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

Seabirds Part of the Show If You’re Going Whale Watching

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.
Weekly Bird Report

Summer Is Already Over (If You’re an Arctic Nesting Shorebird)

It may not feel like fall, but if you ask a migratory shorebird, they’ll tell you summer is over and it’s time to pack your bags and head south. Since early July, adults of the many species of Arctic nesting shorebirds that pass through our area have been massing on local beaches, mud flats, and salt marshes.
Weekly Bird Report

July Is Butterfly Season on the Cape and Islands, with More Than 50 Species to Keep You Looking

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.
Weekly Bird Report