Weekly Bird Report

Andy Morffew goo.gl/t7K5B1 / goo.gl/sZ7V7x

I had decided last week that this week’s bird report would be about how farms and community gardens are among the best places for October birding. As if to bolster my case, a stunning male Painted Bunting decided to show up at Cape Cod Organic Farm in Barnstable this past Sunday. Sporting Day-Glo colors that look downright obscene against our classic, understated fall color palette, this bird is both visually and geographically out of place for October in New England.

USFWS

 

After days of high winds and rough water, the forecast on October 6 was finally for calm weather, but with 100% chance of clouds. Clouds of shorebirds, that is. You see, I was helping with the US Fish and Wildlife Service Red Knot trapping project that day at South Beach in Chatham, home to the biggest shorebird roosts in the state. 

Washington Post

Within an hour of submitting my bird report for last week, in which I confidently declared that Hurricane Jose had brought no storm-blown tropical birds to Massachusetts, I received a text message that would prove me wrong. A mysterious and apparently sick bird had been called in from LeCount’s Hollow Beach in Wellfleet.

Eric Ellingson goo.gl/59eKJe / goo.gl/cefU8

With Hurricane/Tropical Storm Jose finally in the rear view mirror, it’s time to assess how birds were impacted by this strange, lingering storm. When hurricanes approach us from the south, there are a few things that can happen. As I mentioned last week, if the storm remains strong and hits us directly, it can pick up all kinds of Caribbean seabirds along the way, potentially carrying them well inland if the storm makes landfall and tracks west.

Brandon Trentler goo.gl/4XvaVp / goo.gl/sZ7V7x

With a few days of stormy weather ahead of us, it’s time to talk about birds and hurricanes. Here in the northeast, hurricanes originating in the Caribbean typically weaken into tropical storm before we see them, sparing us most of the destruction, and setting up potentially exciting times for birders on the Cape.

Mark Faherty

With the summer nesting season behind us, it’s the time when bird researchers turn their collective gaze upon bird migration, and the many mysteries it holds. Right here on Cape Cod, scientists are studying bird migration using a variety of methods, from the high tech and cutting edge to good, old-fashioned, 19th century trapping and monitoring methods – and sometimes both at the same time.

Say what? Say’s Phoebe! That’s what birders were saying last week when an uber rare flycatcher from the west made an appearance at Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.

Mark Faherty

A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill will hold more than his belican,
He can take in his beak
Enough food for a week
But I'm damned if I see how the helican!

So goes the most famous limerick that Ogden Nash never wrote. 

Mark Faherty

Shoreline swarms of seabirds known as shearwaters have long-time Cape birders searching their vocabularies for superlatives in recent weeks. If you’ve been on a whale watch recently, especially out of Provincetown, you may also have noticed the impressive shearwater flocks blanketing the in-shore waters along both Long Point and Race Point.

Richard Bonnett goo.gl/p63Bnq / goo.gl/cefU8

Are there monsters in your barn? For property owners on the Outer Cape, the answer in recent years has increasingly been “yes.” I’m talking about categorically ugly, hissing, projectile vomiting monsters. But don’t call the Ghostbusters just yet, because these monsters have an important role to play in our ecosystem. They are Turkey Vultures, and they are nature’s morticians.

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