As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday, 22 January 2016


Soheil Zendeh heads out after siting the rare Smith’s Longspur bird at the Wheelabrator’s Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary in Saugus on Wednesday.  

SAUGUS — Over thirty devoted bird watchers braved Wednesday morning’s frigid temperatures to seek out the uncommon Smith’s Longspur at Wheelabrator’s Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Smith’s Longspur is a rare species that typically only winters in the center of the United States and breeds along the Arctic shore.
“This is a rare opportunity to see this bird – the Smith’s Longspur – in the state of Massachusetts and fortunately, this bird has been very cooperative for our visitors,” saidGeoff Wilson, sanctuary manager for Wheelabrator’s Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary.
“I’ve been birding for 38 years and it’s a rare opportunity to see something like this,” saidFred Bouchard of Belmont. “For many of us it (could be) the only chance to see it at all. I feel grateful for the chance to see it here.”
Wilson said the bird has been in the general area for approximately a month but nobody had been able to get a good look at it until birders identified it on a walk this past weekend.
Each year the group of bird watchers participates in a Christmas count in the weeks surrounding Christmas. The group counts each type of bird they come across. This year, they saw a very rare Swainson’s Hawk, said Soheil Zendeh, who organizes the events.
“It took a while to figure out what it was,” said Zendeh.
Zendeh said the hawk is a midwestern bird that travels to South Africa. The bird watchers took photos and sent them to someone they knew could identify the bird.
“When I saw the photos later that night I nearly fell over,” he said.
The group organized a special walk to attempt to see the Swainson’s Hawk the next day. Though the group could not find the hawk, they came across several other interesting species, he said.
“We found all sorts of other things including this bird (the Smith’s Longspur),” he said. “We knew it was something interesting but not what it was.
“This past Sunday we got a good view,” he said.
Photos of the bird were sent to Marshall Iliff, who Zendeh said is a “big bird” in the birding world. Iliff identified the bird to be a Smith’s Longspur.

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