Published on July 19, 2019

Enjoy Great Birding with Some Great Birders

Top-notch birders Jim Sweeney & Joel Wagner

Wellfleet Bay has added some serious muscle to its birding bench strength over the past year or two with the acquisition of two accomplished birders—Jim Sweeney and Joel Wagner. Both are also top notch educators who are as enthusiastic about sharing their passion for birds as they are finding a rarity.

Jim became fascinated with birds as a fifth grader and Joel became a birder in college. But Joel says he’s been assured he didn’t come to birding late. "As my mentors always point out, I was still ahead of the game since most people become birders in retirement!"

For both Jim and Joel getting out in the field isn’t just about finding special birds and moving on to the next reported sighting. Jim says he’s motivated by the chance to watch bird behavior and to puzzle out the tough species. "I’m most content in a weedy field in early October surrounded by a variety of streaky brown birds giving indistinct chip calls.  However, studying gulls at the dump on a cold day in January also has its rewards!" (He’s only partly joking about the dump in winter…)

This fall, the sanctuary is offering a full plate of birding experiences—from the Outer Cape’s famous fall shorebird migration, trips to special hotpots, and the chance to watch researchers band birds.

Joel says you shouldn’t have to travel far to find great birds and enjoy yourself. "Birding offers the chance to discover something new about a familiar place and to simply share an outdoor experience with someone."

See all upcoming birding programs >