Eastern Massachusetts Bird Sightings

Once again seabirds head the list of interesting sightings this week. In addition to continued spectacular numbers of shearwaters, storm-petrels, terns, and jaegers in the waters around Provincetown, even more amazing were some of the highlights recorded on a deep-water pelagic trip to the continental shelf edge south of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard last weekend. Among the stunning variety and numbers of species seen were 2 Black-capped Petrels, 202 Audubon’s Shearwaters, 28 White-faced Storm-Petrels, 161 Leach’s Storm-Petrels, 23 Band-rumped Storm-Petrels, 4 White-tailed Tropicbirds, a Red-billed Tropicbird, 17 Pomarine Jaegers, a Long-tailed Jaeger, a South Polar Skua, and a Bridled Tern. Several of these counts undoubtedly represent the highest totals of these species ever recorded in these waters. Read More

The intense seabird activity of the last month or two continued this week with many of the birds still concentrated along the backside of Cape Cod.  Both Cory’s and Great shearwaters continue to head the list in abundance, but good numbers of Sooty and Manx shearwaters and Wilson’s Storm-Petrels are present as well. In addition large numbers of Common and Roseate terns are increasingly joining the feeding seabird flocks as their numbers continue to build up prior to their September departure for South America for the winter. Read More

The remarkable concentrations of seabirds in the waters around Cape Cod that have been such a feature for the last few weeks continued this week.  The large numbers of Cory’s Shearwaters continue to head the list, but hundreds of Great Shearwaters and lesser numbers of Sooty and Manx shearwaters are present as well.  Most exciting this week however was an adult Yellow-nosed Albatross from the southern hemisphere that was beautifully photographed near the southwest corner of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary only a few miles off Race Point in Provincetown.  There are also large numbers of Wilson’s Storm-Petrels present off the Cape, and increasing numbers of Red-necked Phalaropes and both Pomarine and Parasitic jaegers are joining the great concentrations of shearwaters. Read More

Indications are that many of the great numbers of shearwaters including Cory’s, Great, and Sooty shearwaters, plus a few Manx Shearwaters, good numbers of Wilson’s Storm-Petrels, small numbers of Red-necked Phalaropes, and a few jaegers that have been present on Stellwagen Bank within the last few weeks are gradually moving south along the backside of the Cape, no doubt following the baitfish that are attracting them.  At the same time many shorebirds are nearing their peak of migration for the year right now, so this is certainly a good time to brush up on your shorebird identification skills. Read More