Plum Island and its Bird Life

By Ludlow Griscom

Massachusetts Audubon Society, 1955

In 1606 Plum Island was discovered by Champlain. It was first mapped by Captain John Smith in 1616. Just before 1694 the whole adjacent coast was carefully chartered [sic] by Captain Cyprian Southack, who first showed how boats could best get by the dangerous bars to both Ipswich and Newburyport.

In 1621 the Plymouth Colony granted somewhat vaguely to Captain John Mason some land now known as Ipswich, and in 1639 Ipswich formally laid claim to Plum Island by allowing certain citizens to keep hogs on it. But troubles were soon to arise. In 1635 the Reverend Thomas Parker, with twenty-two friends, left Ipswich, sailed up the Plum Island River, turned left, and went up the now Parker River as far as they could get and founded Newbury. In the meantime economic conditions of the times made the salt-marsh thatch and hay exceedingly lucrative, and contests arose as to who owned the Plum Island River and Plum Island itself. Newbury was divided to make Rowley (1639), Newburyport was settled in 1645, and the whole matter was taken to the General Court in 1649, when Newbury asked for the entire island, largely on the grounds of economic necessity. The Court granted the southern two fifths to Ipswich, one fifth in the middle to Rowley, and the northern two fifths to Newbury. In 1664 Ipswich, on a strictly monetary basis, granted Plum Island to numerous people in double or single shares, whereupon various people began buying each other out. The soil was fertile for planting and fine oak and pine trees (six inches through) grew on the island. As fencing was impossible, the practice of keeping hogs, horses, and cattle on the unfenced area all winter ruined the grass on the marshes, and the General Court passed an act (1739) declaring this practice illegal, and the act was extended until at least 1785.

It must be recalled that old maps show that the south end of Plum Island was square. It ended in Bar Island Head with a fresh-water pond, the site of a dam and salt works (1829) with several buildings and six windmills. John Pengry built a house on the Bluffs in 1732 and actually ran a farm in these bleak and dreary surroundings. The next high land was Stage Island, where, in 1781, Enoch Dole build the “Willow Cottage” by a great tree, and a map exists showing nine houses on Stage Island, where stages for drying fish actually existed. There was a dike across the salt marsh to the main island, and a landing wharf for boats. Grape Island, just north and covered with trees, soon became thickly settled with many houses. North of Stage Island there was a great embayment of the river, now filled with salt marshes, by which “Stage Creek” now connects with “Pine Creek” running back to the mainland and back of Grape Island.

North of Stage Island was Middle Island, another glacial drumlin, later known as the Cross Farm (Hill), which also was covered with trees, an apple orchard, and hayfields, and there the Least Flycatcher and Bobolink nested, and there was a colony of Cliff Swallows on the barn. Somewhere further north was the Wakefield Farm, and anyone poking about the dune hollows can find an old cellar hole or an aged apple tree showing signs of past settlement. On my first trip down the island in 1930, the Cross Farm house and barn still stood, the Dole House on Stage Island still survived and was occupied, the dike across had broken down, and remains of the Pengry House and the old sundial could be found on The Bluffs. The Emerson Rocks, or Reefs, were just north of The Bluffs, “Knobb’s Beach” stretched north to the Coast Guard Station built in 1890, and Bar Island had become a long sandy point stretching south and all vestiges of houses, dam and windmill, trees and apple orchards had disappeared.

It must be remembered that a load of salt-marsh hay and thatch (2500 pounds) was worth many hundred dollars, that people paid up to one hundred dollars per annum for the privilege of cutting hay, and that foresighted citizens operated huge shallow scows known as gundalows, in which the mown hay, stacked on staddles, was collected, loaded, and ferried to such landing points as Nelson’s Island and Pine Creek Landing. There teams distributed the hay to the neighboring areas, and inns and taverns were available for refreshment and rest during the times when storms or rain suspended the hay gathering or mowing operations. When economic change destroyed this industry, the people concerned abandoned their property, ceased to pay taxes, and the land was taken over by the towns on a tax title or unpaid lien bases.

It must also be remembered that in ancient times the fishing was excellent. Salmon, sturgeon, and shad ran up the Ipswich, Parker, and Merrimac Rivers up to 1817, oyster beds existed, and lobsters could be caught at the south end of the Plum Island River. Market gunning became highly profitable, and many of the houses now on Plum Island were hunting and fishing camps on which rents were paid to those grantors owning the mowing rights. Such a place is “Hale’s Cove,” formerly with a landing pier, just north of the present refuge warden’s house built by Charles Safford when he became warden for the Annie H. Brown Sanctuary of the Massachusetts Audubon Society. People like J. W. Goodridge and R. H. Wilkinson, of the Essex County Ornithological Club, had shooting camps on the beach above The Bluffs. Later a lawless gunning element made trouble on the sanctuary, and the Audubon directors had to hire Clifford Brocklebank as deputy warden during the hunting season. He lived in the remodeled Dole House and repaired the footbridge from Stage Island to the mainland.

We must now jump north to Newburyport, always a prosperous seaport town, incorporated in 1764 as a secession from the farming community of Newbury because all kinds of industry and commerce had developed. The adjusted boundaries allowed Newburyport to own the northern end of Plum Island, the line running across Woodbridge Island from where Rolf’s Lane comes in. The mouth of the Merrimac River was twice as wide between 1694 and 1800 as it now is. What is now known as the “Basin” did not exist in 1764 but did in 1805, when the harbor began to deteriorate rapidly because of silting and storms. The first breakwater built from the Basin across Woodbridge Island and out westward in 1831 was an engineering failure, and The Jetties were constructed in 1881. The Plum Island turnpike was built in 1807, but in 1809 a storm carried the bridge away, marooning a hotel built in 1807. A horse-dawn trolley line was built in 1887, and this was electrified from 1894 to 1905. The lighthouse dates back to 1860, the Coast Guard to 1881. Plum Island was noted for over one hundred wrecks and disasters involving considerable loss of life. Emerson’s Reefs was a veritable deathtrap, and bodies were buried at the base of The Bluffs or the dunes on Knobb’s Beach, the skeletons occasionally reappearing with another storm.

It must also be remembered that from 1930 to the hurricane of 1938, a long spit of sand ran out into the Merrimac River just north of the Coast Guard boathouse at the north end of the Plum Island road. This spit had two ponds at its base. It was a famous roosting area for gulls, terns, and shore birds at high tide, and very good studies of them could be obtained by creeping up through the dunes. Gilbert Emilio and I went there regularly, and there I collected the Little Gull, jumped a Connecticut Warbler, and sighted many a Short-eared Owl and Ipswich Sparrow.

Ornithological history begins at Newburyport, where there had long been an excellent game market, whence Samuel Cabot obtained some Canvas-backs in 1846, the first specimens of record from the State. In some way or another Dr. Thomas M. Brewer managed to keep an eye on this market after 1873, and many rare birds labeled “Newburyport,” notably a Ruff in full breeding plumage, were obtained. I suspect, but cannot prove it, that Charles L. Perkins and Edward W. Eaton acted as agents for museums and local collectors. They were both veteran market gunners, and later, as the game birds declined, they were correspondents of E. H. Forbush. As exact labeling became required, it turned out that many of these birds were obtained on the Plum Island River, and William Brewster secured specimens of rarities. Two Eskimo Curlew were obtained at Newburyport by Colonel John E. Thayer in 1908, the last specimens for Essex County, but, alas, we do not know exactly where. In the meantime John R. Floyd, a veteran market gunner of Rowley, supplied Forbush with some interesting information. One of the early members of the Essex County Ornithological Club was J. W. Goodridge, a taxidermist at South Hamilton who maintained a gunning stand in Rowley and a camp on Plum Island, the only man I know who went to sea in a boat off the south end of Plum Island both spring and fall and recorded some notes of great interest. R. H. Wilkinson, of the Essex County Ornithological Club, also had a gunning camp on Plum Island. Gil Emilio and I often visited him there, securing items of interest. Shooting shore birds was his great hobby, and it is rumored that even after 1930, when the hunting of shore birds was prohibited, he, like many others of his time, saw no good reason why he should stop.

It thus happens that by pure chance of accessibility birding began at the south end of Plum Island, as there was a regular boat and livery service from Ipswich to Plum Island, the S. S. Carlotta I. The motor age had not yet arrived and visitors reaching Plum Island from Newburyport had no way of getting down the island except on foot. In spite of the trolley line and turnpike to Plum Island, James L. Peters told me that the time between Sunday trains was too short to make the trip worth while. But it was entirely possible to go to Ipswich, cycle to the landing, take the boat across to Stage Island, walk across the dike to the mainland, explore the farm trees and orchards, catch the last train back to Boston, and have a lovely and profitable trip. Peters, while still an undergraduate at Harvard, founded the Norfolk Bird Club in 1905, and he, Barron Brainerd, W. Charlesworth Levey, R. M. Marble, and others were constantly going to Plum Island between April 19 and late November, but rarely in winter. He started and edited a journal known as The Wren, Vol. I, Nos. 1-9, October 1908 - September 1909, now one of the very rarest of American bird periodicals, containing lists of birds seen. It was from him that I first learned that the thickets occasionally swarmed with land bird migrants in late May and October, and that is what started me going there.

