Back on Sunday, July 12th, I made my way up to the Provincetown area to get some birding in before work started. Per usual, I’ve been spending my summer on Cape Cod, and this year have been working at one of my favorite places: The Birdwatcher’s General Store in Orleans.
Trying to get in as much time as I could, I began my day at sunrise at Race Point. Birding in the Provincetown area is always fantastic, and maybe surprisingly, the dog days of summer are right up there with the rest of the year. The area is home to summering first cycle Black-legged Kittiwakes, Bonaparte’s Gulls, and Arctic Terns, as well as nearby breeding Common and Roseate Terns, plus transient Royal and Black Terns. The shorebirding isn’t too bad either, and any visit to a Provincetown beach is the equivalent of an onshore pelagic.
I walked a good deal of the beach toward Race Point itself, covering a little over two kilometers. Activity was steady along the entire route, highlighted by the first ‘lagoon’ area, which had a nice concentration of gulls and terns to poke through. Highlights at Race Point included eight Cory’s Shearwater and two Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, all extremely close to shore, Piping Plovers, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Bonaparte’s Gulls, Least, Roseate, and Common Terns, and a nice flock of six Horned Lark (postbreeding individuals?). My main target at Race Point, Royal Tern, remained elusive, but I nevertheless had a great time with the birds there. Photos below (click for sharper views):
After Race Point, I started heading south toward Orleans, stopping at Moon Pond Meadow in Truro along the way. It was at this location last year that I had enjoyed fantastic looks at both adult and juvenile Virginia Rails right along the roadside.
That experience was not to repeat itself this year, as I had but one briefly calling Virginia Rail at a distance. I surmised that because my visit was a couple of weeks earlier this year, the rails may have not been so bold, as the young may not have fledged. Either that, or they were just enjoying a different portion of the marsh for the day.
Other fun birds at Moon Pond included Green Heron and a nice flock of nine Lesser Yellowlegs.