Recent bird sightings as reported to the Mass Audubon :
Unequivocally, the most exciting bird sighting last week was a European golden-plover first discovered on Duxbury Beach on April 4. By the following week, a number of birders converged on the beach in hopes of seeing the rare visitor. With only about five previous records for the mainland United States, plus a couple sightings in Alaska, this was an unusual occurrence. Despite the fact that varying numbers occur with some regularity in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, its appearance in the United States is most notable. The species is a common breeder in Iceland, and in eastern Greenland, across Northern Europe to the tundra areas of central Russia; they winter from Western Europe south to Northern Africa and east to Southwest Asia. Its appearances in Atlantic Canada typically occur from mid-April to mid-May following strong northeasterly winds that occasionally deflect migrants bound for Iceland to the remote shores of eastern Newfoundland. It is likely that conditions similar to these accounted for the presence of this unusual visitor on our shores. The plover was present on Duxbury Beach as recently as Thursday.
Another first state record, a great-tailed grackle, was discovered at Nelson’s Field in Plymouth on April 10. Resembling a common grackle on steroids, this 18-inch grackle is common from central California east to southwestern Louisiana, and north to the Middle Plains states, but it increasingly wanders north of its range in the Southwest. This is one of very few eastern US occurrences.
Cape Cod: There was a yellow-crowned night-heron at Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary, a short-eared owl at Sandy Neck, a Northern shrike at the Crane Wildlife Area in Falmouth, and a Louisiana waterthrush at Santuit Pond in Mashpee.
Greater Boston: There were four least terns sighted in Winthrop, the first report of a ruby-throated hummingbird in Medway, yellow warblers at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge and the Stony Brook Reservation in West Roxbury, where there was also a Louisiana waterthrush. Observers spotted a chimney swift and a gray catbird in Belmont and an orchard oriole in Needham.
South Shore: Reports included an eared grebe and a king eider in Hull. There were four sandhill cranes at Burrage Pond in Hanson.
Western Mass.: Last week, there continued to be many red crossbills frequenting the Montague Plains Wildlife Area in Montague, along with a solitary sandpiper in Hadley and a sandhill crane in Worthington.
Worcester County: Highlights featured a red-headed woodpecker at Sibley Farm in Spencer and four sandhill cranes and a green heron at the Bolton Flats. A number of evening grosbeak were reported from Royalston, High Ridge Wildlife Management Area in Westminster and Cass Meadow Wildlife Management Area in Athol.
Miscellaneous: Reports included a dovekie at Cuttyhunk Island.There were six Northern shovelers, an upland sandpiper, and a late snow bunting at Nantucket and an eared grebe continued at Marblehead.
While you’re birding, don’t fail to listen to the trilled calls of common toads and the snoring calls of Pickerel frogs, and be sure to notice blooming coltsfoot along gravely roadsides and the delicate blossoms of hepatica on dry wooded slopes before they go out of season.
For more information about bird sightings or to report bird sightings, call Mass Audubon at 781-259-8805 or go to www.massaudubon.org.