Massachusetts Bird Sightings — Friday, May 5, 2023
The birding highlight of the week was a significant Red Phalarope flight that occurred along the outside of Cape Cod on the heels of the storm early in the week. This is a species that ordinarily migrates northward offshore at the edge of the continental shelf at this time of year, but the rain and strong SE winds early in the week drove them shoreward where large numbers of these handsome shorebirds were observed feeding in the surf off Nauset Beach for several days. By Friday however, most of the phalaropes had returned to the open sea to continue their northward migration. Other notable species seen this week included a Mississippi Kite, a Black-necked Stilt, a Long-tailed Jaeger, 2 Prothonotary Warblers, and 2 Yellow-throated Warblers.
Cape Cod was highlighted by a major flight of Red Phalaropes pushed inshore by the stormy weather and offshore low pressure early in the week. Most of the birds were concentrated on the backside of the Cape, especially between Nauset Light Beach and North Beach off Orleans, although small numbers were seen at other Cape locations as well. Numbers were difficult to estimate, but clearly several thousand were certainly involved, and there were also small numbers of Red-necked Phalaropes tallied as well. By the end of the week most of the birds had apparently moved back offshore where they are typically migrating north at this season. In addition to the phalaropes, small numbers of both Wilson’s and Leach’s Storm-Petrels were also seen at several locations, especially Chapin in Dennis and inside the Cape Cod Canal at the Sandwich Marina. Other highlights included a Mississippi Kite in Truro, 2 Little Blue Herons at High Head in Truro, a Red-headed Woodpecker on North Beach in Chatham, a Tricolored Heron in the marsh off Pochet Island in Orleans, single Blue Grosbeaks at High Head in Truro and Dennis Pond in Yarmouth, single Hooded Warblers in Harwich and Wellfleet Bay Sanctuary, a Yellow-throated Warbler in Sandwich, and a Glaucous Gull at Dowses Beach in Osterville.
Bristol County was visited by a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and a Black-billed Cuckoo in South Dartmouth, a Barrow’s Goldeneye, 8 Harlequin Ducks, and well photographed Long-tailed Jaeger at Gooseberry Neck in Westport, 36 Roseate Terns at West Island in Fairhaven, and a Swainson’s Thrush at Riverside Cemetery in Fairhaven.
Plymouth County luminaries included small numbers of Red Phalaropes in Hull, Brant Rock in Marshfield, and Manomet Point in Manomet, a Black-necked Stilt at Daniel Webster Sanctuary in Marshfield, a Barrow’s Goldeneye at the Glades in North Scituate, a Caspian Tern at Brant Rock, 5 Sandhill Cranes at 2 Little Blue Herons at Burrage Pond WMA in Hanson, and a Prothonotary Warbler at Cherry Pond in Hingham and an Orange-crowned Warbler at Ellisville Harbor in Plymouth.
Norfolk County was graced by the presence of 2 Blue-winged Teal in Medway, 2 Louisiana Waterthrushes in Dedham and another one at the Hale Reservation in Westwood, a Sora at McCarthy Park in Medfield, 2 Piping Plovers at Wollaston Beach, and 12 Red Phalaropes at Black Rock Beach in Cohasset.
Suffolk County notables were several Red Phalaropes at Deer Island in Boston Harbor and Winthrop Beach in Winthrop, and Iceland Gull at Deer Island, and lingering Dark-eyed Juncos at Franklin Park and the Jamaica Pond area in Boston.
Middlesex County hosted an errant Red Phalarope at the Little Meadow Conservation Area in Bedford, a Prothonotary Warbler on Monument Street in Concord, a Summer Tanager at Callahan State Park in Framingham, 6 Glossy Ibises and a late American Tree Sparrow at Great Meadows Refuge in Concord, a Red-necked Grebe at the Cambridge Reservoir in Waltham, and a White-rumped Sandpiper at Horn Pond in Woburn.
Essex County birders found small numbers of both Red and Red-necked Phalaropes at several locations in Rockport, where 4 Harlequin Ducks were seen at Gully Point and a late Thick-billed Murre was seen at Andrews Point. Three Caspian Terns were spotted at Eastern Point in Gloucester, and 3 more appeared at Castle Rock in Marblehead. A White-faced Ibis was again observed in the salt pans on Rt.1A in Newbury, a Yellow-throated Warbler visited a yard in Swampscott, and Plum Island hosted a Pacific Loon, 4 White-rumped Sandpipers, several Semipalmated Sandpipers, a Short-billed Dowitcher, and a Summer Tanager.
Berkshire County highlights were a Gadwall, a Horned Grebe, and 3 Common Terns at Onota Lake in Pittsfield, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers and an unusual inland occurrence of a Black-legged Kittiwake at Stockbridge Bowl in Stockbridge, and 2 Sandhill Cranes at the Hop Brook WMA in Lee.
Franklin County made news with a Stilt Sandpiper at the Pilgrim Airport in Whately and the continued presence of a Yellow-throated Warbler at Cranberry Pond in Sunderland.
Hampshire County luminaries were single Sandhill Cranes in Northampton and Hadley, an Upland Sandpiper and a Dunlin in Northampton’s East Meadows, and an American Bittern in the marsh on Flat Iron Road in Cummington.
Hampden County birders were pleased to see 2 Upland Sandpipers in Ludlow and 3 Snowy Egrets and 2 Dunlin on the Longmeadow flats in Longmeadow.
Worcester County was graced by the presence of a Glossy Ibis at the Bolton Flats WMA in Bolton and 4 Grasshopper Sparrows on Pine Hill Road also in Bolton, a Black Vulture in Athol, and a Cliff Swallow at the Westborough WMA in Westborough.
Martha’s Vineyard hosted 30 Black Skimmers at the Joseph Sylvia State Beach, 3 Harlequin Ducks at Squibnocket, 2 Swainson’s Thrushes at the Wasque Reservation on Chappaquiddick Island, and a Blue Grosbeak at the Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge.
Nantucket was highlighted by a an early Common Nighthawk at Hummock Pond and a tally of 55 Roseate Terns at Coskata.