We must now turn to the figure of Charles J. Maynard, a veteran but highly controversial figure in New England ornithology, who lived in Ipswich, collecting from 1868 to 1875, and who rowed himself across to Plum Island at least as early as 1872. Because his original business of taxidermy and professional collecting was halted by protection and the decline of interest, and because his private publishing enterprises never made any money, he cashed in, shrewdly enough, on the rising popular interest in birds and started a series of bird walks for a fee in 1893. These walks were a tremendous success, and many people now well-known birders in New England and members of the Nuttall and other clubs owe their original training and inspiration to Mr. Maynard. While people have told me that the Brookline Bird Club was an outgrowth of Maynard’s nature walks, this is denied by the surviving senior members. However, it must be admitted that the B. B. C. walks were after almost the exact pattern of Maynard’s walks, and many of the early members were his pupils. His walks included traditional trips to the south end of Plum Island on May 30 or October 12.

Happily, Maynard had to start another publication, Walks and Talks with Nature, Vols. I-XII (1908-1920), a weekly issue containing lists of the birds seen on each walk, very often the number of people present, and the names of those better known. In this way we now have a record of what these people found and saw. They were frequently accompanied by J. L. Peters, Barron Brainerd, Judge Jenny, Dr. Mackie, R. C. Robbins, T. Emerson Proctor, C. E. Clarke, John B. May, Charles B. Floyd, Mrs. Lidian E. Bridge, Miss Annie W. Cobb, and Miss Anna K. Barry. Bitter rivalry broke out among some of these bird watchers, according to my old friend C. E. Clarke, who reminisced recently with me on events of half a century ago. Mr. Peters told me he stopped going when protection sentiment arose so strongly that he could no longer collect. Maynard, with his usual eccentricity, would depart from his original plan for his publication, print the syllabus of his summary bird course at Massachusetts Agricultural College, insert a long article on peculiar New England tombstones, describe new shells from the Bahama Islands, or use bird cuts from his earlier works that had nothing to do with the birds seen on the walk! Complete sets of Walks and Talks are extremely rare.

I find that Maynard’s groups made sixty-nine trips in twelve years; struck a great wave on May 28, 1918, recording fifty-four species; and that they made several mid-June trips, thus determining the summer residents. Very often care must be taken in analyzing data, as the party would split, some preferring a shorter walk around Clarke’s Pond, Ipswich, or, if time permitted, they would go to both Ipswich and Plum Island in one day. In 1910, Maynard’s sixty-fifth birthday was celebrated by the presentation to him of a Zeiss binocular, over 200 people contributing, including his old fiend William Brewster.

Mr. Poor, on the S.S. Carlotta II, usually took the party over to Plum Island and landed them on the wharf on Stage Island. They would then walk past the farm, the rows of willows and poplars, across the dike to The Bluffs, explore Emerson Rocks at low tide, and move on up Knobb’s Beach to the Coast Guard Station, rarely on to Hell Cat Swamp (where they discovered the enormous Night Heron rookery on May 29, 1909), and home via the Cross Farm trees and apple orchards and pasture. It must be recalled that gulls, terns, all ducks, and shore birds were rare, for protection was just beginning to result in an increase. Thus terns were not recorded in numbers until the fall of 1917; shore birds were not seen in clouds until May 30, 1919. In the autumn the country swarmed with gunners, and many birds were shot or found dead. Mr. Maynard, who preserved his sight and hearing marvelously for a man of his age, began to retire after he reached seventy-five and dropped the walks project on his eightieth birthday.

From 1930 on, the Massachusetts Audubon Society was acquiring the land which was added to the Annie H. Brown Sanctuary on Plum Island established by the Federation of Bird Clubs of New England and turned over to the Society in 1936. Warden Charles H. Safford, an old market gunner, built his house on Hale’s Cove and began patrolling the area on horseback in a very picturesque manner. He regularly sent reports on birds to the Audubon office, and they were reviewed by Francis H. Allen, who published a series of Plum Island notes in the Bulletin. Field trips to Newburyport and the north end of Plum Island began, but, so far as I know, the Sanctuary was rarely visited and no separate list of birds was kept.

I first visited Plum Island on August 8, 1929, with John C. Phillips and State Warden Edward Babson. I drove to the south end alone on September 14, 1930, and with Mrs. Griscom on January 18, 1931. This last was a most exciting trip, for when the abominable road was blocked with snow I ran out over the ice on the frozen salt marsh, and my wife wouldn’t go again for years! It was indeed hazardous, most birders would not attempt the trip, and we all often got stuck or marooned by the rising tide. After 1930 the warden and the Coast Guard could help one out, and a shovel and rolls of chicken wire were regular equipment. In 1935, with excitement over the finding of a Glossy Ibis, I recall taking thirteen people in my Ford down to Hell Cat at one time. I find from my notes that I have made over five hundred trips to Plum Island, my companions on these trips numbering well over two hundred different people, including almost every well-known and active birder in eastern Massachusetts and belonging to every possible club or society. I recall with particular happiness a picnic supper trip with G. William Cotrell, Jr., in a cracking August heat wave. After evening birding and trying for owls, we finally reached Newburyport somewhat weary at 4:30 A.M., had coffee, and got home to an astounded maid just in time for a second breakfast at 9:00 A.M. It was a simple matter at that time to reach the Cross Farm Hill, but virtually impossible to make The Bluffs except in extreme drought or in a snowless winter. The results obtained by Maynard’s classes show that this region was a neglected opportunity, and many birds known mostly from the north end of the island will most certainly be found at the lower, or refuge, end sooner or later.

To sum up, Plum Island has been subject to several important ecological stresses, or changes: 1) The abandonment of the ancient farms has caused the loss of certain summer residents, such as the Least Flycatcher, Yellow-throated and Warbling Vireos, Bobolink, and Baltimore Oriole, and has greatly decreased several others. 2) There is no evidence that the plume trade drove out any nesting terns, but they all became exceedingly scarce. 3) Unrestricted market gunning, hunting, and collecting greatly reduced the waterfowl and all shore birds. 4) The intensive mowing and salt-marsh haying of the 250 years must have had a profoundly disturbing effect, although we can never positively know what it was. I note, however, that since it has stopped, the Long-billed Marsh Wren and Clapper Rail are rapidly occupying the creeks lined with tall thatch, and the Seaside Sparrow is another southern species that has come in, possibly because of milder winters. As everybody knows, shore birds tend to gather on salt marsh at high tide where the marshes are recently mowed, and I saw this mowing activity stop in my own time, not only on Plum Island itself, but also on the mainland in the area formerly known as “The Hundreds.” During the fall migration, a most sterile trip recently has been to Nelson’s Island. People cannot remember that it was formerly a most rewarding trip, when the marshes on both sides of the causeway were closely mown; here Golden Plover, Hudsonian Curlew, and Baird’s Sandpiper were routine. 5) The Annie H. Brown Sanctuary of the Massachusetts Audubon Society had little ornithological effect, barring better protection from hunters, as the Society at that time lacked the means for any modern plan of management or development. In those days birding in the thickets was indeed a handicap, as Hell Cat Swamp was virtually impenetrable, and a rare bird glimpsed there by an observer usually could not be found again or shown to the party. 6) When the Federal government took over the land to establish the present Parker River Wildlife Refuge, certain changes were promptly made. A greatly improved dirt road was built down to the Cross Farm drumlin, and this road went right through the middle of Hell Cat Swamp, destroying the last enormous Night Heron rookery in the State. It has made the woods and thickets far more available for the study of land bird migrants than was formerly possible. The construction of a long dike for the First and Second Impoundments was at first a great disappointment, as, to everyone’s surprise, they failed to hold their fresh-water supply through a period of drought. This stopped with the First Impoundment by 1952, and now no one can predict what will happen next. Large flocks of ducks, herons, and shore birds now gather there at appropriate seasons, and some which were formerly casual on salt marshes have begun to nest. Blue and Snow Geese have become regular transients, and many remarkable records are being made by an increasing horde of visitors. It is certain that this refuge will not prove to be an ornithological racket, as its numerous enemies and opponents, with a lamentable and almost tragic lack of vision, have so strongly insisted. In the meantime “birders” are encouraged by a sympathetic refuge staff, provided they behave tactfully and considerately, especially during the breeding and hunting season.

But, ornithologically, at the moment the most spectacular feature of Plum Island is the occasional wave of land bird migrants which at times every year deluge the woods and thickets to a degree almost unbelievable to the uninitiated. As I have personally experienced thirty-one of these waves, some account is in order:

March. Only twice. March 27, 1932, and March 27, 1949. Requiring a cold and backward season suddenly warming up with a strong southwest wind blowing all the night preceding the “wave.”

April. Very rare. Requiring exactly the conditions similar to late March. April 16, 1933, the first warm night after a cold and backward month, is an example. Almost every one can remember the more recent spectacular deluge of birds on April 26, 1953.

May and June. People must recall that the proximity of cold salt water greatly retards the season on Plum Island and little happens until the plum bushes are in full bloom, May 15-20. Earlier it is a routine experience to visit the southern edge of Essex County, Nahant or Marblehead Neck, and find that a great “wave” has arrived overnight, of which no traces can be found on Plum Island. Only three times have I ever found a good flight of land birds before May 16. Later on, from May 20 to early June, the situation is exactly reversed, results at Nahant and Marblehead Neck giving no inkling of the swarm of birds awaiting the visitor to Plum Island. My latest date for such a flight is June 6, 1952. On May 25, 1947, I find I kept a complete Plum Island list, recording eighty-six species in half a day.

