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Rare Bird Alert

Photographs of the hottest birds:

Pink-footed Goose: On March 23 Larry Therrien discovered a Pink-footed Goose at the old Pilgrim Airport in the Hatfield and managed some confirmation photos. Larry got more photos on March 26 at Lake Warner in Hadley on March 26. Scott Surner posted photos on his Facebook page on March 25 on Roosevelt Road in Hadley, and Ben Lagasse on March 25 on Lake Warner in Hadley. Some folks comparing these photos speculate there are two birds!

Barnacle Goose: On March 3 Cheri Ezell called Mass Audubon with a report of a Barnacle Goose at Maple Farm Sanctuary in Mendon. Justin Lawson photographed it on March 8.

"Kamchatka" Mew Gull: On December 30, Patrick Dugan and Frank Gallo discovered a Mew Gull at Codfish Park on Nantucket. Vern Laux reports that it is likely to be the NE Russia race that some consider a separate species, the "Kamchatka" Gull. On New Years' Day Vern Laux relocated this gull between Codfish Park and Low Beach and photographed it. In addition to the Mew Gull photos, Vern included photos of a Little Gull, a Black-headed Gull, and a Red Phalarope at Low Beach.

MacGillivray's Warbler: On December 29, Mark Faherty discovered a MacGillivray's Warbler in Lakeville on the Taunton-Middleboro Christmas Bird Count. Les the compiler disbelieve him, he took photos!

Ross's Goose: On Christmas Day Phil Brown celebrated by discovering a Ross's Goose in Ipswich. John Hoye photographed it on December 27.

White-winged Dove: Ryan Schain, Matt Garvey, Naeem Yuseff, and Tim Factor were pleased to observe a White-winged Dove on the Boston Christmas Bird Count on December 21, hanging out in front of the JFK Library. Ryan got photos. Jeff Offermann was nearby and also photographed it.

Bullock's Oriole: On November 15 Steve Spang saw a Bullock's Oriole coming to his feeder in Carlisle. It only spent a couple of hours, but two days later it showed up at the feeder of nearby Philip Gladstone, who took some definitive photos. It disappeared in early December, but reappeared a mile away in Chelmsford, where is was seen by many, including Ryan Schain, L.D. Love, Dave Williams, Bruce Black, John Hoye, and Tom Murray.

Western Tanager: Simon Perkins and Erik Nielsen were checking out a thicket in Rockport on November 16 when Simon called "Get your camera, Western Tanager" - Erik obliged with these great photos. It was enjoyed for the next couple of days by several: Phil Brown, Miles Brengle, Tom Murray, Suzanne Sullivan.

Calliope Hummingbird: The second weekend after Columbus Day marks the Nantucket Birding Festival, and once again it marks the discovery of a spectacular bird. This Calliope Hummingbird was discovered on October 19 at the Hummock Pond Road Community Gardens by Simon Perkins, Richard Prum and Vern Laux. Check out Vern's photos here. Eric Savetsky also got photos.

Black-throated Gray Warbler: On October 14 Brian Harris, Nick Ernst and Vern Laux discovered this handsome warbler on Nantucket.

Brown Booby: On October 12 Blair Nikula was seawatching at Race Point, Provincetown, when he observed (and photographed) a Brown Booby flying by with the Northern Gannets.

Lazuli Bunting: What is it with Ian Davies and Lazuli Buntings! Up until this fall there were only three records of this species in the state, but on September 15 Ian, Ben Lagasse, and Keenan Yakola spotted an apparent Lazuli Bunting on Cuttyhunk, and on November 2 the same threesome discovered another at the Honey Pot in Hadley.

Sandwich Tern: Sandwich Terns on Cape Cod! Blair Nikula discovered a on South Beach in Chatham on July 31. On August 3 Ben Lagasse found a different one (by plumage) on Coast Guard Beach and then on August 15 he photographed another in Nauset Inlet. On August 18 Keenan Yokola photographed two at Nauset Inlet. Mary Keleher photographed one on August 26, but check out the plumage on two photographed by Ellison Orcott the same day - clearly three different birds! Note that one of these birds is banded, and it turns out it was banded in England. Intriguing.

Pacific Golden-Plover: On July 21 a group of birders exploring Plymouth Beach discovered this handsome bird. Photos from Marshall Iliff, Ian Davies, and Jeremiah Trimble.

Brown Booby: From the July 7 New England Aquarium sightings page: "We had an unexpected passenger join us on board while out on the bank—a brown booby! It landed up on the third deck near the catwalk and stayed on the third deck for the remainder of our trip back to Boston."

