26th Annual Report


by Marshall J. Iliff, Peter Crosson, Sebastian Jones, and Jeremiah Trimble

originally published in Bird Observer 52(1):15-31


For its 26th report, the Massachusetts Avian Records Committee (MARC) evaluated 117 records involving 52 species. The committee accepted all those records. This report covers records from 2021 and 2022, with a few especially notable records from 2023 also included. New records during that period added an impressive seven species to the state list: Siberian Sand-Plover, Common Redshank, Cape Verde Shearwater, Short-tailed Shearwater, Steller’s Sea-Eagle, Red-footed Booby, and Virginia’s Warbler which brings the state list to 518 species.

Other highlights from this report include the second state records for Mountain Plover and Willow Ptarmigan—both previously known only from specimens from more than a century ago. Additional highlights include the state’s fifth Pacific Golden-Plover, third Vermilion Flycatcher, fourth accepted Western Meadowlark, sixth Swainson’s Warbler, and first Black-headed Grosbeak since 2010. There was a notable influx of three juvenile Wood Storks in November 2021 and an unprecedented (but not unexpected) influx of White Ibis in Spring 2022. Additional context is provided for these and other selected species below.

Species taxonomy, nomenclature, and sequence follow the eBird/Clements Checklist (v2023), which closely follows the seventh edition of the American Ornithological Society (AOS, formerly American Ornithologists’ Union) Check-list of North American Birds (AOU 1998) and its supplements, up to and including the two published (Chesser et al. 2022, Chesser et al. 2023) since this committees last report in 2011. Table 1 shows taxonomic changes to the Massachusetts state list since 2021; note that three species have been split by eBird/Clements but not the AOS, which results in minor changes in nomenclature. Other differences between eBird/Clements and AOS can be seen on eBird. One statistical consequence of recent taxonomic changes is that the Hadley record of Empidonax difficilis from 10/23/2019 to 12/2/2019 (2019-076) is no longer the first state record, since one banded at Manomet Bird Observatory, Plymouth, 11/10/2006 (2006-038; Rines 2008)–which previously referred to either Pacific-slope (Empidonax difficilis) or Cordilleran Flycatcher (E. occidentalis)–is identifiable to the species level (as Empidonax difficilis) now that Pacific-slope and Cordilleran have been lumped.

eBird/Clements v2021 eBird/Clements v2023 Notes
Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) American Goshawk (Accipiter atricapillus) split from Eurasian Goshawk
Pacific-slope Flycatcher (Empidonax difficilis) Western Flycatcher (Empidonax difficilis) lump of Cordilleran and Pacific-slope Flycatchers
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) Western Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) eBird/Clements split
Yellow-nosed Albatross (Thalassarche chlororhynchos) Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross (Thalassarche chlororhynchos) eBird/Clements split
Lesser Sand-Plover (Charadrius mongolus) Siberian Sand-Plover (Anarhynchus mongolus) eBird/Clements split
Table 1. Species with changes to species limits (and names) since the last published MARC report; those marked “eBird/Clements split” involve changes not yet adopted by the AOS. Several additional species have had minor changes to English names or Scientific names. See the MARC website or eBird for the full state list with current nomenclature.


The statistics in brackets for each species or taxon show the number of records accepted in this report, followed by the total number of accepted records; note that some species have a large number of reports that the MARC has yet to review (e.g., Scissor-tailed Flycatcher). Below, we present data for all records covered, formatted as follows: Record identification number, count of individuals, location, range of observation dates, original observers, and observers submitting documentation. We credit the discoverer with an asterisk (*). We indicate whether the evidence provided was photographic (ph), video (v), audio (au), or a written description (†). When records from other regions are cited, all are discoverable in eBird unless otherwise stated (eBird 2023).



Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) [3 records accepted in this report, 16 total]

  • 2021-049: 1 at Salt Pond, Falmouth, Barnstable, 7/15/21 [Amy Roberts* (ph), m.ob.]
  • 2021-048: 7 at Lucy Vincent Beach, Dukes, 7/30/21 [Jim Shoemaker* (ph)]
  • 2022-058: 1 at Town Beach Rd. Marsh, Richmond, Berkshire, 6/16/22 [Zach Adams* (ph), v.o.]

First accepted to the state list from a 2008 record, this species continues to be a regular vagrant in recent years, with most records of short-staying birds or flocks from 29 Apr-4 Aug; the Berkshire record was a county first.


Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus) [8, 34]

  • 2021-088: 4 at Longmeadow Flats, Hampden, 12/11/21 [Jeremy Spool*, Meghadeepa Maity* (ph)]
  • 2021-091: 1 at Shaw Rd., Fairhaven and Mill Rd., Fairhaven, Bristol, 12/14/21 to 12/17/21 [Dan Mckinnon*, m.ob.]
  • 2021-092: 1 at Stanley Park, Hampden, 12/16/21 to 12/18/21 [Frank Bowrys* (ph)]
  • 2021-096: 1 at 2236 Riverside Ave., Somerset, Bristol, 12/21/21 [Jim Sweeney* (ph), m.ob. (ph)]
  • 2022-003: 2 at Connecticut River, Hadley (Mitch’s Way and Hadley Bridge), Hampshire, 1/4/22 to 1/11/22 [Mary McKitrick* (ph), m.ob.]
  • 2022-005: 1 at Duxbury High School area, Plymouth, 1/12/22 to 1/16/22 [Emily Szczypek* (ph), m. ob.]
  • 2022-017: 4 at Longmeadow Flats, Hampden, 3/6/22 [Ted Gilliland* (ph)]
  • 2022-018: 1 at Bolton Flats WMA, Worcester, 3/6/22 to 3/17/22 [Valerie Burdette* (ph)]
  • 2022-069: up to 4 at Northampton area (various sites), Hampshire, 3/7/22 to 3/14/22 [Ted Gilliland* (ph), m.ob.]


Brant (Black) (Branta bernicla nigricans) [1, 5]

  • 2020-116: 1 at Fort Phoenix State Reservation, Fairhaven, Bristol, 3/13/21 [Nick Tepper* (ph), Neil Dowling* (ph)]

This was likely the same individual seen at the same location 4 Dec 2020 (2020-107); the MARC will formally consider this question.


Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) [1, 4]

  • 2021-100: 1 at Sesachacha Pond, Nantucket, 12/23/21 to 1/13/22 [Skyler Kardell* (ph), m. ob.]


Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus) [2, 10 since 2017]

  • 2021-103: 2 at Miacomet Pond, Nantucket, 12/31/21 to 1/19/22 [Trish Pastuszak*, Ginger Andrews* (ph), m.ob.]
  • 2022-021: 2 at Onota Lake, Pittsfield, Berkshire, 3/16/22 to  [Gael Hurley* (ph), m.ob.]


Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) [3, 34]

  • 2022-010: 1 at Long Pond Rd., Harwich, Barnstable, 1/23/22 to 2/21/22 [Sue Finnegan* (ph)]
  • 2022-011: 1 at Mashpee Pond, Attaquin Park, Barnstable, 1/26/22 to 2/6/22 [Mary Keleher* (ph)]
  • 2022-073: 1 at Lake Pearl, Norfolk, 1/15/23 to 3/5/23 [Josh Bock* (ph), m.ob.]


Willow Ptarmigan

30 April 2022. N. Sturbridge Road, Worcester. Photograph by Meaghan Keefe


Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) [1, 2]

  • 2022-033: 1 at N Sturbridge Rd. x Osgood Rd. (42.175398, -71.998809), Worcester, 4/30/22 [Meaghan Keefe* (ph)]

A stunning second state record, documented with photos and video as it scurried off the roadside in full white plumage. This is actually a species with a decent pattern of vagrancy to the Northeast and Atlantic Canada in late April and May; Massachusetts has just one prior record, a specimen from Manchester, Essex, from 10 May 1859. At the same time as this sighting, there were rumors or one to three others nearby, but these second-hand and third-hand reports on Facebook never got traced to a credible report, though they suggest the possibility of a small regional invasion.


Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) [2, 19]

  • 2021-069: 2 at Cohasset Cove, Scituate, Plymouth, 10/31/21 to 11/3/21 [Liam Norton* (ph)]
  • 2021-094: 1 at Marblehead Neck Causeway, Essex, 12/16/21 to 4/22/22 [Alex Damiano*, Jeremy Dominguez* (ph), m.ob.]

The Marblehead bird was considered to pertain to a returning individual also present at the same location 1/11/2021 to 4/18/2021 (2021-022; Iliff et al. 2022).


White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica) [3, 31]

  • 2022-043: 1 at Putnam Farm Conservation Area, Barnstable, 5/20/22 [Mark Faherty* (ph)]
  • 2022-059: 1 at High Head, Pilgrim Heights, Barnstable, 6/19/22 [Sam Minsky*, Ben Dzedzic*, Eliot Dzedzic*, Ross Sormani* (ph)]
  • 2022-064: 1 at Fort Hill, Barnstable, 7/14/22 [Julie Santo* (ph)]


Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) [1, 44]

  • 2021-066: 1 ad. female at 34 Clearwater Rd., Broookline, Norfolk, 10/28/21 to 1/3/22 [Matt Garvey* (ph)]


Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinica) [2, 21]

  • 2021-051: 1 at Cutler Park Reservation, Norfolk, 8/4/21 and 8/14/21 [Harmony Wu*]
  • 2021-086: 1 at Great Meadows NWR–Concord Unit, Middlesex, 12/7/21 to 12/8/21 (dead) [Candyce Plante* (ph)]


Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) [1, 11]

  • 2022-065: 2 at Hardings Beach, Chatham, Barnstable, 5/25/22 [Rob Ritchey* (vid)]


Pacific Golden-Plover (Pluvialis fulva) [1, 5]

  • 2021-056: 1 at Spencer Peirce Little Farm, Newbury, Essex, 9/25/21 to 9/28/21 [Suzanne Sullivan*, John Keeley* (ph), m.ob.]

