By Robert H. Stymeist, Statistician


During 2007, the Brookline Bird Club listed 309 species of birds on 213 reported trips, one species more than last year. A total of 245 trips were scheduled, 11 trips less than last year and 45 trips less than the all time high number of 290 in 2000. There were 66 all-day, 145 mornings, 27 afternoons or evening, six pelagic, and two weekend trips. Thirty-three trips were not reported, 12 were cancelled by weather and 21 went unreported. In Massachusetts the Club reported a total of 298 species, three less than last year on 206 trips. To put this in perspective, birders throughout the state recorded a total of 377 species during the year, thus the BBC total of 298 is 79% of all the species seen in 2007!


Two new species were added to the overall Brookline Bird Club list of birds. The Club recorded Little or Macaronesian Shearwater on the Hydrographer Canyon trip August 25. This species recently “split” off from several other small “black and white” shearwaters. According to Rick Heil most European ornithogists have accepted that these forms are distinct though the American Ornithogist Union (AOU) has not yet voted to accept the DNA research. A special trip to Newport Rhode Island and nearby areas on February 3 netted great looks at TWO Pink footed Geese on the grounds of the Newport Country Club as well as the only report of Cackling Goose in 2007.


For the birder the weather in 2007was a mixed bag.  January was unusually mild at the start of the month and ended very cold but the good part was there was just a little snow. February was sunny and dry but very cold, snow came from one storm on Valentine’s Day. March began with a Lion-Lamb truce but was quickly followed by record breaking cold weather and a nor’easter on the 16th dumped over 10 inches of snow. April lived up to its reputation with frequent rain, some heavy and much more than average; a high of 86 on April 23 brought on the leaves! May was very warm but with too much rain. June was dry and a bit warmer than usual and July was quite cool with a lot of rain. August was hot with over six days reaching above 90 in Boston. September continued on the warm side and nice and dry for fall birding. Sparrow month, October was also mild and dry and 86 degrees on the 4th broke the record for Boston. After starting out on the mild side November turned down-right cold which continued into December, a nor’easter on the 16-17th disrupted many of the Christmas Bird Counts.


The fifth Annual Winter Meeting was held at Bedford High School on January 19, 2007. Cape Cod birder, Blair Nikula gave a fascinating and comprehensive presentation on the Seabirds of Antarctica. The talk entitled “Penguins, Petrels and Prions: An Antarctic Adventure,” was bases on Blair’s four week trip on a Russian ship helping gather data on seabird distribution. At our Annual Spring Meeting at Harvard’s Geological Lecture Hall, John Rogers, a co-founder of the New York State Bluebird Society talked about the life history of the Eastern Bluebird, his nest box management of an extensive Bluebird Trail which has fledged over 11,000 bluebirds! Mike O’Connor the jovial proprietor of the Bird Watcher’s General Store in Orleans had us laughing as he talked about his recently published book: “Why Don’t Woodpeckers Get Headaches” Mike shared some of the questions he has been asked over the years at his store.


Laura de la Flor and Mark Burns opened up the start of 2007 by leading their ELEVENTH annual New Year’s Day birding trip. Fourteen hardy members came out on a dismal day to begin a New Year of birding. The trip tallied just 38 species from Newburyport to finishing up at Jodrey Pier in Gloucester. Laura and Mark also led us through the seasons with a Vernal Equinox walk on March 24 all around outer Cape Cod, a Summer Solstice Saunter on June 23 and an Autumn Equinox walk on September 22.


The eighth annual Grand Slam Owl Prowl started out at 4:30AM on February 17. The goal of this trip is to locate, either by hearing or sight, all seven species of owls that are regularly found in mainland Massachusetts in one day. (Barn Owls are somewhat regular on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket-but time and cost make it nearly impossible to include the Islands) This year was a marked improvement over the last few years and we ended the day with six species, just missing Saw-whet Owl, which was also missed by the Club all year! The Club also scheduled Woodcock walks in Reading, and the Blue Hills. The Club continued co-sponsoring the TASL (Take a Second Look) surveys of the waterfowl of Boston Harbor and a Dawn Heron Census at Belle Isle Marsh in East Boston. Ongoing was a series of mid-week trips on Cape Ann in search for alcids led by Barbara Volke; Breeding Bird Surveys were conducted in Woburn and in Moose Brook Valley, Hardwick. On August 18 heavy seas prevented Mark Burns and Laura de la Flor from leading the Hawaiian Shirt Shorebird Safari over to South Beach, though the group probably caught a few glances from other tourists as they birded the outer cape in tropical attire.