August. With the first indications of fall, the situation becomes exactly reversed. The condition required is a cold front with northwest winds — comparatively scarce in August. August 25, 1948, August 29, 1951, and August 19, 1952, are dates when the right conditions prevailed.

September. Same conditions as August, usually of annual occurrence, best in the middle of the month. Maximum, eighty-two species on September 16, 1948. I find I have personally never encountered a good wave in late September, after the 21st, but is it certain to occur.

October. While the variety of species is decreased, it is primarily the month of sparrows, and late stragglers of the September group. Fifty-five species on October 2, 1949, is the best I have ever done, and later than this I have no personal experiences, but Peters’s group and Maynard’s group did very well indeed up to October 15 on many occasions.

In more recent years many people have expressed the wish to spend the whole day on Plum Island, leaving out most parts of the traditional Essex County route. James Baird, James Moran, Robert Smart, and Wallace Bailey have indeed tried it with success, but others have frequently selected the wrong day and obtained little or nothing worthy of record. Nevertheless, the old motto “Nothing venture, nothing have” is an ornithological truism on Plum Island, and all records given here may be superseded by those who try it and hit it right.

Warm thanks are hereby extended to Judge Robert Walcott, G. W. Cottrell, Jr., and Dr. John B. May for reminiscences, recollections, and historical references. The members of the Old Colony Bird Club have devoted several meetings to furthering this paper with notes, records, and helpful suggestions. All members are seasoned veterans of Plum Island excursions. In addition, Charles E. Clarke, of the Nuttall Ornithological Club, got in touch with the widow of George L. Perry, who kindly donated her husband’s records, arranged in systematic order, beginning with visits to the south end of Plum island as far back as 1921. Miss Eleanor Barry also kindly reviewed her long Plum Island experiences, from 1921 to 1954. Mr. Clarke also put me in touch with Miss Annie W. Brown, now ninety years old, who began going to Plum Island with C. J. Maynard in 1908.

At the express request of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the list of birds is submitted in two parts: 1) The Parker River Refuge only, from the north boundary gates to the southern end of the island, including all the salt-marsh areas west of Plum Island River and east of the Turnpike or Route 1; and 2) A supplemental list of additional species and records of rarities seen at the north end of the island, to which most visitors now regularly go. As examples of differences in these areas, we might cite the Old-squaw, common in proper season in Newburyport Harbor but less in evidence at sea as seen from the dunes of the refuge; the Upland Plover, found occasionally at the upper end of the island, not reported from the refuge, yet nesting in the Newburyport region and found regularly in summer on the Newburyport common pasture; and the Woodcock, rarely if at all seen on Plum Island, yet a regular migrant and breeding bird in the upland area of Newbury known as The Downfall.

In view of the abundant literature available to all on the migration dates of birds of eastern Massachusetts, and of Essex County in particular, dates given here are confined to rarities and others notably early or late. Where no name appears after a special date or record, “Griscom and party” is to be understood. The symbol (#) appearing after a name indicates “and party.” The total Plum Island list now stands at 320 species and subspecies. It will readily be seen that the number of possible or probable species unreported up to this time is exceedingly small, thus making this one of the most remarkable local lists ever made in the Northeastern States.

List of Birds from Refuge Boundary to South End of Plum Island (including whole salt-marsh area on the Refuge).

Common Loon. Common transient and winter resident, stragglers in summer. It is most exceptional to see over 50 in a day. July 29, 1952.

Pacific Loon. Casual, November 19, 1937 (F. H. Allen and W. M. Tyler).

Red-throated Loon. Common fall transient, rare in winter, uncommon in spring. October 2 [1909] (C. J. Maynard) — May 30 [1912] Maynard, 4 birds, 1 adult in full breeding plumage).

Red-necked Grebe. Uncommon in fall, winter, and spring. Rarely numerous in late fall.

Horned Grebe. Common transient and winter resident. Over 200 on February 10, 1952. August 16, 1928 (Townsend, Stubbs, Emilio); September 4, 1920 (J. W. Goodridge, a taxidermist at South Hamilton who had a camp on Plum Island, later a member of the Essex County Ornithological Club); October 2 [1910] (Maynard) — April 20 [1914] (Maynard) and May 30, 1914 (Maynard).

Eared Grebe. Casual, first Massachusetts record March 27, 1949 (Griscom, D. E. Snyder, many others).

Western Grebe. One record, February 5, 1950 (Halbergs).

Pied-billed Grebe. Formerly casual on salt water in fall migration, first reported December 4, 1949. Now regular on the First Impoundment, early date March 17, 1954.

Sooty Shearwater. Once, October 12, 1916 (Maynard’s class).

Leach’s Petrel. Twice, October 13, 1913 (Maynard’s class), and April 19, 1919 (Goodridge).

Gannet. Common fall transient, formerly rare in winter and spring, now increasing and becoming regular.

European Cormorant. Rare visitor in winter in recent years.

Double-crested Cormorant. Common transient, rapidly increasing after 1930; over 800 on October 2, 1949. June 17, 1918 (Maynard), first summer record, but now breeding along coast north of Boston.

Great Blue Heron. Common transient, rare in early winter. Early July — early June.

American Egret. Uncommon summer visitor, first noted August 2, 1920 (Goodridge); next, May 15, 1932 (Bagg, Eliot, Griscom). Seldom more than 6 in great flight years.

Snowy Egret. Rare summer visitor. August 11, 1948; April 19, 1953; two birds, May 24 — July, 1952.

Louisiana Heron. Casual, first State record, east of Ipswich Poor Farm, September 7-14, 1940 (F. H. Allen, Taber, Emilio, and others). See The Auk.

Little Blue Heron. Uncommon summer visitor. No spring records as yet. Maximum 30 on September 1, 1930 (George L. Perry).

Green Heron. Uncommon summer resident, nest and 5 eggs found May 30, 1914 (Maynard), April 19, 1954 (Griscom) and casually to October 26 and November 2, 1936 (Safford).

Black-crowned Night Heron. Abundant summer resident, the great rookery of over 1000 pairs in Hell Cat Swamp discovered by Maynard’s class in 1909 and ruined by refuge road through it. Still abundant, rarely lingering into winter. Arrival March 31, 1939 (Safford).

Yellow-crowned Night Heron. Rare summer visitor, May 15, 1932 (Bagg, Eliot, Griscom), 2 adults May 13 [1937] (Safford) — September 20 [1952] (Beatties, Smart, E. Barry). Two during spring and summer of 1954 (various observers).

American Bittern. Found nesting in South End marshes in 1918 (Maynard) and now in First impoundment. Regular fall transient, late August to December 18 [1953]. Rarely noted on salt marshes in spring.

Least Bittern. Nearly caught alive, First Impoundment, May 16, 1954 (David Freeland).

Glossy Ibis. Two birds roosting in Hell Cat Swamp, April 28 - May 16, 1935 (seen by over 100 people); May 4-6 and June 13, 1953 (de Windt and others).

Whistling Swan. Flock of 6 alighted in Plum Island River, November 28, 1902; 1 shot and bought by William Brewster, specimen now in Boston Museum of Science.

Canada Goose. Common transient, occasionally attempting unsuccessfully to winter. Mid-February — late May. Look out for feral birds. Maximum, 3500 passing over in a day in 1935.

Brant. Formerly, before 1930, rare transient, especially in spring, chiefly after storms and fog. 120 on March 27, 1949. Now increasing and more regular in spring on the river. April 25, 1926 (Perry).

Pink-footed Goose. Only United States record, 1 shot on September 25, 1924, off mouth of Parker River.

Lesser Snow Goose. Once, December 2-11, 1951, same size as Blue Goose with it.

Greater Snow Goose. In very recent years becoming a regular transient, occasionally in small flocks, once in April, 1954, in large flocks; 24, October 21-27, 1938, several collected, April 3, 1949; May 11, 1952. December 12, 1939 (Safford); over 300 April, 1954 (Nightingale).

Blue Goose. Rare transient. Late October-December 11, 1951; early November, 1953 - March 20, 1954.

Mallard. Now a feral resident. Formerly rare on migration with Black Ducks.

Black Duck. Always a resident. Breeding regularly but not commonly. Abundant on migration, wintering less commonly, sometimes with severe losses. Maximum count, 15,000, November 20, 1949, peak of flood tide.

Gadwall. Records on First Impoundment, November 12, 1953, December 18, 1953 and again in the fall of 1954.

European Wigeon. A drake November 8, 1953.

Baldpate. Now a regular transient on First Impoundment, formerly unknown. Released birds make winter and summer recored suspicious.

Pintail. Formerly very rare, first record a pair on the pond at South End on September 23, 1911 (Maynard’s class). Then twice in winter, January 6, 1951 and February 8, 1953. Now regular transient on First Impoundment, occasionally in flocks up to 20.

European Teal. One drake December 3, 1953 (Ludlow Griscom, Frances Elkins, Nancy Claflin and James Moran).

Green-winged Teal. Formerly very rare, only once recorded by Maynard’s class, one shot October 12, 1918. I was it once on May 7, 1930. Now common transient on First Impoundment in large flocks, and apparently breeding in 1953.

