#ABArare - Gray-tailed Tattler - Massachusetts
by Nate Swick
Making a strong case for the most impressive record of a most impressive fall was the discovery by ace rarity-finder Jeremiah Trimble late October 18 of an ABA Code 3 Gray-tailed Tattler on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts. The relatively low rarity code belies the significance of the record. Not only would this be a first state record, pending acceptance, for Massachusetts, but a first record for the eastern half of the continent and only the third outside of Alaska.
Nantucket Island lies 35 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. Access to the island is primarily by ferry, either a 2 hour plus ride on a car ferry, or a high speed passenger-only ferry that cuts the time in half. More information on boat options is available on the Nantucket Island Visitors' Guide.
The bird was seen in the vicinity of Nantucket Harbor.
Coincidentally. this weekend Nantucket Island is hosting the Nantucket Birding Festival (.pdf), so several birders will be on the island, undoubtedly looking for this bird in addition to the regular festival activities. Look for updates on the MassBird listserv.
Gray-tailed Tattler is a regular spring and fall migrant on the outer Aleutian Islands, Pribilofs, and St. Lawrence Island, and casually on the Alaska coast, north to Point Barrow. There are two accepted records from the Lower 48, one from Washington (1975) and one from California (1981), along with 5 additional unaccepted records for the latter state.