A Fall Hawk watch at Mt Tom by veteran hawk-watcher Tom Gagnon tallied eight species of raptors with 734 Broad-wings making quite a show. The group proceeded down to Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary and had both Mourning and “killer” looks at a Connecticut Warbler. New this year was a three day Cape Cod Blitz, starting on Friday September 7 at Morris Island in Chatham, 12 members joined up for three full days of birding.  In the end the group tallied 117 species! At the end of the year the Club suspends scheduled trips so that our members can participate in the Christmas Bird Counts (CBC). There are thirty-four count circles within Massachusetts.


This year, the Club scheduled six pelagic trips, one trip; the November 17 trip to Nantucket Shoals had to be cancelled because of high seas. Ida, our pelagic trip organizer, also added another unscheduled Hydrographer trip on August 19 when almost 70 participants enjoyed a record number of Audubon’s Shearwaters (17) and killer looks at FIVE Sperm Whales. The first trip to the offshore canyons on July 19 was highlighted by three Bridled Terns and six species of whales and dolphins. Every trip to these waters is an adventure in our discovery of new birds offshore- the trip on August 25 did in fact add a new species to the Massachusetts list of birds.- a LITTLE or MACARONESIAN SHEARWATER, which was photographer by many of the participants providing the first documented sight record for North America! Rounding out our pelagic birding were some half day trips to Stellwagen Bank and Jeffries Ledge


A special thank-you to the 65 leaders who guided our members throughout the year; several leaders deserve special mention. Bill Drummond and Ida Giriunas, two of our long term members led the most with 22 trips each followed by Linda Ferraresso with 13 trips, Soheil Zendeh and Bob Petersen followed with 12 trips each. , Glenn d’Entremont led 11 trips mostly on the south shore and Cape Cod and Bob Stymeist also led 11 trips both in the Boston area as well as Bristol and Barnstable counties. Laura de la Flor and Jane Zanichkowsky each led 10 trips. Another nine dedicated leaders accounted for five or more trips each.


The Club visited Essex County most often, with a total of 88 scheduled trips (49 to Newburyport/ Plum Island area, 20 to Cape Ann and 19 other spots in the county, including five trips to the Marblehead Neck Sanctuary).  Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge was a distant second with 37 trips which recorded 115 species. There were also 40 scheduled trips in the Metropolitan Boston area, 19 trips were scheduled in the extended Sudbury River Valley, which included six trips at Great Meadows NWR, four trips to Oxbow NWR, three trips to the Assabet NWR, and one visit to Bolton Flats. Twenty-seven trips to the South Shore and to areas on Cape Cod including two trips to the hot birding spot at Wompatuck State Park in Hingham. and eight trips to areas in Western Mass.


Out-of-state trips included a weekend trip to the Machias area and to Rangely Lakes in Maine. The combined total number of species on the Maine trips was 135 and included some boreal birds such as Spruce Grouse, Black-backed Woodpecker, Gray Jay and Boreal Chickadee. Totally unexpected was ZERO terns on Machias!! Both Ida Giriunas and Eddie Giles have been leading these great trips for many years affording Club members the opportunity to see some northern forest and ocean birds that don’t nest in Massachusetts. There were three trips in New Hampshire, one along the coast in winter, and a trip to Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge where a Black- backed Woodpecker nest was found. A trip to Appledore Island was cancelled due to bad weather. There was one special trip to Rhode Island where the Club added Pink- footed Goose, a new species for the Club list and this trip recorded the only Cackling Goose.



The Massachusetts Audubon Society (MAS) Checklist (10/2000) now includes all the species that have been identified in the state as determined by the Massachusetts Avian Records Committee (MARC). The Club recorded the following species that are listed on the new list as rare or as accidental species.