Blue-winged Teal. Formerly casual, nest and eggs found on Stage Island in 1938 (Sands), now common on First Impoundment to November 14 [1931], 46 on September 2, 1948.

Shoveller. One shot September 4, 1908 (Charles R. Lamb). Rare transient on First Impoundment, November 18, 1951 (Snyder), chiefly spring. 14 present mid-November, 1954.

Wood Duck. Uncommon transient on the First Impoundment. A pair reported through June, 1953. Reported November 12, 1952, and May 4, 1953; April 1, 1954 (Snyder and Fox).

Redhead. November 10, 1934 (Safford); summer of 1952. November 15, 1913, 1 shot (Maynard).

Ring-necked Duck. Casual on First Impoundment, May 24, 1952, one drake (Eaton and Griscom).

Canvas-back. November 3, 1917, one male found dead on beach at South End. Casual in Plum Island River, December 6, 1934 (Safford), November 16, 1947, and December 12, 1950 (Griscom), off Nelson’s Island or Green Island Point.

Greater Scaup. Common transient and winter resident. Noted September 15, 1934.

Lesser Scaup. Casual on First Impoundment in late spring and early summer, as well as in fall.

American Golden-eye. Common winter resident, late October — May 24 [1953].

Buffle-head. Uncommon winter resident to April 18 [1953] and June 5 [1949] off Emerson Reefs (Cottrell and Griscom).

Old-squaw. Uncommon winter resident late October — June 1 [1934], (Goodridge).

Harlequin Duck. Rare winter visitant. All records off Emerson Reefs. October 15, 1910 (Maynard’s class), November 1, 1936, and February 14, 1954 (Ruth P. Emery, Beatties, Eleanor E. Barry and Griscom).

Labrador Duck. Two drakes shot in Plum Island Sound on November 18, 1844 by Col. Nicholas Pike, one now in Long Island Historical Society Collection. Maynard insisted all his life that he saw one at the mouth of the Plum Island River in the winter of 1872. He was rowing a boat in a racing tide and did not dare drop his oars and use his gun, greatly to his grief.

American Eider. Uncommon and irregular visitant or transient offshore. Over 300 on March 10, 1951.

White-winged Scoter. Common transient and winter resident, rarely in numbers over 1000. Many reports of summer birds.

Surf Scoter. Uncommon transient, rarely in any numbers. Winters.

American Scoter. Uncommon transient. Winters.

Ruddy Duck. Unrecorded until the First Impoundment was built. July 28, 1952; November, 1952; November 27, 1953, to December 13, 1953.

Hooded Merganser. Formerly casual in salt water. April 20, 1914 (Maynard), March 26 — April 1, 1939 (Safford). Now regular on the Impoundment, August 15 [1951] — early winter.

American Merganser. Casual on salt water; 4 on October 27, 1951 (Synder, Smart, and Gooding).

Red-breasted Merganser. Very common transient and winter resident, sometimes in flocks of many hundreds, and a few often linger all summer.

Turkey Vulture. Once on April 19, 1953 (de Windt).

Goshawk. Rare fall visitor; September 2, 1939 (R. Walcott and F. H. Allen), September 7, 1942 (Perry), December 27, 1953.

Sharp-shinned Hawk. Common transient. Over 25 in 2 hours on April 4, 1953 (F. Elkins).

Cooper’s Hawk. Uncommon transient, August 25 [1944] to winter [1951, 1952]. Also in spring, early April to early May.

Red-tailed Hawk. Casual. February 22, 1935; May 25, 1947.

Red-shouldered Hawk. Casual on migration. April 6, 1947 (Griscom).

Broad-winged Hawk. One, May 2, 1954 (Snyder).

Swainson’s Hawk. Casual. An immature in the melanistic phase, sitting on a pole, was found by James Baird and Griscom on September 18, 1947, and studied at leisure. It flew to another pole. On their return from a visit to Hell Cat Swamp it was seen again. Adult in normal phase, May 28, 1954 (F. Elkins and Robert T. Paine, 3d).

Rough-legged Hawk. Uncommon winter visitant, October 23, 1909 (Maynard).

Bald Eagle. Irregular visitor, chiefly in winter, but occasionally in spring and fall. May 30, 1912, 2 seen (Maynard).

Marsh Hawk. Common transient, breeding regularly. In recent years wintering regularly and surviving in mild seasons.

Osprey. Regular transient. August 4, 1949; June 17, 1918 (Maynard).

Black Gyrfalcon. Rare winter visitant. December 4, 1949; over Cross Farm Hill, December 3, 1953 (F. Elkins, N. Claflin, Moran, and Griscom).

White Gyrfalcon. March 29, 1940 (Safford).

Duck Hawk. Regular spring and fall transient, rarely reported in midwinter. Rarely more than 4-5 in one day, though 9 in one day reported by Nightingale. September 5, 1927 (Perry).

Pigeon Hawk. Regular spring and fall transient, 47 on April 30, 1944. November 13, 1909 (Peters and Barron Brainerd).

Sparrow Hawk. Common transient, formerly nesting in old buildings and camps to 1919 (Maynard).

Ruffed Grouse. Casual wanderer in late summer and fall. November 5, 1937 (Safford); October 5, 1941 (Griscom); November 26, 1939 (Safford); July 29, 1952 (Emery and Griscom); August 21, 1954, 6 half-grown young and 1 adult (Emery, Strickland, Beattie).

Pheasant. A resident, first noted in 1910. Now quite common after a series of mild and snowless winters. Up to 25 in a day.

King Rail. Two birds reported as wintering in February, 1952 (Nightingale).

Clapper Rail. Formerly casual in fall. One picked up dead, September 15, 1908 (William P. Wharton); 1 shot by T. C. Wilson October 20, 1910 (Auk, 1911, p. 119); 1 found dead by S. A. Eliot, Jr., May 25, 1947; and one heard calling, July 26, 1953 (Stevens Heckscher). Possibly breeding.

Virginia Rail. Casual on migration, November 1, 1952. Now breeds at First Impoundment (1954).

Sora. Rarely reported on migration. April 20, 1953.

Little Black Rail. Possibly nests, as it was flushed by William Dodge’s dog and seen by Nightingale, September 14, 1953.

American Coot. Now regular on First Impoundment, April 18 [1953] — late December [1953].

Piping Plover. Always surviving as a summer resident at the South End; found there in 1908. At most 4 nesting pairs on the refuge beaches. March 21 [1953] — September 5 [1927] (Perry).

Belted Piping Plover. One collected at South End, April 24, 1930 (Goodridge).

Semipalmated Plover. Always a common transient, 1908 on, greatly increased in recent years.

Killdeer. Casual in earlier times. First records, October 2, 1929 (James L. Peters), then increasing and now nesting regularly since 1940.

Golden Plover. Now a regular fall transient, formerly very rare. One immature male shot, April 8, 1911 (Peters, Brainerd, and Marble, Auk, 1911, p. 368), first spring record in 50 years. Flock of 40, October 12, 1927 (Barry).

Black-bellied Plover. Once more common transient, earlier quite rare, first reported in numbers in 1919.

Ruddy Turnstone. Uncommon transient, chiefly on the Emerson Rocks. November 8, 1939 (Safford). First reported abundant, August 11, 1929 (Perry).

Woodcock. Casual on migration. Found dead, April 19, 1917 (John B. May); February 20, 1929 (Wilkinson); April 2, 1939 (Safford); April 3, 1954 (Barry). Nests in upland near refuge.

Wilson’s Snipe. Casual on migration. April 3, 1954 (Barry); April 12, 1939 (Safford); December 10, 1939 (Safford).

Long-billed Curlew. Formerly a common fall transient, up to 1840 (John R. Lloyd, an old Rowley market gunner to Forbush). One shot on Plum Island, September 2, 1895, by George B. Short, of the Coast Guard Station; mounted in Newburyport, and now in collection of G. H. Wheeler. One reported seen by Dr. Herbert E. Maynard, September 5, 1951.

Hudsonian Curlew. Rare transient in spring, regular in fall, increasing in recent years. First record, October 2, 1909 (Maynard and Peters), June 26 [1934] (Safford) — October 2 [1949]; May 17, 1924 (Maynard). 200 on August 3, 1940 (Safford).

Upland Plover. Uncommon fall transient in recent years, alighting rarely. Three on May 9, 1940 (Safford); 3 on July 18 - September 13, 1940 (Safford); August 4, 1943. Nests in Newburyport and West Newbury region.

Spotted Sandpiper. Uncommon summer resident and transient.

Solitary Sandpiper. Casual transient. May 21, 1942 (Griscom) August 17, 1939 (Perry); September 23, 1909 (Maynard); 2 on First Impoundment, August, 1953 (Snyder).

Eastern Willet. Once, June 13, 14, 1953 (de Windt).

Western Willet. Irregular fall transient increasing in recent years. First record, October 2, 1909 (Maynard and Peters); later by J. W. Wilkinson, Clarke, and Perry, September 7-8, 1929. November 23, 1939 (Safford); August 2(5) - 3(26), 1940 (Safford).

Greater Yellowlegs. Common transient, increasing since 1912. July 3, 1940 (Safford).

