Weekly Bird Report

Mark Faherty

Even though you’re taking your life into your hands just by getting on route 6, July is nevertheless one of my favorite times of year, because it’s the beginning of shorebird migration. Arctic nesting sandpipers and plovers are already heading south and turning up on Cape beaches and mud flats. 

Mark Faherty

It’s summer seabird time, and there’s no better place to be than the Cape and Islands. The regulars are in place, and you can expect them on any whale watch – four species of shearwaters, Wilson’s and occasionally Leach’s storm-petrels, and multiple species of terns are basically guaranteed, and even the neighborhood bullies, the jaegers, are in town to steal fish from the other seabirds.

David Schenfeld bit.ly/29wJUcN / bit.ly/OJZNiI

If you live in one of the areas subject to this year’s biblical plague of gypsy moth caterpillars, then you might be interested in this week’s bird report. Many parts of southeastern Massachusetts are getting hit hard by another major outbreak of this invasive species, originally introduced from Europe in the 1860s.

Mark Faherty

The king of the swallows is invading the Cape. Purple Martins, huge and muscular brutes among the swallows, have been making inroads into some new territory this spring. As of last week, two Mass Audubon sanctuaries – Long Pasture in Barnstable and Wellfleet Bay in Wellfleet – now have nesting Purple Martins for the first time in memory.

Mark Faherty

What do 10 thousand angry birds sound like? I recently learned the answer in Chatham. On Friday I helped the biologists at Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge conduct the annual census of their huge Common Tern colony on the south island.

Jeremiah Trimble

For the second time this week, a Mississippi Kite was seen in North Truro on Tuesday. It’s well known that Pilgrim Heights in the Cape Cod National Seashore is the best place in the state to see this rare and hopelessly graceful southern hawk. We know this thanks to the work of a rare breed of birder.

Shanaka Aravinda http://bit.ly/22wcyy0 / http://bit.ly/1ZbcGB3

I was recently checking on the nesting piping plovers at a beach in Eastham, something I have done a thousand times before without event. But this time would be different, as I would seemingly learn the answer to an important natural history question that has plagued me for years.

Andy Sewell / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In birding terms, May is fleeting beauty. May quickly ages into June, and the bejeweled migrant warblers that adorned our trees for a few weeks move on to more northerly forests to breed.

Jess Huddy / massaudubon.org

Did you catch it? Bird-a-thon fever was in the air this past weekend! Mass Audubon’s flagship annual fundraiser, Bird-a-thon pits sanctuary against sanctuary in two important categories: fundraising and birding. 

Peter Flood

In this week's Bird Report, Mark Faherty tells us about a newly-arrived stranger to the shores of Provincetown.