Rare Birds on Cape Cod: Elegant Tern and Male Painted Bunting

With the annual Cape Cod Waterfowl Census coming up this weekend, it’s time to talk ducks. But first I need to make good on my teaser from last week about the latest wacky rare bird to drop by the Cape – specifically the ocean side of Wellfleet. That rare bird was an Elegant Tern, and is about an unlikely a visitor as you could dream up for late November on Cape Cod.
Weekly Bird Report on WCAI

Razorbills Highlight a Seasonal Incursion of “Flying Footballs”

The flying penguins are here – have you seen them? No, this is not an allusion to other seemingly impossible events of recent occurrence, but a reference to one of my favorite groups of birds – the alcids! November is when alcids arrive in numbers to the waters of the Cape and Islands, which means I get to tell you all about them.
Weekly Bird Report on WCAI

Cape Birders Hot to Catch Sight of Two Rare Visitors: Gray Kingbird and Bell’s Vireo

Though I’m recording this week’s bird report from my temporary headquarters on the big island of Hawaii, I know through the magic of the internet that the Cape is currently hosting a very rare visitor. For the first time ever, a Gray Kingbird has made its way to the archipelago, and is now holding court with throngs of local birders.
Weekly Bird Report on WCAI

Here’s a Rundown of Essential October Birding

October, the season of asters and goldenrods, of sparrows and seabirds, is perhaps my favorite month in New England, and not just because I look better in pants than shorts. October is a time of many significant transitions in the bird world, and I’m going to try to cover as many of them as I can this week, so buckle your seat belts.
Weekly Bird Report on WCAI

Broad-winged Hawks Are Migrating Along the East Coast, But You Won’t Spot Them on the Cape

There’s a jaw-dropping bird migration spectacle that only happens in September, and I’m afraid you’ll have to cross the bridge to catch a glimpse of it. The problem is, Broad-winged Hawks hate to fly over water, and there are no winds strong enough to coax them across the bay to Cape Cod on their southbound flight each September.
Weekly Bird Report

Birds of September Are on the Move

The next couple of months provide the absolute best birding on the Cape and Islands. Birds all over North America are on the move, and, beyond the embarrassment of riches that is our normal flood of migrants, the potential for rarities is very high now. Take, for example, the two Yellow-headed Blackbirds that were discovered walking tamely around Kalmus Beach in Hyannis over the weekend. These striking blackbirds are a strictly western species during the breeding season, but one or two misguided migrants can be expected each fall on the Cape by a sharp-eyed birder. While the thickets, oceans, and beaches are alive with migrants right now, and I’ll get to those in a minute, I’d like to start in your backyard, where you may have noticed some eerie night sounds in recent weeks. Every mid-to-late August our commonest owl, the Eastern Screech Owl, becomes vocal again. One of our most poorly named species, screech owls don’t make anything even vaguely resembling a screech that I have ever
Weekly Bird Report

Yellow-crowned Night Herons May Be Extending Their Range Across Cape Cod

Last week we talked about Black Skimmers, one of the southern waterbird species that seem to be on the rise in Massachusetts, as evidenced by an all-time high count recently recorded on the Vineyard. But there’s a second bird of more southerly affinities that has been quietly on the increase in these parts – the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron.
Weekly Bird Report