There is no place like being on the water, on a boat, at this time of year, if you want to see birds - specifically pelagic, ocean-loving birds. While ashore it is hot and crowded, out on the water the cool temperatures and seabirds conspire to make you mellow out and enjoy your vast surroundings. A human never feels as small as when out on, and in, the vastness of the open ocean.
With the Fourth of July just a couple of days way and fledgling “baby” birds seemingly everywhere, there are some not-so-subtle changes going on in the natural world. Most noticeable in fields and woods is the rapid and pronounced decrease in bird song. Recovering from the exhausting ordeal of defending a territory, courting, mating, providing for a brood of young birds all the while on the alert for a wide variety of predators, the adult birds are eating, resting and growing new feathers.
With the arrival of summer, throngs of people escaping the heat come to the Cape and Islands. Beaches are the place to be. Our area has a remarkably varied and long shoreline, with fabulous beaches, adjacent tidal flats and abundant salt marshes. Fortuitously, these are also a great place to look for birds.
As the days continue to lengthen, the summer solstice is almost upon us. While June is a time of frenetic activity for local nesting birds, my mind always wanders to what is happening much further north, in the Arctic. Everything in this land of extremes is so different from temperate and tropical regions that, for humans visiting the region, it is otherworldly.