Out on Windy Cape Cod!

My dad and I decided to take advantage of a few free days and head out to our second home on the Cape.

Day 1-Tuesday, December 1st, 2009.

After my survey we headed north, making a brief stop at Hammo to see the continuing orioles.

So weird to hear orioles chattering in December!

After a nice chat with Dave Provencher and Jayne Amico we were on out way.

As we drove, I was itching to see how the birdlife was doing at my local patches up there. On the trip we weren’t able to check all the patches, just the most quickly and easily accessible ones. Byfar, the patch I check the most is “the pond,” Hallet’s Mill Pond as it is more commonly known. I was very surprised to find a common eider, although it is a tidal pond and I did see one here in the summer two years ago. Also present were the Buffleheads that frequent this place throughout the winter and a kingfisher that provided fantastic looks (photos in gallery).

Couldn’t resist posting a photo of the beautiful Kingfisher. Unlike the ones in CT this one stayed put!

We then moved on to “the marsh,” more commonly known, well it isn’t very commonly known but anyway, I saw 1 Northern Harrier (been seeing them everywhere EXCEPT ct), a Great Blue Heron, a group of Bufflehead, many Black Ducks, and a single Brant, among others. After that we went home to enjoy a peaceful evening.

Day 2-Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Well, this was the birding day alright! I woke my dad up at 10 of 7 (I knew he wasn’t thrilled about that!) and then we were off. After breakfast, we drove up the cape to a spot that Blair Nikula had reported a Barrow’s Goldeneye. We went there but couldn’t find it (figures-we didn’t have a scope-the ducks were yards out!) But this time, I was not giving up. We drove down to the Bird Watcher’s General Store, a place I spend A LOT of time at when we’re here. The owner, my friend Mike O’Connor lent me his scope which he has dubbed, ‘Old Rusty.’ It may have been old and may have been rusty but it got us the Barrow’s! Unfortunately, it was a female, but at least it was on my list. It was hanging out with a common-the difference of the amount of yellow on their bills was very evident. Also present were 7 beautiful Red-necked Grebes.

We then headed to the Wellfleet town pier, where Blair had also reported a Black-headed Gull. No luck with the gull, but we did find a female KING EIDER, among commons. Also present, across the way, was one Black-bellied Plover, 10 Dunlin, and 9 Ruddy Turnstones.

Since, I had the scope I finally felt confident about seawatching. (Trying to seawatch with binoculars and wondering what all those little dots were was not fun!). But this time, with a scope, it was different.

Our first stop was Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro, one of the best seawatching spots on the Cape. Highlights included spectacular looks at Northern Gannets, my lifer Black-legged Kittiwakes, 20 nice lookin’ Razorbill, 70 White-winged Scoter, and my lifer LITTLE GULL!

On a roll, we then went to Nauset Beach in Orleans, one of my favorite birding beaches on the Cape. A show of over 100 plunge-diving gannets greeted us, and after scanning a bit I found the specialty of this beach Harlequin Duck! My favorite duck, to be exact. They were beautiful, favoring the choppiest water. The scope allowed us to get great views! What a great way to end a great day!

Seawatchin’ at Nauset! I do have to say, my dad is turning into quite a birder!

Day 3-Thursday, December 3rd, w009

Today was our last, unfortunately. We started out later, as not in the rush we were yesterday. We first hit the pond and recorded an adult male common eider (yesterday we had 3 females)! Moving onto Corporation Beach, our favorite beach in the summer and a place I’ve seen some great birds! Today, it was very windy making for a very high tide! The wind provided a seawatching opportunity, and I got a great show of gannets, grebes, loons, eiders, scoters, kittiwakes, and Bonaparte’s Gulls. We then returned old rusty, saying goodbie to the scope that had helped us out so much. I spent over an hour browsing and was basically dragged out of there!

High tide at Corpo! In the summer I WALK to these rocks to view eiders offshore!

Had a great time spending 3 great days with one of my favorite people, my dad.

-AB

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2 Responses to Out on Windy Cape Cod!

  1. Roberta Gowing says:

    Alex
    I loved the pictures of Cape Cod. I’ve done some birding there, myself. I had great view of what seened like hundreds of gannets diving off Truro beach, in August. First time that I had that experience. A scope is definately the way to go at the ocean. I finally bought a second hand one for myself a few years ago. I just got back from an awesome trip to the coast of Texas. I had 15 life birds, including the whooping cranes.

    Good birding
    Roberta

  2. Pingback: Another Ivory and More! « Flight of the Scrub-Jay

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