Lesser Yellowlegs. Uncommon transient, rarely alighting for lack of suitable habitat since decoying them ceased. First record, September 23, 1909 (Maynard); July 3, 1940 (Safford).

Knot. Uncommon transient. Four on May 24, 1952; September 8, 1940 (Safford).

Pectoral Sandpiper. Regular fall transient, much commoner when the marshes were mowed, now increasing. 150 on September 6, 1950; 2 on May 18, 1912 (Maynard and Peters). July 19 [1952] (Perry) — late October.

White-rumped Sandpiper. Uncommon transient, fall and spring. November 23, 1939 (Safford). Several at pool, warden’s cottage, October 17, 1954 (various observers).

Baird’s Sandpiper. Rare fall transient, at least 5 records.

Least Sandpiper. Common transient, July 3, 1940 (Safford).

Red-backed Sandpiper. Regular transient rapidly increasing, rarely in winter, 125 on February 3, 1931 (Snyder).

Eastern Dowitcher. Uncommon transient.

Long-billed Dowitcher. Uncommon transient. No specimens collected.

Stilt Sandpiper. Formerly rare or casual, now regular on First Impoundment. 22 adults, 2 immature, July 29, 1952. First recorded September 23, 1909.

Semipalmated Sandpiper. Common transient since 1919. November 8, 1939 (Safford).

Western Sandpiper. Uncommon, July 29, 1952; one found dead, June, 1953 (Snyder).

Buff-breasted Sandpiper. Once, September 4, 1953 (W. Harrington) on Knobb’s Beach.

Marbled Godwit. 3 on September 6, 1935 (Safford). One shot, August 27, 1924 (T. Barbour), September 3, 1940 (Safford).

Hudsonian Godwit. Flock of 70 August 26, 1908, many shot. One on November 13, 1909 (Peters), a real event at that time; October 12, 1927 (Barry); 7 at Impoundment, July 6, 1952 (de Windt).

Sanderling. Common transient, chiefly on outer beaches. May 14, 1933 (Perry).

Red Phalarope. November 18, 1939 (Safford). Four on November 3, 1941.

Wilson’s Phalarope. Once, on First Impoundment, June 7-21, 1953 (Argues, Stricklands, Lewises, Barry).

Northern Phalarope. Rarely reported offshore in spring and fall. Abundant in late May, 1940; over 600 on September 7, 1949, offshore.

Black-necked Stilt. 2 birds, June 5-26, 1953 (numerous observers). Photographed by Miss Snyder and others.

Pomarine Jaeger. Uncommon transient offshore, many records; October 7, 1909 (Marble, Peters); June 25, 1950 (Snyder); September 2, 1918 (Maynard); October 12, 1917 (Maynard); June 5, 1949 (Cotrell and Griscom).

Parasitic Jaeger. Uncommon fall transient offshore; numerous records, over 6 on September 14, 1918 (Maynard). Very rare in spring; May 19, 1930 (Wilkinson), May 28, 1930 (Goodridge).

Long-tailed Jaeger. Once, September 13, 1953 (Halbergs), a perfect adult.

Glaucous Gull. July, 1935, at Emerson Reef (Wilkinson); April 19, 1927 (Barry).

Iceland Gull. Only once, January 30, 1949 (Snyder).

Kumlien’s Gull. Rarely reported. October 27, 1909 (Peters); December 12, 1908 (Maynard); February 22, 1909 (Maynard).

Great Black-backed Gull. Formerly uncommon winter visitant, arriving October 2, 1909 (Maynard). Now common resident.

Herring Gull. Common resident, 3000 on June 17, 1909 (Maynard).

Ring-billed Gull. Uncommon at south end of river (Maynard’s class).

Laughing Gull. Uncommon transient, first recorded, September 6, 1920 (Goodridge).

Bonaparte’s Gull. Regular fall transient at South End (Maynard’s class).

Kittiwake. Uncommon transient offshore, over 300 on December 1, 1951 (de Windt).

Ivory Gull. Once, January 30, 1949 (Snyder, Tousey, and others).

Forster’s Tern. Once, October 13, 1945 (Snyder, Ball, Armstrong).

Common Tern. Once more a common transient to November 2 [1912] (Maynard, 7 seen). Abundant for first time since 1908 in September, 1917. May 12, 1938 (Safford).

Arctic Tern. Once, on Emerson Rocks, May 24, 1952; September 1, 1930 (Perry).

Roseate Tern. Now a common transient, first recorded on September 30, 1909 (Brainerd); next, September 6, 1920 (Goodridge). Over 50 in September, 1918 (Maynard); September 7, 1949.

Least Tern. Formerly unknown, first reported on September 6, 1920, as an overflow from Ipswich colony. 40 plus pairs at southern tip, summers of 1951 (Loring) to 1954.

Caspian Tern. October 2, 1949 (Maynard); August 4, 1949; 2, April, 1953 (Snyder, Armstrong).

Sooty Tern. One dead bird freed from telephone wires, September 1, 1954 (David Freeland), specimen in Peabody Museum, Salem.

Black Tern. Regular fall transient, July 19 [1930] (Wilkinson) to September 18 [1910] (Maynard).

Black Skimmer. Casual after gales in September, 1924; 2 collected by James Hodgkins, September 17 (in Boston Museum of Science), and over 75 seen by Wilkinson to October 9.

Great Auk. Bones found in Indian shell heaps in 1869 (F. W. Putnam).

Razor-billed Auk. Uncommon winter visitant offshore; numerous records; a flock of 8 on December 11, 1951.

Atlantic Murre. One, found dead, February 29, 1948 (R. C. Curtis); 1 found dead, April 20, 1942 (Frances Burnett).

Bruennich's Murre. Uncommon fall, winter, and spring offshore; numerous records; over 100, October 27, 1909 (Peters); large flight on November 27, 1909 (Maynard); March 24, 1939 (Safford); one found dead, December 6, 1951 (Burnett); one caught alive and banded, May 15, 1932.

Dovekie. Rare transient offshore. Picked up alive on land, December 1, 6, 1951 (de Windt).

Puffin. One shot at mouth of river, February 15, 1884 (now in Peabody Museum, Salem); November 5, 1908 (Maynard and Mackie); November 12, 1910 (Maynard); November 4, 1916 (Maynard, Jenney, Clarke, and Mrs. L. E. Bridge).

Mourning Dove. Formerly very rare straggler, then becoming common in fall in flocks; breeding first suspected in 1940, now confirmed

Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Rare and irregular summer resident; very few records from May 25 [1947] through June and July to September 20 [1908] (Maynard). Recorded during spectacular invasion of September-October, 1954.

Black-billed Cuckoo. Regular summer resident, sometimes common. June 2, 1954 (Griscom#); October 10, 1954 (Tyler#). None in May, September, October, 1954.

Barn Owl. Flushed out of Hell Cat Swamp, September 18, 1947 (Griscom).

Screech Owl. Heard calling several times, August 21, 1954, at 6:00 p.m. (Emery, Barry, Beatties).

Great Horned Owl. Uncommon resident living on herons and pheasant; rarely seen or heard.

Snowy Owl. Irregular winter visitant, occasionally common. November 4 [1911] (Peters) — late May.

Long-eared Owl. Pair bred and raised young in 1949 (Snyder and many others). Also seen, May 22, 1954 (Halbergs).

Short-eared Owl. Regular transient, formerly much commoner than now, up to 3 in a day, rarely wintering; 2 on July 8, 1936, and July 30, 1935 (Safford).

Saw-whet Owl. One found dead, April 25, 1954 (Ronald Allen and Gardner Burgess). Specimen in Peabody Museum, Salem.

Whip-poor-will. Rare transient. May 12, 1946; September 21, 1952; April 24, 1954 (Barry).

Nighthawk. Rare late spring transient, still rarer in fall. 32 on June 2, 1950; September 24, 1950 (Halbergs); September 26, 1953 (Whitings).

Chimney Swift. Regular transient, formerly nesting in farm buildings. Over 40 on June 2, 1950. May 18, 1912 (Peters).

Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Regular late spring transient, up to 10 in a day. Rare in fall to September 7 [1949].

Belted Kingfisher. Uncommon transient, one or two pairs breed. June 2, 1950.

Flicker. Resident, abundant on migration, often over 50 in a day.

Pileated Woodpecker. October 17, 1938 (Safford).

Red-headed Woodpecker. Rare casual. October 17, 18, 1938 (Safford); October 3, 4, 1953 (Emery, Beatties).

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Rare transient. April 21, 1951, 4 on April 26, 1953, May 1, 1940 (Safford); September 27, 1953 (Barry).

Hairy Woodpecker. Rare transient. October 11 [1953] — March 22, [1953] (Barry, Stricklands, Zerbes), January 30, 1938.

Downy Woodpecker. Uncommon transient, few records. October 5 [1951] — April 18 [1953]; April 19, 1954.

Eastern Kingbird. Common summer resident, abundant transient, over 50 in a day in fall. May 8 [1909] (Peters) to early September.

Arkansas Kingbird. Rare fall transient, first in 1934. August 26 [1942] (C. R. Mason) — November 19 [1934] (2, Safford).

Crested Flycatcher. Twice, September 8, 1952 (Wallace Bailey); September 29, 1952 (F. Elkins and N. Claflin).

