January: Fairly quiet month, Brewer’s Duck at Salisbury, White-winged Doves in the Fenway, and that was about it.
February: Snowy month, a commuting milestone and the Redhead moving to the Charles plus Barrow’s Goldeneye on Deer Island
March: Smith’s Longspur was the only lifer of the year. Lots of missing Ross’s Goose, did get a Glaucous Gull as some compensation.
April: Caught up with the Eurasian Wigeon in Marlboro on the third attempt. Got my only new Great Meadows bird for the year with a turkey. A Bristol county trip built that list a bit, as did a couple trips to the airport in NH. A good bunch of early migrants ended the month plus first insects of the year.
May: Orchard Oriole was a yard bird, Prairie Warbler was a Charles bird, a bunch of Suffolk birds, Prothonotary at Fresh Pond, got to 100 in Burlington, and was honestly a fairly slow migration. Also first central MA bug trip of the year was fairly good. Ended the month with a Hooded Warbler at Hobbs Brook (plus 3 other new birds for the res).
June: Found another Prothonotary, went out to Worcester where we missed the target dragonfly but got an Olive-sided, then went to the DSA meeting which I haven’t written up yet but was fairly good. On return, got Winchester to 100, a late Black-and-white at BBN, and Norm’s Grasshopper Sparrow in the Henslow field (which I probably had and didn’t pay attention to at the end of May). Finished the month with a central MA swing and filled some holes in my county ode list.
July: Added Slender Bluet to my county ode list, a first Squantum run, the usual on the Concord butterfly count, then the NE DSA meeting, which had some nice northern stuff. Finished the month by filling some holes in my Suffolk and Norfolk lists.
August: Missed a Suffolk Sora but had a few other things, then explored Ashby, had a trickle of fall migrants, a Great Egret at BBN, and a quick trip to Plum midmonth had a Black Tern. Ended with a Ruffed Grouse in Townsend, then Caspian Tern and Wilson’s Phalarope in Squantum.
September: Started getting decent numbers of fall migrants (for a couple days at least). Lousy weather for the annual Berkshire trip but got a Cape May and a few others plus made a brief Connecticut trip that added a bunch. Also filled a bunch more Suffolk (and Norfolk) gaps. Twelve(!) Red-necked Grebes at the res on the 23rd were on of the year’s highlights.
October: Grasshopper Sparrow at Rock Meadow, a Plymouth run in poor weather, and then Brant at Farm Pond. A Worcester county run was mostly bust, but more Caspian Terns in Squantum plus a Vesper Sparrow at Great Pond. Finished the month with Winter Wren finally at the res and a late Short-billed Dowitcher and gannets in Winthrop.
November: Tried some late hawkwatching but didn’t get any of the unlikely targets. Got in on the YB Cuckoo influx with one at BBN and the Dunlin influx (but in Worcester county). Veteran’s Day weekend was rather crazy with Tundra Swan and Hammond’s Flycatcher major highlights and then a Snow Bunting on patch. The BT Gray on Thanksgiving was a county bird. Townsend’s Solitaire and some other stuff in a Bristol county run, then owls all over the place locally before missing an Ash-throated.
December: Second Hammond’s of the year (and my 4th in MA), then a few more Suffolk birds. CBC scouting turned up a Chat and a Long-eared Owl. Chat cooperated on the count, but had to make do with a Barred instead (although up to 5 Long-ears have been seen since). Rough-legs at Dunback rounded out the year nicely.
New birds: Smith’s Longspur
New MA birds: Smith’s Longspur
New Middlesex birds: Tundra Swan, Black-throated Gray Warbler
New Waltham birds: Yellow-breasted Chat
New odes: Eastern Ringtail and Cobra Clubtail in VA, Crimson-ringed Whiteface and Ringed Emerald up north. Slender Bluet and Belted Whiteface were new for MA, those plus Amber-winged Spreadwing for Middlesex.
New butterflies: Hackberry Emperor in VA, Veined/Mustard White in NH. Nothing new for state and county.
Of the multitude of goals, most were too ambitious. Did meet Norfolk to 100 and Suffolk to 175 plus got my Middlesex total town ticks to 3500 and got Burlington, Cambridge, and Winchester to 100 and the patch list to 170. Made some progress on most month lists but most of those were ambitious. Fell just short of 300 in Middlesex, a bit short in Worcester, and didn’t travel enough for the life list or chase enough for MA, although I’m not sure I could have reached my goal of 390 even if I did more chasing. Patch year lists were a bit low mostly because I spent more time working on other projects (and there were no shorebirds for the res).
That makes goals for 2018 easy though. All the month lists and bigger lists can have the same goal. Also want to start part 2 of the Middlesex town list project (getting 100 in every town, part 1 was the 17 closest), so adding to a bunch of barely visited places will be easy.