Greater White-fronted Goose               Concord                                           October 14

Barnacle Goose                                                                   Concord                     October 14

Eared Grebe                                                                     Gloucester                     January 6

Northern Fulmar                                                 Nantucket Shoals area         June 30

Little/ Macaronesian Shearwater       18 miles N of Veatch’s Canyon          August 25

Audubon’s Shearwater                        Hydrographer Canyon                        July 21

White-faced Storm-Petrel                    Hydrographer Canyon                        August 19

Leach’s Storm-Petrel                          Nantucket Shoals area                        July 21

Band-rumped Storm-Petrel                  Hydrographer Canyon                        August 25

Swainson’s Hawk                              Cumberland Farms                            October 6

King Rail                                         Plum Island                                      May 14

American Avocet                               Plum Island                                      May 13

Ruff/Reeve                                       Newburyport Harbor                          April 8

Long-tailed Jaeger                              Nantucket Shoals                               July 21

Bridled Tern                                     Hydrographer Canyon                        July 21

Gray Jay                                          Mt. Watatic                                      November 4

Yellow-throated Warbler                     Mt. Auburn Cemetery                        May 20



The following species occur with some regularity in Massachusetts but were missed by the Club during 2007: Northern Bobwhite, Cattle Egret, Northern Goshawk (seen in Maine), Baird’s Sandpiper, Long- billed Dowitcher, Black Skimmer, Thick-billed Murre, Parasitic Jaeger  Northern Saw-whet Owl and what unfortunately is becoming a trend- Golden-winged Warbler.


The biggest trip list this year was Bill Drummond’s trip around Essex County, recording 137 species on May 20. The best bird on that trip was an American Avocet, though the group had super looks at many warblers (20 species) that were feeding very low in the Old Pines area. The most species for the least amount of travel (a total of 12 miles by car in 10 hours) was a trip just along Sconticut Neck in Fairhaven that recorded a total of 77 species on September 18. In the following table you can see which trip in each month recorded the most species; this may help in planning for a big year of birding.


January 7                       Boston                         65 species          Bob Stymeist, leader

February 11                    Scituate-Plymouth           72 species          Glenn d’Entremont, leader

March 24                       Outer Cape Cod              66 species          Laura de la Flor, leader

April 29                         Boston                          93 species          Bob Stymeist, leader

May 20                          Newburyport area            137 species         Bill Drummond, leader

June 2                           Quabbin area                   97species           Eddie Giles & Mark Burns, leaders

July 9                            Plum Island                    70 species          Tom Young, leader

August 18                      Outer Cape Cod              65 species          Laura de la Flora & Mark Burns, leaders

September 9                   Provincetown-Truro         89 species          Bob Stymeist, leader

October 14                     Newburyport-PI               70 species          Bill Drummond, leader

November 17                  Bourne                          77 species          Bob Stymeist, leader

November 18                  Fairhaven (tie)                77 species          Bob Stymeist, leader

December 2                    Cape Ann                       47 species          Ian Davies, leader




The Club recorded 79% of all the birds that were noted during 2007-pretty impressive! A total of at least 377 species, four more than last year were observed and reported by birders across the state during 2007. Other noteworthy species seen during the year but not on the BBC list were: Tundra Swan, Tufted Duck, Brown Pelican, Black Vulture, Swallow-tailed and Mississippi kites, Golden Eagle, Yellow Rail, Purple Gallinule, Black-necked Stilt,Curlew Sandpiper, Calliope, Rufous and Black-chinned hummingbirds, Say’s Phoebe, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Sedge Wren, Northern Wheatear, Audubon’s, Townsend’s, Black-throated Gray, Prothonotary and Swainson’s  warblers, Summer Tanager, Lark and Harris’ sparrows and Yellow-headed Blackbird to name a few.





