Massachusetts Bird Sightings — Friday, December 24, 2021

December 24, 2021

The unequivocal outstanding species observation this week was the unprecedented appearance of a Steller’s Sea-Eagle on the lower Taunton River in the Somerset/Dighton area of Bristol County. A huge, charismatic, and iconic eagle native to extreme eastern China, the Russian Far East, and Japan, the species has been recorded less than a dozen times in North America, and also the first sighting in the lower 48 United States.

Present for nearly a week before being positively identified, on Sunday and Monday of this week probably 200 birders had a chance to see and distantly photograph the spectacular visitor. The eagle was last seen Monday.

Western MA: Highlights featured 10 Lesser Scaup and a Red-breasted Merganser at Laurel Lake in Lenox, a Horned Grebe at Stockbridge Bowl in Stockbridge, an Osprey in Great Barrington, and 25 Red Crossbills at October Mountain State Forest in Washington. Franklin County hosted a Northern Shrike in Orange, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in Northfield, a continuing Summer Tanager at 73 Hadley Road in Sunderland, 3 Lapland Longspurs in Deerfield, and 4 White-crowned Sparrows in Sunderland. Hampshire County continued to host a probable Western Meadowlark at the Honey Pot in Hadley, a Clay-colored Sparrow in Easthampton, and a continuing Cackling Goose at the UMass campus pond. Other luminaries were a Pink-footed Goose at Stanley Park in Westfield, 5 Northern Shovelers at the Fannie Stebbins Refuge in Longmeadow, a Brown Thrasher in Agawam, and a Lincolns’ Sparrow at the Longmeadow Flats.

Central MA: There were 4 Iceland Gulls at Crystal Lake in Gardner and 2 more at Whalom Lake in Lunenburg, 3 Sandhill Cranes along Center Bridge Road in Lancaster, a Rough-legged Hawk at Worcester Airport, a Snowy Owl on a roof on Harding Street in Worcester, Yellow-billed Sapsuckers in Northfield, Lunenburg, and Milford, and 10 American Pipits at Delaney Wildlife Area in Sterling.

Metro West: Highlights featured 2 Cackling Geese at Great Meadows Refuge in Concord and another at the School Street fields in Acton, a continuing Greater White-fronted Goose at Nine Acre Corner in Concord, 2 Iceland Gulls at Silver Lake in Wilmington, a Snowy Owl at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, and a continued European Goldfinch at the Lexington Community Farm.

North Shore: Luminaries included a Canvasback at Kenoza Lake in Havehill, an Eared Grebe at Little Private Beach in Marblehead, and a Long-billed Dowitcher at Plum Island.

Boston: Notables were 2 Redheads and a Lesser Black-backed Gull at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, 2 Razorbills at Winthrop and 2 more at Castle Island, a Glaucous Gull at Deer Island in Boston Harbor and a Northern Parula and a Yellow-breasted Chat at Thompson Island, a Wilson’s Warbler at McLaughlin Woods in Boston, and a Nashville Warbler at the Victory Gardens in the Fenway.

Metro South: Norfolk County continued to host a Rufous Hummingbird at 34 Clearwater Road in Brookline, a late Great Egret in Quincy, a Snowy Owl at Wollaston Beach, and an Iceland Gull and a Lesser Black-backed Gull at Lake Massapoag in Sharon.

South East: Highlights included a Cackling Goose at the Eel River Preserve (North) in Plymouth, an Ash-throated Flycatcher at Turkey Hill Farm in Hingham, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at Manomet Bird Observatory, and a Prairie Warbler in Scituate. Bristol County hosted the above described Steller’s Sea-Eagle, in addition to a Pink-footed Goose on the Taunton River in Somerset, a Cackling Goose at the Somerset Reservoir, a Eurasian Wigeon at The Sawmill in Acushnet, and a Western Tanager at a feeder at 66 Cranberry Road in North Attleborough.

Cape Cod: Luminaries included a Pacific Loon, a Manx Shearwater, an Atlantic Puffin, and a Thick-billed Murre at Race Point in Provincetown, a continuing Bell’s Vireo at Fort Hill in Eastham, and a Blue-winged Teal and a Prairie Warbler in Chatham.

Islands: Martha’s Vineyard bright lights included an American Oystercatcher at Sarson’s Island in Vineyard Haven, 2 Snow Geese at Katama Farm, a Blue-headed Vireo at Aquinnah, and 38 Tree Swallows at Chilmark. Nantucket was visited by a Trumpeter Swan at Sesachacha Pond and was one of only a handful of previous Massachusetts records. Its origin was unknown, but it was possibly from translocated individuals from the western United States that were brought to areas in upstate New York and the Great Lakes area.

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