Sea Ducks, Grebes, among the Migrants Arriving to Our Waters

Oct 30, 2013

Scoters are among the sea ducks arriving to our waters this time of year.
Credit Jill Clardy / flickr

  Now is the time that northerly nesting loons, grebes, sea ducks and gulls arrive to spend the winter months off our shores.

This is their tropics, a respite from where they have just left where it will be a frozen, inhospitable environment until next May. A look off any favored spot at the water, in the early morning, will reveal long lines of ducks and scattered numbers of flying loons passing by. There are many excellent spots around the Cape and Islands to view large concentrations of sea ducks that are fairly easy to access.

Meanwhile, nor’easters on Cape Cod in November and December have become increasingly famous in the birding community around North America. The biggest northeast storms trigger a birder response from birders continent-wide. Various viewing spots from Sandy Neck in Barnstable to Provincetown are becoming a birding destination-during the foulest weather imaginable.          

The birding in area waters continues to get better right into the end of November. After strong winds, Northern Gannets, a wide variety of gulls, a few falcon-like seabirds called jaegers, alcids and a bonanza of sea ducks in close to shore are all expected highlights. With numbers of migrant land birds thinning, it seems the next few weeks have historically been the best time for vagrant flycatchers to appear.