The week just passed had a remarkable assemblage of birds found on the Cape and Islands from across the taxonomic realm of birds found in New England. The first Christmas Bird Counts were conducted with the Outer Cape Count being conducted on December 14. Also on this day was the Newport R.I./Westport, MA. CBC and the Greater Boston Count. All counts enjoyed spectacular weather. The winds were light and variable with periods of sun and partial overcast-ideal and rare conditions for a Christmas Bird Count!
The weather has resembled a roller coaster ride over the past six weeks. After an all-too-early chilly snap pre-Thanksgiving that made us realize that winter was arriving very early, things warmed up a little. The following milder spell has, however, now skipped off south and we are seeing a return to chillier conditions. After a rain-drenched day yesterday, following brutal weather this past weekend-hopes and wishes, the prospects have dimmed for the upcoming Christmas Bird Counts, which start this weekend on December 14 with the Outer Cape CBC and proceed thru Jan 5. 2015.
There is a medium-sized gull that spends the winter in considerable numbers along the edges of the Continental shelf well over a hundred miles out to sea. Occasionally they occur in near-shore waters and they are occasionally abundant in winter in Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket Sound. This pelagic gull is very long-winged and flies differently than its inshore relatives. It is quite at home on the storm-roiled waters of the North Atlantic in mid-winter, unlike so many other creatures, particularly anyone reading this.
The end of November is an exciting time of year on the Cape and Islands. From a birding perspective, the birding is exceptional - better than anywhere else in New England at this season. The possibility of some extralimital vagrant, the sheer numbers of birds still around that over winter here, and the lovely light and scenery of late autumn, all combine to make being on the Cape and Islands for Thanksgiving something to be truly grateful for.
The question that been coming my way since last spring was will the Snowy Owls that spent the winter in larger numbers than ever before in our area last winter return to spend another winter. Simple, straight forward question but not an easy one to answer. This historic incursion points out just how little we know about not only Snowy Owls but pretty much everything else as well.
The question that keeps coming my way and has since last spring is will the Snowy Owls that spent the winter in larger numbers than ever before in our area last winter return to spend another winter. Simple, straight forward question but not an easy one to answer. This historic incursion points out just how little we know about not only Snowy Owls but pretty much everything else as well.
I derive great pleasure when looking at Arctic-hatched immature sandpipers during the fall months, the birds oblivious to the hulking mammal (that would be me) that outweighs them by thousands of times, allowing for a close approach and excellent views.
If you are feeding birds. it's nothing to take lightly. As you enjoy the activity and vibrant colors birds provide, then you are obligated to keep feeding steadily. Now that you have started you are committed and must not stop until the middle of April.
Most people find it most effective to feed different types of seed from different feeders. Some even provide cracked corn on the ground for squirrels, and some real squirrel feeders.
What a fabulous weekend we experienced on the Cape and Islands this past weekend. Ideal weather for almost any activity with mild temperatures and lots of sun but little in the way of northwesterly winds to aid in bringing birds to our region. Nonetheless there were birders out all over and Nantucket Island enjoyed its 4th annual Nantucket Birding Festival which saw that island birded extensively. There were lots of birds and lots of happy birders viewing them.
A momentous thing happened in August of 1999. The fastest bird in the world - a bird that has been seen plummeting in a dive at over 240 miles per hour - the peregrine falcon was taken off the endangered species list. The ceremony was held out in Boise, Idaho on the 22nd August of that year. It is a wonderful and altogether rare success story.