Birders are getting better at identifying this species, which was only recognized as distinct from American Golden-Plover (P. dominica) in 1993. This molting adult was the first to be widely enjoyed and represents the second record for Essex (first in 2002) and the fourth in Massachusetts since 2013, with records now from April, July (2), August, and September.


Siberian Sand Plover

19 Aug 2023 South Cape Beach State Park, Barnstable. Photo by Jeff Offermann.

Siberian Sand-Plover (Anarhynchus mongolus) [1, 1]

  • 2023-002: 1 adult at South Cape Beach SP, Barnstable, 8/14/23 to 8/22/23 [Mary Keleher* (ph), m. ob.]

The specifics of this find were chronicled in Bird Observer (Keleher 2023) this past October. Remarkably, photos of Siberian Sand-Plovers in nearly identical plumage from Anacosti Island, Quebec, 30 Jul 2023 and Napatree Point, Rhode Island, 5 Aug 2023, must pertain to the same individual given the regional rarity of the species and the potential for highly variable plumage at this season. Prior to this year, Rhode Island had the only well-documented record from New England. Note that we follow the eBird/Clements taxonomy in splitting Siberian Sand-Plover (A. mongolus) from Tibetan Sand-Plover (A. atrifrons); AOS still treats both taxa within Lesser Sand-Plover (Charadrius mongolus). This bird was identifiable as Siberian by its well-defined white forehead patch, since A. atrifrons has a fully dark forehead in breeding plumage.


Wilson’s Plover (Anarhynchus wilsonia) [1, 19]

  • 2022-051: 1 at Monomoy NWR, Morris Is., Barnstable, 5/26/22 [Joey Negreann* (ph)]

Along with Siberian Sand-Plover and Mountain Plover, we follow the eBird/Clements taxonomy (Rasmussen et al. 2023) in using the genus Anarhynchus, reflecting new information about relationships among the smaller plovers. We expect the AOS to adopt this new genus in 2023.


Mountain Plover

23 Jul 2023 Long Beach Conservation Area, Barnstable. Photo by Sebastian Jones

Mountain Plover (Anarhynchus montanus) [1, 2]

  • 2023-001: 1 at Long Beach Conservation Area, Barnstable, 7/21/23 to 7/25/23 [Natalie Donofrio* (ph), m. ob.]

Donofrio found this bird while monitoring Piping Plovers on a Cape Cod beach and thankfully it was accessible to birders who enjoyed it for its five-day stay (Donofrio, Teltser, and Salett 2023). Most incredibly, what was likely the same individual was found at Stone Harbor Point, NJ, 9 Aug 2023.


Common Redshank

20 Jul 2022 Monomoy NWR–Minimoy Island. Photo by Jeremiah Trimble

Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) [1, 1]

  • 2022-075: 1 at Minimoy Island, Barnstable, 7/17/22 to 7/21/22 [Josh Davidson* (ph), v.o.]

First recorded in North America from Newfoundland in 1994, all other records for the hemisphere came from that province except for one in the Caribbean, on Guadeloupe, 15-28 Jan 2020. But in 2021 an adult at Pte. Mouillee State Game Area, Michigan, 4 Jul became the first Lower 48 record followed just two weeks later by the Cape Cod bird. Some have suggested that the same individual, moving approximately due east towards the coast, may have accounted for both records. The plumage of the two birds looks similar enough that this seems most plausible given the extreme rarity of this species. Unfortunately, access to this site is restricted and this sighting was not released publicly, so only a few birders were able to see it.


Great Skua (Stercorarius skua) [1, 4]

  • 2021-067: 2 at First Encounter Beach, Barnstable, 10/28/21 [Marshall Iliff*, Jeremiah Trimble*, m.ob. (ph, vid)]


Franklin’s Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan) [4, 38]

  • 2021-075: 1 at Race Point, Barnstable, 11/12/21 [Pete Morris*, Brendan Fogarty*(ph)]
  • 2021-081: 1 at Race Point, Barnstable, 11/20/21 [Peter Flood* (ph)]
  • 2022-053: 1 at Race Point, Barnstable, 5/28/22 [Blair Nikula* (ph)]
  • 2022-063: 1 at Longmeadow Flats, Hampden, 7/25/22 [Ted Gilliland* (ph)]


Sooty Tern (Onychoprion fuscatus) [1, 16]

  • 2020-116: 1 at Surfside Beach, Nantucket, Nantucket, 8/6/20 [Burton Balkind* (ph)].

This bird was found moribund and later succumbed, but was apparently disposed of and not preserved.


Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica) [3, 22]

  • 2022-054: 2 at Dowses Beach, Barnstable, 6/1/22 [Nancy Villone* (ph)]
  • 2022-056: 2 at Wellfleet Bay MAS, Barnstable, 6/7/22 [Joey Negreann* (ph)]
  • 2022-057: 2 at Nauset Beach, Barnstable, 6/11/22 [Keegan Burke* (ph)]

The majority of MARC members voted to treat these records as pertaining to the same wandering twosome, although there is nothing conclusive to lend certainty to that treatment.


Pacific Loon (Gavia pacifica) [1, 32]

  • 2020-117: 1 at Gooseberry Neck, Bristol, 11/8/20 [Marshall Iliff* (ph)]


Cape Verde Shearwater

Cape Verde Shearwater was recently split from Cory’s Shearwater and differs in its smaller size, darker plumage, and slimmer bill that is grayish rather than yellowish. This state first was also the second documented record for North America and was found east of Chatham, Barnstable County, on Aug. 12, 2022. Photo by Nick Bonomo.


Cape Verde Shearwater (Calonectris edwardsii) [1, 1]

  • 2022-076: 1 east of Chatham (41.670066, -69.860951), Barnstable, 8/12/22 [Jeremiah Trimble*, Peter Trimble*, Ian Davies*, Julian Hough*, Nick Bonomo* (ph)]

This remarkable discovery by a group of intrepid pelagic birders (Trimble et. al. 2022) represents just the second well-documented record for North America, following one off Cape Hatteras 15 Aug 2004. There have been a few other potential sight records, and clearly this is a species to watch for carefully.


Short-tailed Shearwater

Short-tailed Shearwater is an extremely abundant bird in the Pacific, but has only recently been conclusively documented in the Atlantic, possibly as birds have moved through the ice-free Northwest Passage in recent years. Photo by Peter Flood.


Short-tailed Shearwater (Ardenna tenuirostris) [1, 1]

  • 2017-065R: 1 at Race Point, Barnstable, 10/14/17 [Peter Flood* (ph), Kate Sutherland]

The MARC previously reviewed four records from Race Point in fall 2017: 17 Aug (2017-066), 23 Sep (2017-063), 24 Sep (2017-064), and 14 Oct (2017-065) (Williams and Trimble 2018). While the MARC did not endorse any at the time, we “agreed to seek out further expert opinions on this and other reports of this species with the intent of voting on this record again.”  Thankfully, Peter Flood provided the MARC detailed analysis of the last of these sightings, with measurements of the bill details that allowed verification using criteria from a new identification paper by Bob Flood and Ashley Fisher (Flood and Fisher 2022) that provides diagnostic proportions to eliminate Sooty Shearwater. Note that Flood and Fisher (2022) publish all four Race Point records as Short-tailed and include the 17 Aug photo as well. The other three sightings will need rereview by MARC. There are almost no accepted records for the North Atlantic, although evidence is growing that the species occurs at least occasionally, with two other records from the western Atlantic: 7 Jul 2000 at Sanibel Island, FL and 7 Nov 2023 over Lake Ontario at Derby Hill, NY. Flood and Fisher (2020) also cite several records from the South Atlantic which give context for these North Atlantic records and eBird has an accepted record from France 7 Aug 2020.


Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) [3, 10]

  • 2021-071: 1 at Horn Pond, Middlesex, 11/4/21 to 11/5/21 [Jeffrey Thomas* (ph), m. ob.]
  • 2021-072: 1 at Annisquam River and various Cape Ann spots, Essex, 11/7/21 to 11/21/21 [Joe De Haan* (ph), m.ob.]
  • 2021-082: 1 at Egypt Lane Ponds and nearby Fairhaven spots, Bristol, 11/29/21 to 12/3/21 [Carolyn Longworth* (ph)]

Although at least four records from before 1963 have yet to be reviewed (Veit and Petersen 1993), Wood Stork is always a five-star rarity in the state. The presence of three hatch-year individuals at different sites in November and December means 2021 accounts for more records than any other year, although 2013 and 2019 each had two records. Note that the Horn Pond bird was sickly and was taken into wildlife care on 5 Nov. There is a possibility that the Bristol Co. bird and Cape Ann birds pertained to the same individual, but the MARC considers them more likely to pertain to different individuals.


Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) [2, 8]

  • 2021-053: 1 at Nickerson Rock Park, Quincy and Savin Hill Cove, Boston, Norfolk/Suffolk, 8/22/21 [Mike McWade*, m.ob. (ph)]
  • 2022-002: 1 at Baxter Rd., Siasconset, Nantucket, 1/2/22 [Jeremiah Trimble* (ph), m.ob.]

Both records conclusively eliminated less-likely frigatebird species. The August 2021 bird was remarkably seen in Nova Scotia 15 August and along the New Hampshire coast 19-21 August, so birders had been sort of hoping this individual would drift south to Massachusetts—and it did!


