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Monarch caterpillar

Friday, August 18, 2023

Unequivocally the most exiting reports this week were a Lesser Sand-Plover – a first record for Massachusetts – discovered and observed by many in Mashpee, a Swallow-tailed Kite seen in Barnstable, and a brood of American Coots observed at South Monomoy Island.

Cape Cod once again hosted the most unusual bird report this week, and arguably the rarest bird of 2023 to date.  The species in question was a Lesser Sand-Plover, a shorebird from Asia with several disjunct populations in Kazakhstan, northern India, and western China to coastal areas in eastern Russia.  First discovered at South Cape Beach State Park in Mashpee on August 14, it has been observed by many dozens of birders from throughout Massachusetts and beyond all week.  Also outstanding this week was a very late Massachusetts observation of a Swallow-tailed Kite in Barnstable.  Other notable sightings included a Northern Avocet at Woodneck Beach in Falmouth, 2 Caspian Terns at Dowses Beach in Osterville, several Hudsonian Godwits at Forest Beach in Chatham, an unseasonal Bufflehead at Bristol Beach in Falmouth, a continuing Blue Grosbeak at the Crane Wildlife Area in Falmouth, and an interesting assortment of birds from South Monomoy Island that included 5 Pied-billed Grebes, 8 American Coots, 3 Northern Shovelers, 20 Gadwalls, 2 Ruddy Ducks, an American Golden-Plover, 7 Hudsonian Godwits, and a Wilson’s Phalarope.

Plymouth County luminaries included a Great Cormorant at Manomet Bird Observatory, a Little Blue Heron at Halfway Pond in Plymouth, 3 Sandhill Cranes continuing at the Burrage Pond Wildlife Area in Hanson, a Sora at the Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield, 2 Black Vultures in the Nemasket Trail area in Plympton.

Norfolk County hosted single Yellow-crowned Night-Herons at Squantum Point Park in Squantum and the Quincy Sailor’s Home Pond in Quincy, and an Orchard Oriole was tallied at McCarthy Park in Medfield.

Suffolk County was visited by a Pileated Woodpecker at Franklin Park, and migrant warblers noted at the park included a Bay-breasted Warbler, a Cape May Warbler, a Chestnut-sided Warbler, and a Canada Warbler.

Middlesex County sightings of note included a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and a Snowy Egret near the Amelia Earhart Dam and the Draw 7 State Park in Everett, a Yellow-headed Blackbird and a Common Gallinule at Great Meadows Refuge in Concord, 4 Common Loons at Whitehall Reservoir in Hopkinton, single Orchard Orioles at Nahanton Park in Newton and the Mt. Feake Cemetery in Waltham, an American Coot on the campus of the Rivers School in Weston, and 3 Black Vultures in Lowell.

Essex County hosted an American Avocet at Plum Island where other sightings featured 3 Clapper Rails, a summering Long-tailed Duck, 3 Orchard Orioles, and a Dickcissel.

Berkshire County birders were pleased with a Baird’s Sandpiper on Bridgeview Lane in Sheffield, 2 Caspian Terns at the Cheshire Reservoir in Cheshire, a Bonaparte’s Gull on Lake Onata in Pittsfield, and a Black-crowned Night-Heron in Dalton.

Franklin County continued to host modest numbers of Red Crossbills at the Montague Sandplains Wildlife Area in Montague where at least 33 were tallied.  A summering Ring-necked Duck also continued to be seen at the Turners Falls Power Canal.

Hampshire County notables at the East Meadows in Northampton included a Northern Shoveler, 4 Sandhill Cranes, 4 Short-billed Dowitchers, 9 Stilt Sandpipers, and a Dickcissel.  Elsewhere in the county there was a Virginia Rail and a Marsh Wren at Lake Wallace in Belchertown, 4 Sandhill Cranes in the fields off Old Post Road in Worthington, and 2 continuing Blue Grosbeaks at eh Honey Pot in Hadley.

Hampden County was visited by 2 Blue-winged Teal and a Red-necked Phalarope at the Longmeadow Flats in Longmeadow, and 2 Caspian Terns at the Ranch Golf Course in Southwick.

Worcester County luminaries included 4 Sandhill Cranes on Hall Road in Hardwick and 8 Red Crossbills at gate 43 at Quabbin Reservoir in Hardwick.  At Birch Hill Wildlife Area in Winchendon 3 Acadian Flycatchers and 28 Red Crossbills were counted, and 5 Evening Grosbeaks were present in Royalston.  A Sanderling was spotted at Quaboag Pond in Brookfield, and 2 Blue-winged Teal and a Louisiana Waterthrush were seen at Bolton Flats Wildlife Area in Lancaster.

Martha’s Vineyard sightings included a Chuck-will’s-widow calling on Bridle Path Road in Oak Bluffs, 3 White-eyed Vireos at Wasque Point in Edgartown, 2 Common Ravens at Lake Tashmoo in Tisbury, and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in West Tisbury.

Nantucket continued to host a Tricolored Heron on the Nantucket Harbor flats.