Eastern Phoebe. Uncommon transient, regularly nesting in earlier years. 18 on April 5, 1953. March 24, 1939 (Safford).

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. Regular late May transient. May 20 [1945] (13) — June 6, September 14 [1953] (Synder).

Alder Flycatcher. Rare transient in late May — June 5 [1949], singing birds.

Vermilion Flycatcher. One seen near 2nd Impoundment. October 22, 1954 (Juliet R. Kellogg, Mrs. Richard Chute, and three others).

Least Flycatcher. Formerly bred in farm apple orchards to 1920. Now a common and regular transient to September 16 [1948], and October 13 [1951] (deWindt). May 14, 1910 (Maynard).

Wood Pewee. Common transient, May 20 [1945] — early June; August 3 [1933] — October 2 [1949].

Olive-sided Flycatcher. Regular transient, maximum three in one day, May 20 [1945] — June; rarely in fall, September 19, 1951 (Bailey).

Northern Horned Lark. Common winter resident. September 21 [1952] — April.

Prairie Horned Lark. Since 1930, a regular summer resident.

Tree Swallow. Summer resident, abundant transient, February 22, 1953 (Beatties), March 31, 1939 (Safford), over 100,00 on August 25, 1947 (Emery, Curtis, Griscom).

Bank Swallow. Formerly nested on dunes, bluffs, 40 pairs in 1923. Now uncommon transient, September 18, 1947 (Barre), but also nests commonly on Grape Island.

Rough-winged Swallow. 2 at lower end of island, May 24, 1942 (Mason).

Barn Swallow. Formerly bred commonly, now rarely; very common transient. A pure albino on August 9, 1932.

Cliff Swallow. A nesting colony of 10 pairs on Cross Farm barn up to 1923 (Barry); uncommon transient, April 19 [1918] (Maynard) — June 2 [1950].

Purple Martin. Rare transient, June 2, 1950; 5 on September 10, 1951 (de Windt); May 12, 1939 (Safford); April 19, 1917 (Maynard); September 7, 1924 (Perry); April 29, 1951 (Halbergs).

Blue Jay. Rare transient; three times in late May. May 24 [1933] — May 25, [1947].

Crow. Resident, more numerous on migration in early spring and late fall. 66 on March 17, 1951.

Black-capped Chickadee. Rare resident, more numerous on migration.

Brown-capped Chickadee. One, November 2, 1941, on Nelson's Island (Parker, Bowen, Hill#).

White-breasted Nuthatch. Very rare transient, October 11, 1953 (Barry); April 20, 1914 (Maynard); September 1, 1919 (Maynard).

Red-breasted Nuthatch. Regular transient in flight years, has wintered. August 22 [1933] — May 17 [1913] (Maynard).

Brown Creeper. Regular transient. November 3 [1935] — May 14, [1950]; September 18, 1939 (Safford); at least 4 on April 26, 1953.

House Wren. Formerly unknown, appearing in Hell Cat Swamp in May, 1951, and apparently nesting there since.

Winter Wren. Rare transient, April 18 [1953] (Barry) — May 12 [1947].

Carolina Wren. April 21, 1954, Hell Cat Swamp (Mrs. David Searle, de Windt).

Long-billed Marsh Wren. Formerly a rare fall transient, first recorded October 4, 1914 (Maynard), next May 28, 1938, and now breeding commonly in high creek thatch.

Mockingbird. Rare vagrant. August 11 - November 7, 1939 (F. H. Allen, Safford, Robert Walcott); May 25, 1947. September 2, 1950, Hell Cat (Leslie Campbell).

Catbird. Common summer resident to November 8, 1953; over 100 on May 16, 1948.

Brown Thrasher. A summer resident, greatly increasing since 1940, up to 25 in a day. April 27 [1949] — October 22 [1939] (Safford).

Robin. Common summer resident, now greatly decreased. Common transient, stragglers in winter.

Wood Thrush. Very rare transient. September 7, 1949.

Hermit Thrush. Common transient, over 200 on April 26, 1953 (Argues).

Olive-backed Thrush. Common late spring transient, rare in fall. September 7, 1949.

Gray-cheeked Thrush. Rare transient, May 30, 1916 (Maynard); May 12, 1946, May 17, 1952 (Halberg). Once in fall, September 23, 1944 (Argue#).

Veery. Formerly a rare transient, first suspected of breeding in Hell Cat Swamp in 1949, now regular there. May 10 [1953] — early September.

Newfoundland Veery. Found in Hell Cat, September 2, 1948 (Baird), and others believed seen in late May.

Bluebird. Formerly a common summer resident, now rare and local. Regular transient.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Formerly unknown, first recorded August 22, 1932 (Emilio and Griscom); May 10, 1951 (de Windt); October 6, 1951 (Kelly); 4 on August 29, 1953 (Gooding, Smart, Snyder); April 10-19, 1954; October 18, 1954 (Mildred A. Tyler and others).

Golden-crowned Kinglet. Regular transient. November 13, 1909 (Maynard); April 19 [1954] — June 2 [1950] (Baird).

Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Regular transient, April 20, 1914 (6, Maynard); over 20 on April 26, 1953; May 24, 1933; September 21, 1952 (Griscom#); September 25, 1954 (Stricklands).

American Pipit. Formerly rare transient, now regular in fall with improved habitats, often in large flocks. November 25, 1951 (Cottrell), September 12, 1952. Many records in spring to May 23 [1954].

Cedar Waxwing. Regular transient in small numbers, August 3, 1933. Breeding Hell Cat Swamp, 1953.

Northern Shrike. Regular winter visitor in flight years.

Migrant Shrike. Uncommon fall transient, apparently regular in recent years. August 30, 1952; October 12, 1917 (Maynard).

Starling. Abundant in flocks by 1930, unreported 1908-1920.

White-eyed Vireo. One record, May 22, 1954 (Halbergs).

Yellow-throated Vireo. Formerly nested around old farms (1908-1920); now very rare transient, May 28, 1944; August 29 (Barry), 30 (Griscom), 1953.

Blue-headed Vireo. Uncommon transient, August 31, 1951 (de Windt), May 9, 1949.

Red-eyed Vireo. Regular transient, possibly breeding in earlier years as recorded, June 17, 1918 (Maynard), May 24, 1951.

Philadelphia Vireo. Regular transient in late May waves, apparently rare in fall. May 23 [1933] (Emilio and Griscom) — May 30 [1951]; September 5 [1931] — September 18 [1947]; September 6, 1952 (Harrington#).

Warbling Vireo. Nested around old farms, 1908-1920, unreported since.

Black and White Warbler. Regular late spring and early fall transient.

Prothonotary Warbler. Once on May 27, 1953 (de Windt).

Worm-eating Warbler. Three times. May 6, 1953 (Smart), May 30, 1953 (Brookline Bird Club), May 20, 1952.

Golden-winged Warbler. Rare transient, May 27, 1941 (Mason#); August 30, 1953 (Emery).

Blue-winged Warbler. Rare transient, August 29, 1951 (Halbergs), August 30, 1953 (Emery), September 20, 1947 (Touseys), September 29, 1952 (Halbergs).

Tennessee Warbler. Rare transient. May 28, 1918 (Maynard); August 31 [1951] (de Windt) — September 18 [1947]; September 6, 1952 (Bailey). A notable flight in May, 1954, to May 31.

Orange-crowned Warbler. May 12, 1946; May 20, 1945; September 7, 1952 (Bailey).

Nashville Warbler. Regular transient. September 16, 1948; May 1, 1954 (Beattie, and many others).

Parula Warbler. Regular transient, October 12, 1912 (Maynard), October 11, 1952. 16 in Hell Cat Swamp, May 27, 1941 (Safford#).

Yellow Warbler. Common summer resident, May 4 [1952] — September 15 [1917] (Maynard). 60, Hell Cat Swamp and adjoining thickets, May 27, 1941 (Safford#).

Newfoundland Yellow Warbler. Regular late spring transient, specimen May 25, 1947.

Magnolia Warbler. Regular transient. May 7, [1949] — October 11 [1952]; 25, Hell Cat Swamp, May 27, 1941 (Mason#); over 27, June 2, 1950 (Griscom).

Cape May Warbler. Rare transient. First on October 12, 1915 (Maynard and Mrs. Bridge); 6 on September 7, 1949; August 25, 1948; May 11 (Barry) — May 31, 1952 (Barry, Lewises).

Black-throated Blue Warbler. Regular or uncommon transient. October 11, 1952; May 1, 1954 (Bailey). 6, Hell Cat Swamp, May 27, 1941 (Safford#).

Myrtle Warbler. Abundant transient, often common winter resident; September 14, 1940 (Safford).

Black-throated Green Warbler. Regular transient. November 2, 1952 (Barry).

Blackburnian Warbler. Rare spring and fall transient. September 3, 1951 (Barry). 3, Hell Cat Swamp, May 27, 1941 (Mason#).

Chestnut-sided Warbler. Uncommon transient. May 10, 1919 (Maynard); August 31, 1951 (de Windt). 6, Hell Cat Swamp, May 27, 1941 (Safford#).

Bay-breasted Warbler. Rare transient in late May and uncommon to rare in fall. August 31, 1951 (de Windt). Notably abundant in late May, 1954.

