Weekly Bird Report

Mark Faherty

It’s June on Cape Cod, which means that it’s time for people to start squawking a little louder about Piping Plovers. These small, sand-colored local residents have been nesting on our beaches for eons, but in modern times they have come into conflict with certain forms of human recreation, and as a result have become “fauna non grata” among some people. And for those us who work to monitor and protect these federally Threatened birds, this negative perception of plovers can make for some bad days at work.

Lip Kee bit.ly/2rt6PM6 / bit.ly/1dsePQq

You may have heard me talk about those marauding avian pirates of our nearshore waters, the jaegers. Fast and unrelenting, they chase terns and gulls in an effort to steal their fish, comfortable atop the local seabird food chain. But for at least one day this past weekend, the jaegers fell a few rungs on the seabird corporate ladder. A true pirate of the Caribbean was in town - a Magnificent Frigatebird was photographed on Stellwagen Bank.

JimGain bit.ly/2rJnoVW / bit.ly/1jNlqZo

I always underestimate June. In my head, it marks the sad end of spring migration and all the giddy rediscovery that goes with it. Hearing the song of a warbler you haven’t heard in a year, seeing them and the Arctic nesting shorebirds in the full glory of their breeding plumage for just a few short weeks, and new local breeding birds arriving every day.

Such are the joys of May. I think of June as the doldrums between the spring and fall migrations. And June always proves me wrong.

Mark Faherty

While monitoring shorebirds on Mass Audubon’s Tern Island in Chatham last week, I came across an individual bird that illustrated the hemispheric scope of bird migration, and shed some light on the struggles of a threatened Arctic nesting shorebird population.

OHFalcon72 goo.gl/3DNltw / goo.gl/cefU8

For a few glorious days last week, we had spring. Or was it summer? It felt like we went from March to August in one day. Such is Cape Cod in spring. But with the warm weather came the long awaited fallout of May migrants—the warblers, tanagers, grosbeaks, and even shorebirds that we only get for a few weeks each May.

Maark Faherty

As the dust continues to settle after Mass Audubon’s statewide fundraiser and epic birding blitz known as Bird-a-thon, we team captains are tallying the results to submit to headquarters. At stake is the vaunted Brewster Cup, awarded to the sanctuary reporting the most species in the 24-hours of Bird-a-thon.

Courtesy Elora Grahame

It’s almost mid-May, which means two things – songbird migration is nearing its most colorful apex, and Mass Audubon’s Bird-a-thon is almost here.  It’s not a coincidence that these two things, well, coincide.

Timor Nagy goo.gl/BxM9mu / goo.gl/uk4xos

The snowbirds are back. No, not your neighbors—they won’t be back from Florida until June. I’m talking about the flood of migrant and locally nesting birds that are returning daily from southern wintering grounds. If you’re an aficionado of bird migration, this is the golden hour. 

Keenan Yakola

I talk a lot on the Bird Report about relatively obscure seabirds that you can see if you trudge your way out to Race Point, a potentially four mile round trip in soft sand. Perhaps you don’t find the prospect of jaegers, alcids, and shearwaters enticing enough to make the trip. 

Mark Faherty

In last week’s report I griped about our typically cold and wet spring weather here on the Cape and Islands. I submit that it was a direct result of this griping that we then enjoyed nearly a week of atypically warm, sunny early spring weather. You’re welcome.

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