February 2024

Vol. 52, No. 1

Hot Birds: February 2024

Swainson's Hawk by Jason Forbes
Massachusetts birders are lucky if even a single Swainson’s Hawk is documented in our state in any given year, but this fall we have hosted three. Jason Forbes photographed the first one (above) in Lexington on September 24. Beth Vaccino crossed paths with the second in Halifax on October 16. The third flew over Stacie and Matt Lambert in Provincetown’s Beech Forest on November 5. All three were one-minute wonders, seen by no one but the people who photographed them.

Say's Phoebe by Mary McKitrick
Western Massachusetts ended the year stealing some of the rare-bird spotlight that usually points east when Mary McKitrick found a Say’s Phoebe (above) by the dam of the Quabbin Reservoir on December 10. Although most of our state’s records of this species are one-day wonders—including one on Plum Island about a month and a half earlier, and another in Uxbridge just after Christmas—the Quabbin bird stuck around through at least January 10, allowing the Quabbin CBC to tally two species of phoebe, quite an achievement in our state.

Hammond’s Flycatcher by Tim Spahr
Tim Spahr found a Hammond’s Flycatcher (above) on November 15 at Crane Swamp Conservation Area in Westboro. An apparent first Worcester County record, it did not stick around for long. A trio of chasers relocated it briefly a few hours later, after which the bird was never found again.

Bell’s Vireo by Josh Bock
On December 14, Sally Avery reported a mystery bird from Webb Memorial State Park with the comment that “it most resembled the highly improbable Bell’s Vireo.” Two days later, while participating in the Quincy CBC, Josh Bock photographed a Bell’s Vireo (above) in the very same park. The bird continued to frequent the park through at least January 5.

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