Sunday, December 4, 2011

Alcids on Cape Cod

Had all kinds of plans to get a few projects done this weekend so I had no plans to bird....what a bad idea!  I read the e-bird list for Massachusetts and there were so many great birds I threw out all my plans today and went to the Cape.  It was sooo worth it.  For some reason Razorbills are migrating in huge numbers into the area.  Most of the other alcids were also reported along the coast.   So my first stop was Sacuset Beach in Plymouth.  Sacuset is located at the end of the Cape Cod Canel where it enters Cape Cod Bay.  The current is amazingly quick so diving birds were having a feeding frenzy.  There were 20 common loons, 10 razorbills, a horned grebe and a black guillimont.  There was a report of a Lapland Longspur, but I didn't see it.  Temps were a bit chilly at sun up, but it quickly warmed up.  No wind and blue sky.   I realize my post isn't all alcids, but the alcids stole the show on this trip.

Black Guillemot
Scusett Beach

Horned Grebe,
Scusett Beach

From Plymouth I drove right down to P-town harbor.  I figured I could start there and visit locations on the way back.  Conditions were much different in P-town.  It was overcast with a steady breeze and raw, but the birding was fabulous. 

Common Eider,
MacMillan Wharf,
P-town Cape Cod

MacMillan Wharf,
P-town Cape Cod

Thick-billed Murre,
MacMillan Wharf,
P-town Cape Cod

In addition to the birds photographed I also saw a Brown booby (lifer), 10 harlequins, a long-tailed duck, great cormerants, and a slew of common loons.  I left P-town for Race Point to view the ocean side.  There must of been 5000 red breasted mergansers, but nothing close to shore.  Standard gulls and a few northern gannets were buzzing around.  I spent a bit of time on the beach listening to the waves. 

Sorry to my mid-western friends, but I really could never live away from the ocean.  It is truly amazing. 

I departed P-town for Wellfleet Harbor.  Heard a report of a dovekie hanging out along the dock.  It was low tide when I arrived so the birds were right along the dock.   Tons of Boneparte's Gulls diving for minnows.  I was standing on a boat ramp and up came a Red throated loon.  He didn't care that I was there.  I spent so much time gawking at the loon that I almost didn't see the Dovekie pop up next to me.   

Red-throated loon
Wellfleet Harbor

Wellfleet Harbor

An amazing birding day!


Dan Huber said...

wow Tucker, fantastic finds. If only I had a little more time to make a trip - alcids are a group I have never seen. Great shots of them

Graham Custard said...

John, you are producing some extremely good photographs of the birds you see. Helps me in identifying birds that I see !

Jen said...

Wowzer, so many awesome birds!! I am super envious of all the alcids, not to mention the fantastic photos you got!

Dawn Fine said...

Awesome! I saw the Brown Booby at the cape over the summer..I heard it was still hanging around.

I want a Dovkie!!!

Mpho said...

Great shot on the Common Eider, John.
I will be back for more.
Thanx for sharing.