Red-footed Booby

4 Oct 2022 Halibut Point SP Rockport. Photo by Suzanne Sullivan.


Red-footed Booby (Sula sula) [1, 1]

  • 2022-077: 1 at Halibut Point SP, Essex, 10/4/22 [Suzanne Sullivan* (ph), Meghan Sullivan*]

With records of Brown Boobies surging over the past decade we have also seen an increase in Masked Booby and have dreamt of a Red-footed Booby for the state. The ever-vigilant Suzanne Sullivan was the one to find this one, passing southward at close range past Halibut Point while one of her party was taking a bio break! As of November 2023, there are just three other records north of the Carolinas: and in deep water far off the Nova Scotia coast 22 Sep 2014; one photographed sitting on an inland farm field by a Cranberry grower in Burlington Co., New Jersey and posted to Facebook 1 May 2023 (https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=6345557028829071&set=gm.6383032281757361&idorvanity=444762565584392); one tired bird on a beach in Hancock Co., Maine, 12 Jul 2023.


Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) [3, 35]

  • 2021-059: 1 at Race Point, Barnstable, 10/9/21 [Peter Flood*, Blair Nikula* (ph)]
  • 2021-064: 1 at First Encounter Beach, Barnstable, 10/28/21 [Amy O’Neill*, m.ob. (ph)]
  • 2021-065: 1 at Race Point, Barnstable, 10/28/21 [Peter Flood* (ph)]
  • 2021-073: 1 at Nantucket – Jetties Beach, Nantucket, 11/11/21 to 11/14/21 [Richard Veit*, m.ob. (ph)]

It is worth remembering that as recently as 2011 there was just one accepted record for the state (two more mentioned in Veit and Petersen (1993)), and the surge over the past decade is showing no signs of abating. Good seawatching conditions on 28 Oct 2021 produced two on Cape Cod which were individually identifiable as different birds.


American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) [2, 33]

  • 2021-054: 1 at Sesachacha Pond, Nantucket, 9/4/21 to 9/8/21 [Nick Butterini*, m.ob.(ph)]
  • 2022-024: 1 at Revere Beach–south end, Suffolk, 4/3/22 [Nick Diaco*, Kelly Song*]


White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) [11, 20]

  • 2021-050: 1 at Dudley Pond, Wayland, Middlesex, 7/30/21 [Melissa Mee* (ph)]
  • 2021-105: 1 at Heard’s Farm Conservation Area, Wayland, Middlesex, 8/16/21 to 8/17/21 [Ron Schlegel*, David and Tim Swain (ph), m.ob.]
  • 2021-052: 1 at Oak Top, Bristol, 8/18/21 [Joel Eckerson* (ph)]
  • 2022-027: 1 at Wellfleet Bay MAS, Barnstable, 4/11/22 to 4/18/22 [Josh Jones* (ph), m.ob.]
  • 2022-066: 1 at Ellisville Harbor SP, Plymouth, 4/17/22 [Joy Burns* (ph)]
  • 2022-067: 1 at Bluefish River Marshes, Duxbury, Plymouth, 4/17/22 to 4/19/22 [Tofer Carlson* (ph)]
  • 2021-106: 2 at Fort Hill, Barnstable, 4/20/22 to 4/23/22 [Elizabeth Creasey*, m.ob. (ph)]
  • 2022-031: 1 at Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Middlesex, 4/26/22 [Sam Bloch* (ph), v.o.]
  • 2022-032: 1 at Christian Herter Park, Boston, Suffolk, 4/26/22 to 4/27/22 [Ted Bradford* (ph), m.ob.]
  • 2022-034: 1 at Peggotty Beach, Plymouth, 5/5/22 to 5/13/22 [Ellen Anderson*, v.o. (ph)]
  • 2022-068: 1 at Sailors Home Pond, Norfolk, 8/2/22 to 8/5/22 [K. Rawdon* (ph), m.ob.]

MARC had reviewed and accepted just 9 records prior to this year, so an influx of 8 records from mid-April to August 2022 almost doubles the accepted records to date; although many historical records still need to be reviewed, this was by far the biggest one-year surge. This surge of records is not unexpected given the species’s substantial increases in the mid-Atlantic, with first nesting records for both Maryland and New Jersey in 2020, with the New Jersey population surging to hundreds by 2022. The 2021 individual was an interesting saga: a first-summer with distinctive pattern of white and brown feathers was involved in all three Massachusetts sightings, but was also noted in Nova Scotia 3-5 Aug 2021 and was found in Rhode Island shortly after the Bristol Co. sighting, which was seen flying south at 6:36 in the morning and probably had left Middlesex Co. that same morning (since it had been seen up until almost dusk the previous evening).


