Showing posts from September, 2017

October pelagic opportunity

For you pelagic enthusiasts, the Brookline Bird Club (Massachusetts) has scheduled an overnight pelagic to the canyons southeast of Cape Cod for the weekend of October 14-15. This is in response to both the Aug and Sep overnighters being weathered-out. Deep-water pelagics have never been run to these ridiculously productive waters in October, which is part of what makes the opportunity so exciting. Our route usually takes us over the Nantucket Shoals twice, on our way to and from our main birding area: the edge of the continental shelf. This is potentially a super exciting time to be out there. We have a shot at (I won't use the word "expect," because you never know with birding...) 5+ species of shearwater, Northern Fulmar, multiple storm-petrel species, a solid jaeger migration, both skuas, and many more. This is a great time of year for Red Phalarope, Sabine's Gull, and Black-legged Kittiwake. Northern Gannets will be on the return south. Alcids are certainly

Cape Cod -- Aug 19-21, 2017 (Part 2 of 2)

Aug 20: Our hope on this day was to visit South Monomoy Island, a legendary autumn birding locale situated at the very tip of the "elbow" of Cape Cod. Despite the island's stellar reputation, well-deserved thanks to a long list of vagrants and numbers of migrant passerines, you pretty much never hear anything about it these days. That's simply because the island is difficult to access; it is only reachable by boat. If you take a look at its position on the map above, you can see why it must be an amazing place right after an autumn cold front. We would be visiting in mid-August, with no such frontal boundary nearby, so we were not expecting a landbird migration. However South Monomoy can also produce shorebirds, terns, and long-legged waders, and this was a fine time of year for those. We launched the boat out of Harwich and made our way to the public landing area of this portion of Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. Our hike took us first to the lighthouse,

Cape Cod -- Aug 19-21, 2017 (Part 1 of 2)

Cape Cod weekend birding map (courtesy of Julian Hough) The weekend of Aug 19-20 was supposed to be spent offshore. More specifically, this was the weekend of the uber-successful Brookline Bird Club overnight deepwater pelagic, AKA the 'Extreme Pelagic.' The track record for this late-August trip is unparalleled in the region, so we greatly anticipate it every summer. So, naturally we were bummed to hear that this year's trip would be canceled due to high seas. In an effort to make the most of the situation, several friends made the journey to Cape Cod anyway for some birding by land and boat. Given the nice inshore forecast I decided to trailer my boat. Aug 19: Most of us arrived early on Saturday the 19th with the idea of seabirding from Race Point in Provincetown, having heard recent rumors of shearwaters right along the beach. We did not think they would literally be along the beach, but that is exactly what we found. Thousands of shearwaters of four species


Connecticut is not exactly known for its pelagic birding. If you're familiar with the state at all, you know that our entire coastline lies within Long Island Sound rather than open ocean, so seabirds are few and far between. The summer of 2017, however, has produced more than its fair share of pelagic excitement. And we haven't even been hit by a tropical cyclone (yet...). The past five weeks have brought Bridled Tern, multiple Cory's Shearwaters, and the best summer for Wilson's Storm-Petrels in some time. This morning Tina Green, diligently birding the remnants of what used to be called Hurricane Harvey, located a juvenile SABINE'S GULL at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport, CT. It is just the second state record. Remarkably, this bird was on the water, grounded by rain and wind, thus was chaseable for a few hours. It was loosely associating with a flock of 20 or so gulls, mostly Laughing. It spent most of its time drifting on the water, but it would occasi