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Friday, November 24, 2023

For the second week in a row a major movement of seabirds off Cape Ann and Cape Cod captured the stage of unusual sightings, headed by a massive total of more than 15,000 Dovekies off Rockport leading the list. Other notable bird reports this week included the continued presence of 3 Trumpeter Swans in Northbridge, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher at Nantucket, at least 2 different Ash-throated Flycatchers, a Tufted Duck and 3 continuing Pink-footed Geese in the Connecticut Valley, and Western Cattle Egrets in a couple different locations.

Cape Cod continued to host significant numbers of seabirds for the second week in a row with large numbers of birds being driven into Cape Cod Bay by high winds on Thanksgiving Day that included 5350 large alcids, 175 Dovekies, 40 Razorbills, 3410 Black-legged Kittiwakes, 2600 Northern Gannets, a probable Brown Booby, and 4 Sooty Shearwaters. At Race Point in Provincetown and a Pacific Loon and a Black-headed Gull were tallied. A Little Gull was seen at Corporation Beach in Dennis and a Black-headed Gull was spotted at Salt Pond in Falmouth. At Fort Hill in Eastham a Western Tanager and a Dickcissel were spotted, and in the vicinity of Scorton Harbor in East Sandwich a very late Great Crested Flycatcher was well documented. At Minimoy off Chatham 94 Red Knots were counted and 3 Willets continue to frequent the marsh near Forest Beach in Chatham.

Bristol County birds of note were 2 Clapper Rails at their usual location at the Egypt Lane Ponds in Fairhaven, 5 lingering Great Egrets at Allen’s Pond in South Dartmouth.

Plymouth County highlights included a remarkable total of 11 Sandhill Cranes at the West Meadows Wildlife Area in West Bridgewater, 45 Black-legged Kittiwakes and a Little Gull at Manomet Point, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and a Black-throated Blue Warbler at the Manomet Bird Observatory, a Black-headed Gull at Plymouth Beach, and a Forster’s Tern in Duxbury Harbor. Two late Barn Swallows were tallied at the Shifting Sands Reserve near Ellisville Harbor in Plymouth, a Nashville Warbler was identified near Hiller Cove in Mattapoisett.

Norfolk County luminaries were a continuing Barrow’s Goldeneye at Great Pond in Randolph, a Short-eared Owl at Palmer Beach in Quincy, a lingering Wilson’s Warbler at Hall’s Pond in Brookline, a Snow Goose near Wellesley College in Wellesley, a Nashville Warbler at Squantum Point Park, and a Great Egret at Rock Island Cove in Quincy.

Suffolk County was graced by the presence of a Black-headed Gull in Winthrop, where 8 Greater Yellowlegs and a Long-billed Dowitcher were also counted at Crystal Cove in Winthrop. An Ovenbird and a Lincoln’s Sparrow were found in Post Office Square, and a Rose-breasted Grosbeak was found in the Arnold Arboretum.

Middlesex County birders were pleased to see a Western Kingbird and an Orange-crowned Warbler at Drumlin Farm Sanctuary in Lincoln, a lingering Lesser Yellowlegs at the Arlington Reservoir, an Osprey at the Rocky Hill Sanctuary in Groton, a continuing Blue-winged Teal on the Hager Land in Boxborough, a late Ovenbird in Lexington, and 7 Evening Grosbeaks at Great Meadows Refuge in Concord.

Essex County much like Cape Cod, witnessed a massive seabird flight this week at Andrews Point in Rockport on Wednesday that saw the passage of a carefully tallied total of 15,260 Dovekies, 1020 Razorbills, 19 Common Murres, 5075 Black-legged Kittiwakes, 1450 Northern Gannets, 360 Red-throated Loons, 4 Parasitic Jaegers, 3 Pomarine Jaegers, and a single Red Phalarope. The number of Dovekies was far and away one of highest counts on record in Massachusetts. Other county reports of note were 120 very late Laughing Gulls at West Beach in Beverly, a late-lingering Ruby-throated Hummingbird at a feeder in Gloucester, 10 White-rumped Sandpipers at Plum Island, 2 American Golden Plovers at the Newburyport Airport, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo at the Bear Creek Sanctuary in Saugus, a Lark Sparrow at the Salisbury Beach Reservation, and single Brown Thrashers at the Marblehead Neck Sanctuary in Marblehead and the Babson Museum in Rockport.

Berkshire County was highlighted by a Golden Eagle soaring over Pittsfield and a Northern Shoveler on Pontoosuc Lake in the same city.

Franklin County luminaries included the 3 itinerant Pink-footed Geese that have been trading back and forth all fall between Tri-Town Beach in Whately and several localities in neighboring Hampshire County, a Golden Eagle observed on River Road in Sunderland, 2 Black Vultures in Greenfield, and 3 White-winged Crossbills in New Salem.

Hampshire County was visited by a Western Cattle Egret that attracted many admirers at the Northampton Airport, 8 Northern Shovelers in flight over Quabbin Reservoir near the Windsor Dam Park Headquarters in Belchertown, a continuing Cackling Goose on the UMass campus pond, a Clay-colored Sparrow in the Northampton East Meadows, an Ash-throated Flycatcher at Arcadia Sanctuary in Northampton.

Hampden County continues to host a Tufted Duck at the Whiting Street Reservoir in Holyoke, and a late Blue-winged Teal at the Longmeadow Flats in Longmeadow.

Worcester County was graced by 3 Trumpeter Swans that had seemingly disappeared for several weeks but have now returned to the Blackstone River in the vicinity of North Street in Northbridge, where a Western Tanager also briefly visited a private home. Late Ospreys were observed in South Grafton and Quaboag Pond in Brookfield, 6 Killdeer and a Pectoral Sandpiper were tallied at Bartlett Pond in Northborough, and a Great Egret continued to frequent the shores of the Coes Reservoir in Worcester.

Martha’s Vineyard hosted a lingering flock of 150 Tree Swallows in the vicinity of Aquinnah, where a Blue-headed Vireo was also recorded, and 5 Laughing Gulls were spotted on Lagoon Pond in Tisbury, and 3 Northern Shovelers were tallied at Crystal Lake in Oak Bluffs. At offshore Cuttyhunk Island, 2 Common Ravens and an Ash-throated Flycatcher were observed.

Nantucket was fortuitously visited by a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher near Settler’s Landing in Madaket, and elsewhere on the island there was Western Kingbird in the vicinity of Bartlett’s Farm, a Western Cattle Egret near the Nantucket Airport, 3 late Common Terns near Esther’s Island, and a lingering Spotted Sandpiper at Sesachacha Pond.