White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi) [1, 34]

  • 2022-026: 1 at Labor in Vain Rd., Ipswich, Essex, 4/17/22 to 5/1/22 [Sandy Weatherall*, Andy Sanford* (ph)]


Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) [4, 25]

  • 2022-023: 1 at Buckskin Path, Centerville, Barnstable, 3/27/22 [Hans Holbrook*]
  • 2022-028: 1 at High Head, Pilgrim Heights, Barnstable, 4/16/22 [Liam Waters*, m.ob. (ph)]
  • 2022-040: 1 at Pequot Rd, Mashpee, Barnstable, 5/18/22 [Mary Keleher* (ph), Ashley Keleher]
  • 2022-044: 1 at Bearberry Hill, Truro, Barnstable, 5/22/22 [Vin Zollo*, Dan Burton* (ph)]


Steller’s Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus) [1, 1]

  • 2021-090: 1 ad. at Shaw Cove Boat Yard, Dighton, Bristol, 12/12/21 to 12/20/21 [David Ennis* (ph), Jonathan Eckerson (ph), m.ob. (ph)]

This remarkable state record was discussed in depth by Schibley and Iliff (2022). Any questions of provenance were simplified since its arrival path from native range was clarified. Individually identifiable based on details of its wing pattern, it was first noted on the Denali Highway, Alaska, on 30 Aug 2020, then in Texas 7 Mar 2021 (probably but not certainly the same bird), and then in Atlantic Canada (Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick) in summer 2021, before appearing in Massachusetts and then Maine 31 Dec 2021 to 14 Feb 2022. Its peregrinations around eastern Canada have continued in 2022 and 2023, although it has yet to stray into the United States again.


Vermillion Flycatcher

22 October 2022. Paine’s Creek Beach, Brewster.. Photograph by Peter Trimble.


Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) [1, 3]

  • 2022-070: 1 immature male at Paine’s Creek Beach, Barnstable, 10/21/22 to 10/26/22 [Mark Faherty* (ph), m. ob.]

The young male Vermilion that Mark Faherty found was a huge crowd-pleaser on Cape Cod, marking the first documented record for Barnstable and third for the state, although there are two credible sight records the MARC has not reviewed: 7 Oct 1961 in Barnstable and 22 Oct 1954 at Plum Island (Veit and Petersen 1993). All five records have occurred between 7-26 October, and most other East Coast records are also from October (although there are a small handful from spring or that have overwintered further south).


Ash-throated Flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens) [2, 34]

  • 2021-078: 1 at Belle Isle Marsh, Suffolk, 11/15/21 to 11/16/21 [Moss Lynch*, m. ob.(ph)]
  • 2021-087: 1 at Weir Hill Farm, Plymouth/Norfolk, 12/7/21 to 12/21/21 [Sally Avery* (ph), m. ob.]


Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus) [2, 6, plus two accepted as Tropical/Couch’s]

  • 2021-076: 1 at Wellfleet Bay WS, Barnstable, 11/13/21 to 11/17/21 [Megan Miller* (ph, au), m. ob. (ph)]
  • 2021-085: 1 at Waring Field, Essex, 12/6/21 to 12/8/21 [Sam Heinrich* (ph, au), m. ob.]

Two Tropical Kingbirds, both confirmed by audio recordings, were found in fall 2021. This species continues to be found with much increased regularity than previously, presumably partly due to observer awareness and modern photography. The Waring Field bird marked a new species for well-watched Essex County.


Gray Kingbird

12 November 2022. Barney’s Joy Road, Dartmouth. Photograph by Emily Turteltaub Nelson.


Gray Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis) [1, 4]

  • 2022-071: 1 hatch-year at Barney’s Joy Rd., Dartmouth, Bristol, 11/11/22 to 11/20/22 [Jeff Offermann* (ph), m.ob.]

With this crowd-pleaser found by Offermann, Bristol County joins Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket among counties with accepted records for Gray Kingbird, although two older specimens from Essex and Middlesex and a photographed bird in Dukes have yet to be reviewed.


Bell’s Vireo (Vireo bellii) [2, 15]

  • 2021-060: 1 at Fort Hill, Barnstable, 10/16/21 to 1/10/22 [Tom Marvel*, m. ob. (ph)]
  • 2022-072: 1 at Ocean View Farm, Bristol, 11/13/22 to 11/27/22 [Dan Burton* (ph), Jim Sweeney, Vin Zollo, m.ob.]

This year’s bird from Fort Hill joins Manomet Bird Observatory as the state hotspot for the species, with four records each, although Manomet has the advantage of regular mist netting efforts. All 15 accepted records have accumulated since 2005.


Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) [2, 8 since being added to review list]

  • 2022-055: 1 at Fitchburg Airport, Worcester, 6/6/22 to 6/8/22 [Jon Skinner* (ph)]
  • 2022-061: 1 at Orange Airport, Franklin, 7/19/22 [Bill Lafley]


Townsend’s Solitaire (Myadestes townsendi) [4, 32]

  • 2021-070: 1 at Halibut Point, Rockport, Essex, 11/3/21 [David Young* (ph)]
  • 2021-083: 1 at Mt. Tom State Reservation, Hampden, 12/4/21 [Derek Allard* (ph)]
  • 2022-014: 1 at Lime Kiln Farm MAS, Sheffield, Berkshire, 2/27/22 to 2/28/22 [Kyron Hanson* (ph)]
  • 2022-015: 1 at Sutherland Woods area, Lexington (Yelle home), Middlesex, 3/1/22 [Henrietta Yelle* (ph)]

Townsend’s Solitaire had just four records up to 1990 (Veit and Petersen 1993), but has been found almost annually since 2004 (all but 6 years); Halibut Point is the state hotspot, logging its fourth accepted record in 2021. Most solitaires have occurred in eastern Massachusetts (13 from Cape Cod and 8 from Essex County alone), but county firsts for Hampden and Berkshire make for three from the western portion of the state (one previous from Worcester County).


Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius) [1, 21+]

  • 2022-012: 1 at Elm Road, Falmouth, Barnstable, 1/30/22 to 2/3/22 [J. Hughes* (ph)]


Hoary Redpoll (Acanthis hornemanni) [1, 13+]

  • 2022-020: 1 at 44 Hale St., Newburyport, Essex, 3/10/22 to 3/11/22 [Joe Teixeira*, Margo Goetschkes (ph), Steve Grinley (ph)]


Western Meadowlark

11 November 2021. Honey Pot, Hadley. Photograph by Sara Griesemer..


Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) [1, 4]

  • 2021-074: 1 at Honey Pot, Hadley, Hampshire, 11/11/21 to 1/13/22 [Sara Griesemer*, Janice Jorgensen*, Marcia Merithew*, Sara Hills*, Susan Emerson* (ph, aud), m.ob.]

Although there are many older reports for this species, no documentation has been located. Because of this, all accepted records are recent with this one providing the first accepted one for Hampshire and the first one that was widely seen by birders, with the three prior records from single dates.


Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii) [1, 14]

  • 2021-104: 1 at Spring Street, Marion, Plymouth, 12/23/20 to 2/27/21 [iNaturalist user tcb771* (ph), Kelly Burke* (ph), Moe Molander (ph), Carol Molander (ph)]
  • 2021-097: 1 female at Hill Street, Whitinsville, Worcester, 12/19/2021 to 1/27/2022 (Justin Lawson* (ph), m. ob.)
  • 2022-016: 1 female at Chez Ess-Why, Northbridge, Worcester, 3/4/2022 to 3/5/2022 (Mary Ess-Why* (ph))

The Whitinsville and Northbridge birds were just a mile or so apart and in the same plumage, so the MARC considers both records to pertain to the same individual.


Swainson’s Warbler (Limnothlypis swainsonii) [1, 6]

  • 2022-035: 1 at Middlesex Fells Reservation, Middlesex, 5/6/22 [Jonah Levy* (ph), m.ob. (ph)]

This bird was widely seen for a Middlesex first, thanks to the prompt report by Levy. Except for one at Wing Island, Barnstable, 6-10 Sep 2015, all of the state’s records fall from 4 May to 6 Jun and half have been seen on 6 May!


Virginia's Warbler

Putnam Farm Conservation Area, Barnstable. Photo by Sam Zhang.


Virginia’s Warbler (Leiothlypis virginiae) [1, 1]

  • 2023-005: 1 at Putnam Farm Conservation Area, Barnstable, 10/6/23 to 10/8/23 [Amy O’Neill*, m. ob. (ph)]

With records on all sides of Massachusetts—from Albany, NY (10 Dec 2016), Rhode Island (8 Oct 2006), New Hampshire (29 Apr 2021 and 5-7 Dec 2023), and Maine (a stunning four from Monhegan Island, two in spring and two in fall)—this had to be the state’s most overdue species. Amy O’Neill was sharp to notice this bird in community gardens and got the word out so that dozens could share in the thrill of this state first.


MacGillivray’s Warbler (Geothlypis tolmiei) [2, 17]

  • 2021-058: 1 at South Monomoy Lighthouse, Barnstable, 10/8/21 [Valerie Bourdeau* et al. (ph)]
  • 2021-063: 1 at Fort Hill, Barnstable, 10/23/21 [Tim Spahr* (audio)]


Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s) (Setophaga coronata auduboni) [8, 15]