Red-necked Stint: On June 27 Suzanne Sullivan noticed an interesting shorebird. She initially thought it might be a Sanderling but noticed it had a rear toe. Other photos from Steve Arena, Bob Stymeist, Tom Murray, Miles Brengle, and Henry Mauer.

American White Pelican: Valerie White told Christine Turnbull about the pelican she discovered on May 29 on Lake Massapoag in Sharon, and Christine got out the word. Photo from Justin Lawson.

Franklin's Gull: On May 29 Justin Lawson and Jessica Johnson were at Bolton Flats and noticed a large, black-headed gull (note lower case!). After studying it they realized they were looking at a Franklin's Gull, a first for Worcester County. Justin got photos!

Lewis's Woodpecker: On May 27 some backyard birdwatchers noticed a new woodpecker in their yard. After they consulted resources they concluded it was a Lewis's Woodpecker and snapped some photos. Sadly the bird did not return.

Cave Swallow: Cave Swallow has become almost expected along the coast in the fall, but there are only a couple of spring records, also from the coast. It was therefore astonishing when Cole and Jalen Winstanley spotted on at Great Meadows in Concord on May 27 for a second Middlesex County record - the first was only last fall, also at Great Meadows.

Mississippi Kite: On May 27 two Mississippi Kites were sighting flying over the Pilgrim Heights Hawkwatch. Blair Nikula scouted the area and relocated one over Provincetown .

Common Ringed Plover: On May 20 Suzanne Sullivan was scanning the Semipalmated Plovers at Sandy Point on Plum Island when she spotted a bird that was slightly different. After photographing and studying it she realized it was a Common Ringed Plover, only a third state record. The first was on September 5, 1990 on Plum Island and the second on September 10, 2010 on South Beach in Chatham, so this is also a first spring record for this species. On May 21 many others saw and photographed this bird, including Jason Forbes, Phil Brown, and David Bernstein.

Mountain Bluebird: Gael Hurley was on a Hoffman Bird Club trip to Williamstown on April 28 when she spotted this gorgeous western vagrant. Many folks got to see it, including Justin Lawson and Ian Davies.

Northern Lapwing: Remember the Lapwings last winter? And the three (three!) that lingered into spring on Nantucket? We figured we'd seen the last of these in Massachusetts for a long, long time. So imagine their surprise when Steve Arena and Amy O'Neill spotted one flying over Bolton Flats on April 27. Steve got photos, and subsequent visitors did also,  including Justin Lawson and Jess Johnson.

fieldfareFieldfare: Unless you were birding in 1986 you haven't seen this bird in the state! Alan Ankers discovered this bird in Carlisle on St. Patrick's day, and it was seen and enjoyed by many and photographed by Jeremiah Trimble, Jeff Offerman, Justin Lawson, Ian Davies, Marshall Iliff, Steve Mirick, and Jason Forbes.

Pacific Loon: This species is annual in the state, but rarely do conditions allow recognizable photographs. Check these out from a pond in Provincetown on March 3 by Jeff Offerman, and on the same day at Race Point from Erik Nielson. Normally this species is only seen offshore, so when Phil Brown discovered on just off Jodrey Pier in Gloucester on March 10 it afforded great views to many, including Bob Stymeist, Jason Forbes, and Christopher Ciccone.

LeConte's Sparrow: Think horses, not zebras. That's what Pete Gilmore was thinking on February 12 when he identified the Ammodramus sparrow as a Grasshopper Sparrow on Shadyside Avenue in Concord. It wasn't long before he realized he was looking at the much rarer LeConte's Sparrow! Many got to see this bird, so check out photos from Chris Sheriden, John Hoye, Dorian Anderson, Henry Mauer, Suzanne Sullivan, Tom Murray, Gary Freedman, Gary Kessler, Bruce deGraaf, and Justin Lawson. Also check out videos from David Sibley, Bruce deGraaf, and Justin Lawson.

Black-throated Gray Warbler: A non-birding homeowner was able to identify the new bird at his feeder on January 2: a Black-throated Gray Warbler. He notified Mass Audubon. The homeowner permitted groups of birders to visit every day, and photos can be seen here: 1/11 Jeremiah Trimble, 1/17 Garry Kessler, 1/19 Tom Murray, 1/22 Bruce deGraaf., 1/23 Bo Zaremba.

Mew Gull: On January 3 Linda Pivacek discovered a Mew Gull at Nahant, and it continued to be seen from Nahant through Lynn to Swampscott. Photos from Suzanne Sullivan and Bob Stymeist on January 5, and Tom Murray on January 10.







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