Black-poll Warbler. Regular transient in late May and late fall; 30 on May 27, 1941 (Safford#); October 12, 1912 (Maynard), December 17, 1939 (Stackpole).

Pine Warbler. Once, May 30, 1913 (Maynard).

Prairie Warbler. Uncommon transient. October 2, 1949; August 29, 1951 (Halberg).

Western Palm Warbler. Regular fall transient. August 29 [1951] — November 22 [1952].

Yellow Palm Warbler. Regular transient. April 12, 1953; 10, April 20, 1913; September 14 [1918] (Maynard) — November 2 [1918] (Jenney).

Oven-bird. Uncommon transient. June 17, 1918 (Maynard).

Northern Water-Thrush. Regular transient, May 1, 1954 (Strickland).

Grinnell’s Water-Thrush. Birds with pure-white eye-stripe and paler under parts, frequently seen in late May and early fall. August 2, 1951.

Kentucky Warbler. Once, May 30, 1952 (Jameson and Brookline Bird Club).

Connecticut Warbler. Rare fall transient. September 3, 1951 (Smart and Snyder), September 18, 1947, October 15, 1950 (Argues, Barry).

Mourning Warbler. Regular transient in late May waves, very rare in fall. May 20 [1945] — June 2 [1950]; September 5, 1940.

Northern Yellow-throat. Regular summer resident, often abundant on migration.

Yellow-breasted Chat. Twice in late May, 1947, 1953; one, August 27, 1942 (Mason); one, October 6, 1951 (Barry).

Hooded Warbler. Rare vagrant. One, May 19, 1952 (de Windt).

Wilson’s Warbler. Uncommon transient, latter half of May; 15 on May 31, 1953.

Canada Warbler. Uncommon transient. May 30, 1913, May 15, 1951, October 5, 1952. 5, Hell Cat Swamp, May 27, 1941 (Mason#).

Redstart. Abundant transient, possibly a pair or two remaining to nest. 72 on June 2, 1950 (Baird); October 13, 1920 (Maynard); November 5, 6, 1940 (Safford).

English Sparrow. Rare visitor to buildings and farms, 7 on October 1, 1938 (Safford).

Bobolink. Formerly bred in old farm hayfields (1908-1920), now uncommon transient, regular in fall. May 17 [1913] (Maynard) — September 14 [1940] (Safford).

Meadowlark. Uncommon resident, formerly abundant in summer and on migration and virtually unknown in winter.

Red-winged Blackbird. Common summer resident.

Orchard Oriole. Rare transient. May 23, 1948, May 19, 1950, May 19, 1953 (de Windt).

Baltimore Oriole. Formerly bred around old farms, now a regular transient. May 10 [1919] (Maynard) — August 25 [1949].

Rusty Blackbird. Rare transient. April 12, 1953; October 12, 1912 (Maynard), November 3, 1935.

Bronzed Grackle. Common summer resident.

Cowbird. Uncommon transient, possibly breeding.

Scarlet Tanager. Regular transient. August 27, 1949 (Barry, Halbergs).

Summer Tanager. Three records: adult male, May 19, 1953 (de Windt); September 17, 1949 (Baird); November 6-13, 1954 (Stricklands and various observers).

Cardinal. Once, a male in July, 1952 (Maurice Broun).

Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Rare transient. May 28, 1918 (Maynard), May 12, 1936.

Blue Grosbeak. One record only, September 18, 1947.

Indigo Bunting. Twice, June 17, 1918 (Maynard); June 2, 1954 (Snyder).

Dickcissel. Rare fall transient in recent years. August 30 - September 25, 1952; January 7, 1940 (Hill).

Purple Finch. Uncommon transient, noted July 29, 1951 (Argues) and July 15, 1953. In large flocks in April 1939, an invasion year (Safford).

Redpoll. In flight years common in flocks, as in February, 1947, and December, 1952.

Pine Siskin. Occasionally common in flocks in flight years, as in winter of 1952-1953.

Goldfinch. Uncommon transient, September 16 [1948] — May 18 [1913] (Maynard).

Red Crossbill. February 14-28, 1953 (Barry and Lewises); December 4, 1954 (Emery and others).

White-winged Crossbill. Two on October 28-November 1, 1935 (J. A. Hagar and Safford); 12, November 13, 1954 (B. Leadbeater).

Towhee. Common summer resident. April 28 [1953] — January 1 [1954] (F. Elkins).

Lark Bunting. Once on Nelson’s Island, October 27, 1946 (Norman P. Hill).

Ipswich Sparrow. Common transient and winter resident, greatly decreased since 1920. October 6 [1912] (Maynard) — April 20 [1914] (Maynard).

Savannah Sparrow. Common transient and summer resident, rarely lingering into early winter. March 17 [1946] — January.

Labrador Savannah Sparrow. Regular transient, collected four times in spring (Griscom and Baird); once on October 30, 1952 (Baird).

Grasshopper Sparrow. Casual. May 19, 1953, and August 19-25, 1935 (Safford).

Sharp-tailed Sparrow. Common transient, very local summer resident, Stage Creek, Pine Island Creek, Nelson’s Island Creek, and main river north of Hale’s Cove. May 17 [1953] — late October.

Acadian Sparrow. Common transient, series collected by Peters; 5 on November 12, 1910 (Maynard); May 25 [1947] — June 7 [1953] (F. Elkins).

Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow. Collected by Peters, October 24, 1909, September 17, 1910; October 2, 1909; October 13, 1912.

Seaside Sparrow. First recorded on May 22, 1949, now at least 3 nesting colonies. December 21, 1952 (2 on Christmas Bird Count).

Vesper Sparrow. Formerly common summer resident, rapidly decreasing. Fifteen on April 20, 1913 (Maynard), over 100 on April 26, 1953 (Argues). March 30 [1952] — late October.

Lark Sparrow. Rare transient. August 5, 1940 (Allen); September 18, 1947; 3 on September 19, 20, 1953 (Argues and Barry); September 28, 1927 (Safford).

Slate-colored Junco. Abundant transient. Over 1000 on October 2, 1949, and April 26, 1953; casual, July 2 and 3, 1935 (Safford).

Tree Sparrow. Uncommon winter resident. November 9 [1952] — April 19 [1954].

Chipping Sparrow. Formerly a resident around the old farms, now a regular transient. April 7 [1949]; October 13 [1912] (Maynard).

Field Sparrow. Regular but uncommon transient, no definite breeding evidence. April 19 [1953] — May 21 [1950]; October 5 [1951] — November 11, [1952].

White-crowned Sparrow. Regular transient, often surprisingly numerous in mid-May and October. April 18, 1953 (Emery); 8 on May 17, 1913 (Maynard), 10 on May 19, 1917 (Maynard), 11 on May 16, 1948, and 7 on October 2, 1949.

White-throated Sparrow. Regular transient, often abundant, rarely wintering. May 18, 1913 (Maynard), April 19, 1954; over 2000 on April 26, 1953.

Fox Sparrow. Regular transient, rarely in numbers. April 1 [1911] (Maynard) — April 20 [1914] (Maynard), October 10 [1946] — November 12 [1953].

Lincoln’s Sparrow. Rare transient. May 19, 1917 (Maynard), May 27, 1941 (2, Hell Cat Swamp) (Mason#), September 20, 1953 (Argues, Barry), September 7, 1949, October 12, 1912 (Maynard).

Swamp Sparrow. Regular transient, often abundant. April 19, 1909 (Maynard); over 25 on April 26, 1953; 25, October 5, 1952 (Snyder).

Song Sparrow. Resident, often abundant on migration; 150+, March 27, 1949.

Lapland Longspur. Uncommon winter visitant, at times in flocks over 40. March 31, 1940 (Safford).

Snow Bunting. Common transient and winter resident, often in large flocks. April 30, 1935.

Supplementary List of Birds seen at the northern end of Plum Island, including the Basin, and the marshes west to the Bridge over the Plum Island River.

Caution. Most unfortunately, the tern “Plum Island” frequently appears in the earlier Bird Bulletin of the New England Museum of Natural History and in the earlier volumes of the Records of New England Birds, and many birds so reported do not appear in these lists. At that time the area “Plum Island” began with the salt-marsh embayment in front of the old barn and between Woodbridge Island, and included the fields and mowed marshes around the airport, but west of the Plum Island River Bridge, here accepted as the official boundaries of Plum Island. Since 1930, visitors to Plum Island have far more frequently gone east to the Pavilion parking space and north to the Coast Guard Station by The Jetties and the mouth of the Merrimac River than south to the Parker River Refuge section.

Common Loon. Maximum, 80 in one day, January 25, 1953.

Pacific Loon. Regular winter visitor, numerous records, here confined to adults. November 3, 1941 — May 5, 1952.

Red-throated Loon. In late fall it is routine to see several hundred in a day. Casual in midsummer, August 3, 1933, August 30, 1953.

Red-necked Grebe. Maximum, 94 in one day.

Horned Grebe. Maximum, 454 on February 10, 1952 (Emery#).

Pied-billed Grebe. Casual in Merrimac River, September 1, 1929.

Sooty Shearwater. Once, May 23, 1939 (Emilio and Griscom).

Greater Shearwater. Rare after storms. September 6, 20, 1952.

Wilson’s Petrel. Once, July 15, 1937.