  • 2012-161: 1 at Upper Boat Meadow Conservation Area, Orleans, Barnstable, 11/28/12 to 12/2/12 [Peter Trimble*, Sue Finnegan (ph), Marshall Iliff (ph)]
  • 2017-143: 1 at Pochet Island, Barnstable, 2/18/17 [Keenan Yakola* (ph)]
  • 2017-144: 1 at Morris Preserve, Bristol, 11/7/17 to 11/8/17 [Jim Sweeney* (ph), Jonathan Eckerson (ph)]
  • 2017-146: 1 at Race Point fire road, Barnstable, 11/15/17 [Sue Finnegan* (ph), John Pratt* (ph)]
  • 2018-086: 1 at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Middlesex, 6/10/18 to 6/11/18 [Jake Turin* (ph), Robin Gurule*, v.o.]
  • 2018-087: 1 at Tonset Rd., East Orleans, Barnstable, 12/18/18 [Jeremiah Trimble* (ph)]
  • 2019-157: 1 at Millennium Park, Suffolk, 11/17/19 to 12/1/19 [Marshall Iliff* (ph), m. ob.]
  • 2022-007: 1 at The Bogs, Plymouth, 1/15/22 [Jim Sweeney* (ph)]

The committee fell behind in its reviews of this well-marked subspecies, which may yet deserve full species status. We caught up in this report, although the 15 accepted state records to date are just part of the picture. We welcome well-documented records for this and other rare subspecies, especially those on the MARC Review List.


Black-throated Gray Warbler (Setophaga nigrescens) [1, 21]

  • 2021-057: 1 at Chestnut Hill Reservoir, Suffolk, 10/4/21 to 10/6/21 [Ryan Doherty* (ph), m. ob. (ph)]

Doherty has been working his Chestnut Hill Reservoir patch for more than a decade and this warbler was one of the site’s best rarities, representing a first for Suffolk County and cooperating well for the masses in its three day stay.


Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana) [5, 26]

  • 2021-045: 1 at Sterling Rd., Princeton, Worcester, 1/11/21 to 3/20/21 [Eileen Potter*, Valerie Burdette(ph)]
  • 2021-077: 1 at Manomet Bird Observatory, Plymouth, 11/13/21 [Megan Gray*, v.o. (ph)]
  • 2021-079: 1 at Squibnocket Farm Rd. 0.3 mi S of Squibrocket Farm Rd., Dukes, 11/18/21 to 1/2/22 [Allan Keith*, Bob Shriber (ph)]
  • 2022-006: 1 at Pond Village, Truro, Barnstable, 1/13/22 [Cathy Skowron*, Ross Sormani (ph)]
  • 2022-074: 1 at 947 Cranberry Hwy, Yarmouthport, Barnstable, 1/9/22 (approx) to 2/8/22 [Holly Lemieux*, m.ob. (ph)]


Black-headed Grosbeak

20 May 2022. Pembroke Road, Manomet. Photograph by Lisa Schibley.


Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus) [1, 4]

  • 2022-042: 1 ad. male at 31 Pembroke Rd., Manomet, Plymouth, 5/20/22 to 5/23/22 [Jim Kowalski* (ph), Lisa Schibley (ph), m.ob. (ph)]

This cooperative adult male was available for viewing on only its last day, but was seen by a number of birders. Although Veit and Petersen (1993) include 21 records, MARC review has only accepted four and this was the first report since 2010. Most records are in fall, so this spring record was unusual, although the earliest state record was documented 11/30/1957 to 5/9/1958.


Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) [3, 45]

  • 2021-080: 1 ad. male at Mashpee, Barnstable, 11/19/21 [M. Brecher* (ph)]
  • 2021-089: 1 ad. male at Timber Way, Sandwich, Barnstable, 12/11/21 to 1/30/22 [Evie Dewar* (ph), fide Mark Faherty]
  • 2021-095: 1 ad. male at Jonathan Way, Sandwich, Barnstable, 12/18/21 to 2/26/22 [Claudia Gale* (ph), fide Mark Faherty]


Changes to review list: Black-headed Grosbeak is added to the species eligible for expedited review via the eBird acceptance process; see Garvey and Iliff (2013) for details.


Corrigenda: Two MARC numbers need adjustment: the not accepted Eared Grebe at Harding’s Beach, Chatham, Barnstable, 3/26/2011 uses 2011-068 (Garvey and Iliff 2013), but that number was also published for a Townsend’s Solitaire at Jackson Point, Madaket, Nantucket, 10/21/2011 to 10/22/2011 (Garvey, Trimble, and Iliff 2014); the solitaire is assigned a new number: 2011-105. Also, the Tufted Duck at Long Pond, Barnstable, 1/10/2020-2/2/2020 uses 2020-024 (24th report; Williams et al. 2020), but that number was also published in the same report (24th report; Williams et al. 2020) for the Yellow-billed Loon (Gavia adamsii) at Race Point, Provincetown, Barnstable, on 4/19/2020; the Yellow-billed Loon is assigned a new number: 2020-118.


Thanks to: Chris Dalton, who has helped develop a new system to help the MARC stay in sync with the ongoing surge of new records from eBird and other sources. And of course, Ryan Doherty, who continues to serve as the webmaster for the MARC. We also wish to thank Peter Crosson for his service as MARC Secretary in 2021-2022; Sebastian Jones has joined as the new MARC Secretary. Jim Sweeney and Wayne R. Petersen provided helpful editorial comments that improved this article.


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