The bird of the year for many was the Little Shearwater, this was the first ever recorded in New England, and with the many documented photographs will likely be the first accepted record in the United States since an individual was washed up on a beach in South Carolina way back in 1883. Imagine SIX species of shearwaters on the August 25th Extreme Pelagic as Ida’s trips have been called. Other favorites from the offshore set were Band-rumped Storm Petrel (4), and Bridled Tern  (3). The Gray Jay was a crowd pleaser and the top vote getter from all that made the trip to the top of Mt Watatic. This was a fantastic year for winter finches, Pine Grosbeaks staged a mini invasion, something quite rare in recent times. The great flocks of Bohemian Waxwings and both Common and Hoary redpolls were a treat for birders in eastern Massachusetts and thus were most rewarding experiences. The Swainson’s Warbler on Plum Island garnered a few votes, albeit frustrating because of its secretive behavior- singing from an invisible perch in a restricted area! The Townsend’s Warbler in the busy neighborhood of Cambridgeport was a favorite as was the other Townsend- the Solitaire which had to be their best bird since it was #600 on their ABA list! SIX Black-necked Stilts all moving together in unison in a salt marsh in South Chatham was a favorite for several folks that never had seen more than one bird before in Mass. Speaking of firsts for Massachusetts- the Slaty-backed Gulls was noted as the best bird of the year as well as a life bird for those who never ventured far away to “New Hampshire” to see one there last year. Sometimes it’s the very good look you get- a Dovekie up close at Jodrey Pier, or a Yellow-breasted Chat that tees up in a small tree which is joined by an Orange-crowned Warbler and both STAY there for totally insane looks! Nothing better than having both a red and a gray Eastern Screech Owl take up residence in YOUR backyard. My favorite best bird nominee was the Eared Grebe of Niles Beach, grateful that it shows up each year- we’ll have to have a celebration of its life if it should die!



It always is interesting to see what the top listers miss; just like on a Big Day or a Christmas Bird Count there is often some bird that is common but completely missed. One top lister missed Black-billed Cuckoo- hard to do when you are out every weekend. The top vote getter was the Swainson’s Warbler on Plum Island- many heard it, heard it and heard it again for three days and never saw it. Black Skimmer was listed by several folks who tried often and heard that old refrain- you should have been here… Seven attempts to see one of the many Sandhill Cranes reported was especially frustrating as was the many trips to the Hawkwatch site in Truro looking for Mississippi Kite. With all the great birds seen on the pelagic trips one that just did not get seen was the Leach’s Storm Petrel, a first miss for many veteran pelagic birders. The Golden-winged Warbler once an easy bird to see has become quite hard to find and was listed by several as their most disappointing miss. Ruffed Grouse despite a concerted effort eluded one birder for the umpteenth year. Missing Arctic Tern for the first time in decades was another disconcerting miss. Coming onto Plum Island late in the day hoping to hear a Whip-poor-will was unfulfilled when the refuge ranger refused entry so late in the day. Connecticut Warbler always gets on the list- this year no exception as three folks listed it as a perennial miss. There were many road kill Barred Owls as well as many noted alive so it was hard to miss one on another 300 plus lister list. Breeding birds in the state are hard to swallow when you miss them: Seaside Sparrow, Cerulean Warbler and Acadian Flycatcher were a few that were mentioned as unnessceary misses.


All in all it was a very good year, really hard to complain and a great big thank-you to Massbird, the internet and the great group of birders who share their knowledge and their love of birding. Give yourself a round of applause!




John Hoye, Wayland                           336

Audrey McCarthy, Wayland                 331

Oakes Spalding, Cambridge                 330

Linda Ferraresso, Watertown                326

Steve Grinley, Newburyport                 322

Kevin Ryan, Easton                            321

Ida Giriunas, Reading                          320

Herman D’Entremont, Somerville         319

Margo Goetschkes                              318

Davis Noble, Marblehead                     318

Mollie Taylor, Danvers                        311

Glenn d’Entremont, Stoughton              311

Chris Floyd, Lexington                        310

Bev Chiasson, Newton                        303

Karsten Hartel, Arlington                     290

Bob Stymeist, Arlington                      287

George Gove, Southboro                      279

Fred Bouchard, Belmont                      273

Tom Wetmore                                  262*

Laura de la Flor, Salem                        243

Jonathan Center, Chelmsford                237

Shane Hunt, Brookline                        237


* Plum Island Only