Gannet. In autumn up to several hundred in a day. Now more regular in spring than formerly, when quite rare. Once on July 1, 1953.

European Cormorant. In recent years, regular in winter to The Jetties, as early as September 8 [1949].

Greater Snow Goose. April 22, 1945; April 30, 1950. Large flocks (1000), March 31 and early April 1954.

Lesser Snow Goose. An exhausted bird on The Jetties, March 30, 1952 (Bailey).

Blue Goose. April 22, 1945; April 23-30, 1959 (Curtis, Kellogg, and Griscom).

European Teal. April 22, 1945 (Curtis and Griscom).

Redhead. One drake with migrating Scaup, October 9, 1932 (Emilio and Griscom).

American Golden-eye. Noted as late as May 25 [1932].

Harlequin Duck. Rare winter visitant, numerous records of drakes in fall plumage off The Jetties, remaining some time.

Northern Eider. Specimen collected, November 16, 1933.

American Eider. Rare transient and winter visitant offshore. Noted as early as October 6 [1940].

King Eider. Rare transient and winter visitant offshore, rarely in flocks off The Jetties. One record, small female collected January 25, 1933, by Hagar, around since early December. Again in flocks, December 23, 1936. A perfect drake, April 24-May 7, 1938; two pairs, April 7-10, 1940, photographed in color by Richard Tousey and shown to Nuttall Ornithological Club.

Ruddy Duck. Casual in salt water. March 23, 1941, and November 16, 1947.

American Merganser. Casual. November 2, 1937, in salt water.

Turkey Vulture. One flying north over Coast Guard Station, April 10, 1948 (Edward Davis, N. C. Nash, IV, Henry M. Parker).

Red-tailed Hawk. Once, September 21, 1944.

Red-shouldered Hawk. Once, migrating over ocean (F. Elkins).

Golden Eagle. One, March 10, 1951 (Baird and Griscom), trying to rob a Bald Eagle of a duck and succeeding!

Bald Eagle. Noted, October 4, 1936.

Gray Gyrfalcon. Coming in over ocean past The Jetties, April 28, 1933 (F. Elkins, Griscom, and several others).

Coot. January 29, 1943 (Stuart K. Harris).

Piping Plover. One pair nested regularly at extreme northern end, 1929-1940.

Wilson’s Plover. Two birds after a hurricane on September 21, 1944.

Ruddy Turnstone. One on jetty, January 2 and 17, 1953, and again in fall of 1954.

Upland Plover. Casual, August 20, 1931, September 9, 1932.

Eastern Willet. One in full breeding plumage in the Basin, June 2, 1937.

Western Willet. Regular fall transient in the Basin.

Knot. Uncommon transient in the Basin, spring and fall.

Purple Sandpiper. Common transient and winter resident on The Jetties in recent years only, formerly unknown. Early November - June 7, [1950] (Emery). Occasional in flocks of several hundred, chiefly late April.

Baird’s Sandpiper. In the Basin, September 12, 1953.

Eastern Dowitcher. Common transient in the Basin.

Long-billed Dowitcher. Regular fall transient in the Basin, mostly of the interior, or hendersoni, type. One subspecies reported, April 2, 1953.

Semipalmated Sandpiper. One reported, January 25, 1953, for an unusual winter record (Massachusetts Audubon Society field trip).

Western Sandpiper. Regular fall transient in the Basin.

Marbled Godwit. September 1-15, 1929, collected (Allen, Griscom).

Hudsonian Godwit. Occasional fall visitor to the Basin, November 3, 1935. One lingered to October 24, 1954 (various observers).

Red Phalarope. Flock of 11, April 26, 1943.

Northern Phalarope. Many birds, May 17-23, 1953; over six hundred off Polio Camp on September 7, 1949.

Pomarine Jaeger. Rarely reported in fall, records including August 14, 1953 (deWindt), September 10, 11, 1951 (deWindt), September 21, 1952 (Bailey#).

Parasitic Jaeger. Frequently reported in fall; once on May 26, 1940.

Glaucous Gull. Uncommon winter visitant to May 27 [1931].

Iceland Gull. Common winter visitant in recent years, up to 12 in a day. Regularly lingering to late April or early May.

Kumlien’s Gull. Uncommon winter visitant in recent years, up to 7 adults in a day. Recently collected.

Herring Gull. 1000, May 27, 1945; 10,000, July 23, 1947 (Curtis and Griscom).

European Black-headed Gull. Occasionally reported in the river or offshore with Bonaparte’s. December 22 [1950] (Curtis and Griscom) — February 8 [1953].

Laughing Gull. Rare transient, flock of 30 in the Basin, November 22, 1931.

Little Gull. July 28, 1935 (Tudor Richards and Griscom); September 3-4, 1941, collected, specimen now in Peabody Museum, Salem (Emilio and Griscom).

Sabine’s Gull. One immature, August 19, 1952 (Griscom, Snyder, and many others).

Ivory Gull. One immature, January 31-February 13, 1949 (nearly 50 observers).

Forster’s Tern. Rare fall transient, numerous records since 1932. September 3 [1941] - November 5 [1932], and December 21, 1952 (Stricklands and census party). Over 15 on September 21, 1944, after the hurricane.

Common Tern. Noted November 11 [1930] and May 7 [1938].

Arctic Tern. Rarely noted in late spring on The Jetties. Noted regularly in spring.

Roseate Tern. Latest, September 13 [1952].

Least Tern. First record May 11, 1953, at its northernmost limits.

Caspian Tern. At least 4 spring records in recent years to May 16 [1948]; occasional in fall.

Sooty Tern. An immature, July 28, 1946 (Cottrell, F. Elkins, Griscom, Martin Karplus, and Moran, who waded out to a bar west of the Basin on which the bird was roosting and flushed it).

Black Tern. In recent years, regular in small numbers in spring in late May and early June; 3 on May 14, 1950.

Black Skimmer. At least 150 after the gales of September, 1924 (C. H. Richardson); over 400 after the hurricane, September 17, 1944; 25 to 30 in September, 1954, following “Hurricane Carol.”

Razor-billed Auk. Flock of 7 on December 11, 1951 (F. Elkins and Griscom); May 4, 1952.

Atlantic Murre. Adult in full breeding plumage, March 13, 1949 (Cottrell, Griscom).

Black Guillemot. Twice, January 12, 1947; January 17, 1954 (F. Elkins, Robert Paine, R.J. Eaton and Griscom).

Puffin. Two records: January 19, 1934; January 8, 1949.

Short-eared Owl. Migrating over ocean, May 7, 1930.

Nighthawk. Flying north over ocean, June 11, 1935.

Crested Flycatcher. May 29, 1954 (Barry#).

Prairie Horned Lark. First nesting record, 1929; to November 11 [1930].

Barn Swallow. Noted, November 10, 1935, a very late date.

Purple Martin. August 24, 1937; April 6, 1952 (K. Tousey).

White-breasted Nuthatch. Rare in this locality. October 5, 1951.

Brown Creeper. March 11 [1945] — May 14 [1950].

Long-billed Marsh Wren. September 15, 1929.

Mockingbird. Several records; spent two months in thickets back of the Basin in fall of 1943.

Newfoundland Robin. Adult male, April 26, 1953.

Gnatcatcher. Noted, May 19, 1953, May 20, 1945.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet. November 8, 1936.

Migrant Shrike. May 18, 1945; August 28, 1932, and August 20, 1933 (Perry).

White-eyed Vireo. May 20, 1945 (Guy Emerson and others); May 11, 1947 (Roderic Sommers).

Connecticut Warbler. Flush from dunes, September 14, 1930 (Emilio and Griscom).

Mourning Warbler. August 31, 1945 (Emery and many others).

Bobolink. August 25, 1944.

Redpoll. November 19, 1935.

Dickcissel. September 6, 1950 (Curtis and Griscom).

Ipswich Sparrow. October 9 [1932] — May 18 [1952].

Grasshopper Sparrow. September 3, 1934 (Emilio, Griscom, and others).

Sharp-tailed Sparrow. November 10, 1935.

Vesper Sparrow. November 11, 1937.

Lark Sparrow. Two, September 28-29, 1936 (Emilio).

Junco. May 12, 1946.

Lincoln’s Sparrow. May 12, 1947.

Chestnut-collared Longspur. Adult male, March 7, 1948 (Elkins and Griscom).

Snow Bunting. An extra-early arrival, September 30, 1945 (Elmer Foye).


Birds of Essex County and Supplement. Charles W. Townsend.

Birds of Massachusetts and Other New England States. I-III. E. H. Forbush.

Bulletin of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, The. Complete to 1955.

Bulletin of New England Bird Life. New England Museum of Natural History. 1936-1944.

Concord and Merrimac Rivers. Henry W. Thoreau. 1899. Description of walk down Plum Island in August 1839, pages 260-262.

History of Newburyport. John J. Currier. I, 1906. II, 1909.

Plum Island, Ipswich, Massachusetts. Thomas Franklin Waters. Publication of the Ipswich Historical Society, XXII, 1918, 1-32, 2 maps and 9 plates.

Proceedings of Essex County Ornithological Club. Complete.

Records of New England Birds. Massachusetts Audubon Society. 1945-1954.

Walks and Talks with Nature. Charles J. Maynard. Complete set.

Wren, The. Edited by J. L. Peters. Complete set.