Mountain Bluebird - Turner's Falls Airfield, Franklin Co., MA. November 13th, 2016.
About the tenth state record for Massachusetts.
Update Nov 11th: The Mountain Bluebird apparently showed well all morning from first light and was clearly finding plenty to eat!
Came across this wonderful Mountain Bluebird at Turner's Falls Airfield this morning (11/13). Initially somewhat distant, I waited for closer views and confirmation before sending out the first alerts to friends and colleagues. Within thirty minutes or so, the first birders started to arrive with the bird being regularly seen by many until sunset.
Although Veit and Petersen document just one record of Mountain Bluebird in the 'Birds of Massachusetts' (1993), it appears that the species has occurred in the state far more regularly since that time with at least eight more records to date, not including this bird. Quite a few of these have been from interior Massachusetts with dates ranging from late October through to mid-May. Check out the excellent summary in MARCs pages here; http://www.maavianrecords.com/home/about-species-accounts/mountain-bluebird?pli=1
This species has been on my 'radar' as a potential Franklin County bird for several years and I was thrilled to see it come to light today. Other birds of interest at the airfield included around 40 Snow Buntings, 25+ Horned Larks and a couple of Eastern Bluebirds. Elsewhere, more signs of irruptive finches included one flock of 19 Evening Grosbeaks in Gill in the early morning, and Brian Kane reported a Red Crossbill flyover River Road in Montague in mid-morning.
*Turner's Falls Airfield can be viewed from the public parking area near the administration building just off Miller's Falls Road, across the street from the former Country Creemee.