Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.

Friday, July 21, 2023

The highlight of the week was the unexpected appearance of a Mountain Plover in Centerville, a rare visitor from the western Great Plains and the Colorado Plateau, and only the second record-ever occurrence after a plover shot in Chatham in October of 1916.  Nowhere common, the world population of this species is thought to be less than 9000 individuals.  Less spectacular but nonetheless interesting was a White Ibis observed feeding in Hingham Harbor near the bathing beach.  And finally, at least five sightings of probable nesting Merlins were seen scattered across the state from Nantucket to North Adams.

Cape Cod hosted a spectacular vagrant this week in the form of only the second state record of a Mountain Plover, a visitor from the western Great Plains and the Colorado Plateau.  The rare plover spent most of Friday on the Long Beach Conservation Area in Centerville where it was well photographed and confirmed by several admiring observers.  Other notable sightings included a Royal Tern at Race Point Beach in Provincetown, 2 Black Skimmers at Dowses Beach in Osterville, an out of season Red-necked Grebe off Forest Beach in Chatham, 3 Pomarine Jaegers sitting on the beach at the connector beach off North Monomoy, 2000 Short-billed Dowitchers and an unseasonal Iceland Gull at Minimoy off Chatham, and 3 Blue Grosbeaks at the Crane WMA in Falmouth.

Bristol County was visited by an unseasonal appearance from a White-winged Crossbill in Rehoboth.

Plymouth County luminaries included a White Ibis feeding near the Hingham Harbor bathing beach and a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron on Button Island also in Hingham Harbor, 2 Merlins in the Myles Standish SF in Plymouth, 2 Black Vultures in Plympton, a Peregrine Falcon at 3rd Cliff in Scituate, and 2 continuing Sandhill Cranes at the Burrage Pond WMA in Hanson.

Norfolk County sightings of interest were a Clapper Rail and a Stilt Sandpiper in the Squantum Marshes in Quincy.

Suffolk County was highlighted by a Least Bittern and 3 Willow Flycatchers at Millennium Park in West Roxbury, and 2 Red-breasted Nuthatches in the Arnold Arboretum.

Middlesex County made news with a locally unusual nesting pair of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers with 3 young at the Minuteman National Park in Lincoln.  Other notable sightings included a Common Loon on Walden Pond in Concord and a Purple Martin in Dunstable at the Dunstable Rural Land Trust.

Essex County notable sightings included single summering Long-tailed Ducks at Sandy Point on Plum Island and Crane Beach in Ipswich and a Greater Scaup at Cherry Hill Reservoir in West Newbury, a continuing Yellow-crowned Night-Heron at the Ipswich Town Wharf, and a Sandhill Crane at Appleton Farm in Ipswich.

Berkshire County highlights included probable nesting Merlins in Williamstown, North Adams, and Pittsfield, and a Sandhill Crane at High Lawn Farm in Lee.

Franklin County also hosted 3 Sandhill Cranes on Plainfield Road in Ashfield.

Hampshire County also distinguished itself with 4 lingering Sandhill Cranes in Worthington and another crane observed in flight over the Quabbin Visitors Center in Ware.  A Short-billed Dowitcher was spotted in Easthampton, a Whimbrel on Aqua Vitae in Hadley, and 2 Blue Grosbeaks in the Honey Pot area of Hadley.

Worcester County observers were pleased to locate an American Bittern, a Blue-winged Teal, and a Sora at the Bolton Flats WMA in Bolton, an Upland Sandpiper at the Fitchburg Airport, a continuing Brewster’s Warbler at the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, 5 Eastern Meadowlarks at gate 36 at the Wachusett Reservoir in Sterling, and 4 Evening Grosbeaks in Royalston.

Martha’s Vineyard luminaries included a Bald Eagle at Felix Neck Sanctuary, a 2 Common Ravens at Gay Head, a Wood Duck near Squibnocket Beach, 4 Northern Parulas along Tiasquam Road in West Tisbury, and an Orchard Oriole at Gay Head.

Nantucket hosted an American Bittern at the Windswept Cranberry Bogs, a Common Raven at Miacomet Park, a Merlin at the Nantucket State Forest, a Glaucous Gull at Great Point, and a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and a Clapper Rail at the UMass Field Station.