, Chatham, on January 6. The heavy snowfall on Martha’s Vineyard made it tough for the resident Barn Owls to find white-footed mice, their primary food source. Eleven dead owls were brought to the sanctuary at Felix Neck this winter. Rare songbirds included a Sedge Wren found in Westport at the end of January, a Clay-colored Sparrow at the Bird Watchers’ Supply and Gift in Newburyport, and a Blue Grosbeak in Chatham—only the second February record for the state. Best sighting: a probable Long-billed Murrelet was spotted flying past Andrews Point on January 3. There is only one previous record for Massachusetts—a dead bird collected by a cat in Middleboro in September 1982. 40 YEARS AGO January–February 1983 An Eared Grebe was found on the north end of Plum Island on January 27. A Western Grebe , first found on November 28, spent the entire period at Third Cliff, Scituate. A flock of six Tundra Swans was on Martha’s Vineyard on January 2, with a pair on Nantucket throughout the period. The Nantucket CBC counted 54 Northern Harriers. Little Gulls were in Lynn, Rockport, and Plum Island. Three Black-headed Gulls were counted in East Boston on January 7. A Mew Gull was found on Plum Island on January 15, and a Lesser Black-backed Gull took up residence at the Cambridge Reservoir. A Barn Owl was found dead in East Orleans in February, and “the” Barred Owl in Harvard Square, Cambridge, was seen inside the MBTA station. The Martha’s Vineyard CBC counted three Red-headed Woodpeckers on January 2, while the Littleton CBC logged an out-of-season Say’s Phoebe . The Eurasian Jackdaw continued on the outskirts of Nantucket Town through the period. The Henslow’s Sparrow continued into January at the Brookline incinerator site, with a second bird seen in Wayland on New Year’s Day. Best sighting: A count of 612 Purple Finches for the Concord CBC beat the previous year’s national high for the species of 397 birds in Virginia. 50 YEARS AGO January–February 1973 At least one Western Grebe was present throughout the period, with reports from Magnolia, Plum Island, and North Scituate. An Eared Grebe was spotted from Plum Island on January 27. Single Tundra Swans (then known as Whistling Swans) were reported in Wareham and Westport in February. Up to 30 Iceland Gulls were at the north end of Plum Island in January. Black-headed Gulls were reported from six locations, with a high count of 24 at Squantum. An adult Golden Eagle was in Westport from February 3–19. A Barn Owl spent the period on Long Island in Boston Harbor. A gray Gyrfalcon was present at Monomoy on January 1–2. A Loggerhead Shrike was reported from Plum Island on February 24. A Canada Jay (then Gray Jay) was in Pelham throughout the period and up to four Boreal Chickadees were in Holyoke. A Varied Thrush was a one-day wonder in Orleans on January 8. A Western Tanager continued at feeders in Annisquam, and another was found dead in Orleans. The female Painted Bunting continued in Plymouth until February 11. Best sighting: a Great Gray Owl in Gill, January 22 to March 31. The bird drew crowds of visitors, many of whom also chased the Northern Hawk Owls in Gilford, New Hampshire, and Brewer, Maine.