YIR 2020

Interesting to say the least.


January: Lots of lingering birds including Sora and Virginia Rail and Chipping Sparrows everywhere. Highlight was the hybrid Mallard x Pintail.

February: Started with the distant Eared Grebe in Beverly, some nice gulls in Wilmington, and that was about it.

March: Barnacle Goose in Plymouth county, did a bunch of town listing, getting my 20th over 100 in county. Shoveler made for a nice patch bird to end them month.

April: Canvasback was a commute bird, grebes at the res, and that was about it.

May: Usual migrants, western Palm the most interesting. Two yard birds (Ovenbird and Black-billed Cuckoo) after a couple years of not adding anything. Walking route for Birdathon had 77 species, would have been a really nice day for a full run.

June: Pileated finally on patch, Hooded Warbler in Lincoln, and the start of the RB Nuthatch invasion.

July: Crossbills in Ashby, Golden-winged Skimmer in Townsend, second weasel of the year, and a few ibis.

August: Glaucous at Earhart was one of the highlights of the year, dowitchers at the res, plus Sooty Tern and Bonaparte’s Gulls from the storm. Usual start to fall migration.

September: Sanderling at Great Meadows was #200 there, Townsend’s Warbler at Sandy Beach, Golden-plover at Westborough, Kentucky (barely) in Newton, skimmers in Revere, and more migrants.

October: Chasing siskins around, adding to lots of lists, first redpolls, and some ducks.

November: Bird of the year with the Common Cuckoo plus Loggerhead Shrike on the way home. Lark Sparrow at Danehy was the first good find in a while, guillemot at Deer Island, and the Pacific-slope made for a nice month (without even getting to the Glaucous Gull returning at Earhart and the meadowlark at Torbert McDonald.

December: Better show from the Pacific-slope, the Eared Grebe in Boston, and the Tundra Swan rounded out a good year.

Two state birds, one Middlesex bird, and one lifer wasn’t bad for no travel. Not much for bugs, Arctic and Pepper-and-salt Skipper the best of the butterflies, the Martha’s Pennant in Acton on the butterfly count and the Golden-winged Skimmer the good odes. Made some progress with robber flies, not as much with Syrphids.

Bird of the year as mentioned was easily the cuckoo. Pacific-slope takes the more local honors.

Blew past my goal of 170 for the workday Cambridge Region (176+) and added 9 species to the overall “commute” list (all after I stopped going to the office), now at 236. Also passed 200 in the local (two town) region, cumulative list there now 299. And now at 23 towns over 100 species. Didn’t do the county listing I hoped for, only picking up a few in Suffolk, Norfolk, and Worcester plus a couple from chases in Plymouth.


Goals for 2021 are a bit open given I have no idea about any travel possibilities. Workday list is a combined Charles/Cambridge Res/BBN+Rock Meadow patch list, hoping for 150? More effort in the county listing game, getting Berkshire, Hampden, and Hampshire to 100 would be nice as would 200 in Norfolk, Worcester, and Barnstable. Six towns have lists between 80 and 100, so getting those to 100 and the 19 under 50 to 50 would be a stretch but it’s a goal. Got new month birds in 11 of 12 this year, so getting at least that would be nice. Still not focused on the state list and a drop too far away from 400 to really push, but getting a few of the regular gaps (Arctic Tern, WF Ibis, Sabine’s Gull, Hoary Redpoll) would be good. Middlesex County list is nothing but vagrants (give or take Hoary Redpoll) missing, so no goal is really settable there. A couple more butterflies and dragonflies would be nice (clean up the missing bluets, a pygmy clubtail, and Needham’s Skimmer wouldn’t be too hard, finally getting Baltimore Checkerspot, Hoary Elfin, Cloudless Sulphur, and Sachem would be enough for butterflies, and Purple Tiger Beetle.


Also managed to add about 45 species with audio records and 80 with photos to ebird, still have a couple years of photos to go through. Get that done and I can go back to the archives for inat.