A great background piece on general hurricane birding (and a bit of detail on Irene) can be found on the eBird website at the following link: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/news/hurricane_irene_redux/
|New England Hurricane of 1938 track (map courtesy of weatherunderground)|
A Greater Shearwater was found in Montgomery on the day of the storm (only western mass record ever).
A Sooty Tern was found on the day of the storm in Northampton.
Multiple reports of Leach's Storm Petrels in Southwick, Holyoke, Northampton and on the Mongomery/Huntington line.
An interesting article about the storm and the birds it deposited can be found in The Auk (The AOU's quarterly journal) from April 1939. I have included an excerpt below about other species that arrived with the storm.
Nighthawks, swifts and swallows--none of which had been seen in western Massachusetts for several days before the hurricane--were indubitably blown back by it. At Northampton some were seen amidst the storm, and next morning; and "thousands" assembled together on September 23. At Williamsburg, two Purple Martins appeared at 8 a.m. on September 25 (and one in Marshfield, September 29)! One Nighthawk was seen as late as September 27. Gulls were blown up the Connecticut Valley in large numbers. On the morning of September 22, "a great many" were at Lake Congamond, Southwick (in the supposed path of the storm's very center), and A. C. Bagg at Holyoke saw not only Herring Gulls but five or six Laughing (very rare there), four or five Bonaparte's (rare), and two or three Ring-billed Gulls. Terns were visitors still more exciting. Just before sunset on September 21, when the worst of the hurricane had passed, one Northampton observer saw, besides one petrel, four terns, three of which struck him as immature Sooties. Of course they went by him too fast for any certainty; and the only hurricane record of that species (which other, past hurricanes have several times brought to us) that I have seen is from ManerviIle, Long Island, during the lull when the center of the storm was passing there (Bird-Lore, 1938, p. 459). For several days following September 21, terns were present at Hadley (flooded), too far away for specific identification; and at the Holyoke dam on September 24 I saw one adult and two immature Common Terns, and on September 26, one adult, one immature, and an adult Forster's Tern. Far to the north-east, at Athol, a Common Tern was seen on September 22. (The Auk, April 1939, pg 178).
Link to full article in The Auk below:
|Hurricane Diane track (map courtesy of weatherunderground)|
|Hurricane Belle track (map courtesy of weatherunderground)|
|Hurricane David track (map courtesy of weatherunderground)|
|Hurricane Gloria track (map courtesy of weatherunderground)|
|Hurricane Irene track (map courtesy of weatherunderground)|
-Wilson's Storm Petrels in Pittsfield at Pontoosuc Lake and another found dead (and salvaged) in Northampton
-Leach's Storm Petrel at south Quabbin (which I sadly missed as I left just before it arrived)
-unidentified storm petrel species at Onota Lake in Pittsfield
-White tailed Tropicbird at south Quabbin and another one at Onota Lake
-Parasitic Jaeger at south Quabbin (plus at least one other unidentified jaeger at same location)
-Sooty Tern at south Quabbin and Onota Lake
Irene also produced a fabulous showing of shorebirds with following species and numbers noted at Winsor Dam:
-Black bellied Plover (7)
-American Golden Plover (2)
-Greater Yellowlegs (1)
-Hudsonian Godwit (12)
-Ruddy Turnstone (4)
-Baird's Sandpiper (1)
-Red/Red necked Phalarope (1)
-small peep (1)
-large shorebird (11)
The full list for the day from Marshall gives a real feel for the excitement of the day- http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S8750565
|Hurricane Sandy track (map courtesy of weatherunderground)|
A link from eBird with some additional details on the lead up to Hurricane Sandy can be found at the following link: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/news/hurricane-sandy/
Another link to sightings from Sandy can be found here: http://www.nemesisbird.com/news/tropical-storm-sandy-rare-bird-liveblog/
Besides the pelagic birds blown in or put down by the tropical systems these storms can also produce some fallouts of shorebirds as the birds migrate south or if the storm is late in the season, waterfowl. Details on these occurrences with early storms is tough to find information on but shorebirds were well documented during Irene and Sandy (see info above).
Here is a list of pelagic/coastal birds and the number of individual occurrences by county in western Massachusetts. Many of these are storm related but some are not. A few of these were counts of more than a single individual present at location. (B=Berkshire, F=Franklin, HD=Hampden, HP=Hampshire).Audubon Shearwater – 1 (HD)
Cory Shearwater -1 (B)
Greater Shearwater -1 (HD)
Leach’s Storm Petrel –multiple reports from various stormsWilson’s Storm Petrel – 2 (B), 3 (HD), 1 (HP)
American White Pelican – 1 (F), 1 (HD), 2 (HP)
Brown Pelican -1 (HD)
White tailed Tropicbird - 1 (B), 1 (HP)
Northern Gannet -2 (B), 1 (HP) + 1 in town of Enfield that now lies under the waters of Quabbin
Little Gull - 1 (B)
Franklin's Gull - 1 (B), 1 (F), 1 (HD), 1 (HP)
Laughing Gull- 2 (B), 2 (HP)
Mew Gull- 2 (HP)
Sabine's Gull- 1 (HP)
Black legged Kittiwake- 1 (B), 2 (F), 3 (HP)
Caspian Tern - multiple records during inclement weather during spring and fall migrationRoyal Tern -1 (F)
Common Tern- multiple records during inclement weather during spring and fall migrationArctic Tern- 1 (B), 1 (HD), 2 (HP)
Forster’s Tern- A handful of spring records with most records in fall (usually associated with tropical systems)...more details on these records later.Least Tern- 4 (HD), 1 (HP)
Black Tern- multiple records during inclement weather during spring and fall migrationSooty Tern -1 (B), 3 (HD), 2 (HP)
Thick billed Murre- 4 (B), 1 (F)Razorbill -1 (F)
Black Guillemot- 1 (HP)Atlantic Puffin- 1 (B)
As you can see from these records there are many possibilities for pelagic/coastal birds to reach western Massachusetts with many of these associated with storms (both tropical and non tropical). I will go into more detail on species associated with non tropical system in a future post.
When the next tropical system approaches the area the following websites can be quite helpful to check for updates and information (websites besides this one which will certainly have some info when a storm threatens!).
General websites with great forecasts and insight into Atlantic tropical weather can found at the following links:
I used a variety of sources for the information and maps included in this post including the following:MARC website- http://www.maavianrecords.com/
eBird website- http://ebird.org/
weatherunderground.com website - http://www.wunderground.com/
The Auk, April 1939 "Hurricane aftermath", pg 177-179. https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/auk/v056n02/p0176-p0179.pdf
Bird Observer article "Western Massachusetts Rarities", Kellogg, Seth and Smith, James, Feb 2007, pages 15-29.
North American Birds. "Changes Seasons: Driven", Farnsworth, Andrew and Iliff, Marshall, pg 23-28 and "New England", Ellison, Walter and Martin, Nancy, pg 37-42.
Birds of Massachusetts, Veit, Richard and Petersen, Wayne, 1993