Cape Cod is the ideal location to start your birding career or take it to the next level. Birding can be more than just watching birds- putting together a Year List is an important task for every birder especially when it comes to noting different species, recording where you've seen them and most of all, reporting your sightings as a citizen scientist.
In this series, expert birder Chris Walz will take participants through the process of creating a year list from beginning to end and lend his insights and birding skills along the way during monthly Saturday outings at Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary and other birding hotspots on the Cape and further afield.
January- Getting Started with eBird Saturday, January 16 10:00am-12:00pm Virtual Presentation via Microsoft Teams
Besides the usual birding tools such as binoculars; online resources such as allaboutbirds.org and ebird.org have become an important part of turning the birder into a citizen scientist and nature hero. In this first session we will be birding from inside and observing the feeders at Long Pasture while we learn how to use the traditional as well as these unique online tools to identify birds, keep your records, search for places to go birding, and find that ever elusive species to finish out your Year List-or to add to your Life List!
February- In Search of Snowy Owls Saturday, February 209:00-11:00am Location: TBD on the Cape, location given 1-3 days prior to program
The snowy owls are back on Cape for the winter. February's meeting will take you to the local snowy owl hot spots around the cape to learn about the natural history of these amazing birds.
March- Winter Songbirds of Cape Cod Saturday, March 20 9:00am-11:00am Location: Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary
An early spring walk on the trails at Long Pasture Sanctuary can yield more than a couple dozen species as we explore several habitat types. We will talk about the methods of identification and can expect to find plenty of LBJ's, black birds, red birds, and beach chickens; and by the end of the walk you will be able to identify them yourself as White-throated Sparrow, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, and Herring Gull.
April- Birding the Ashumet Holly Sanctuary Saturday April 17 8:00am-11:00am Location: Ashumet Holly Wildlife Sanctuary, Falmouth
Join us for a day of birding at the Ashumet Holly Sanctuary. The heart of Ashumet Holly is an eight-acre coastal plain pond, considered a globally rare natural community. Barn swallows, Baltimore Orioles, and other migratory birds nest at the sanctuary and five vernal pools were created to restore the threatened Eastern Spadefoot Toad.
May- Warbler Day at Beech Forest Saturday, May15 6:00am-9:00am Location: Beech Forest Trail, Cape Cod National Seashore, Provincetown
Early May is the time of year when warblers arrive in waves. These beautiful and ecologically important songbirds have traveled hundreds of miles to reach their breeding grounds. Don't miss out as we explore the 'hotspot' that is Beech Forest. Every spring migration as birds move up the coast and follow Cape Cod as far as it goes, this last bit of green is an oasis that will be full of a dozen or more species of warblers in boggling numbers.
June- Ospreys of Wing Island Saturday June 19 6:00am - 9:00am Location: Wing Island Trail, Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, Brewster
The John Wing Trail passes through the coastal pitch pine woodlands, across the salt marsh, to Wing's Island and finally descends through a salt marsh to the barrier beach and tidal flats of Brewster. This town owned property is rich with birdlife including tree swallows, red-wing blackbirds, kestrels, and green and great blue herons. The ospreys will have returned to the nesting pole mid marsh, providing an excellent opportunity to watch them up close.
July - Shorebirds Saturday, July 18 7:00am-10:00am Location: Morris Island Visitor's Center, Monomoy Wildlife Refuge, Chatham
If Cape Cod is known for anything, it is the expansive coastline of beaches, dunes, and marsh habitat; and the shorebirds know it too. Migration at the end of the short arctic summer starts in July and we begin to see the early movements of these birds as they stopover on our beaches to enthusiastically feed and rest during their flight south. We will discover the finer points of shorebird identification as we observe plovers, oystercatchers, sandpipers, dowitchers, terns, and gulls.
August- Shearwaters, Jaegers and Shorebirds Saturday, August 21 7:00am-12:00pm Location: Race Point Beach, Cape Cod National Seashore, Provincetown
In August we will head out to the tip of the Cape for a full day of shorebirds, shearwaters, petrels and jaegers at the Cape Cod National Seashore. Please bring a bag lunch, water and snacks. A pack chair may also be helpful.
September- Hawk Watch at Blue Hills Saturday, September 18 Time: 8:00am-1:00pm Location: Blue Hills Trailside Museum
Early fall is a great time to search the skies for soaring hawks, falcons, and eagles as the transforming weather summons a change in season and signals the urge to migrate. We will check out the raptors and animals on display at Mass Audubon's Blue Hills Trailside Museum and then hike up to the observatory with impressive views of Boston. Participants should be prepared for a considerable hike, bring a bag lunch, water and snacks.
October- Fall Ducks of Cape Cod Saturday, October 16 8:00am -12:00pm Location: Sandy Neck Beach
The weather has cooled and many birds should have gone far south for the winter, but some of the most colorful fall birds have been arriving over the last few weeks to spend the winter here offshore in the saltwater around Cape Cod or on our freshwater lakes and ponds. How can these birds survive the frigid and icy waters? Why do some dabble and others dive? We will search along some local waterways for “skunkheads”, “bluebills”, and some crazy divers.
Participants will meet at Sandy Neck Beach and travel by individual car to various duck hotspots in the area.
November - Giving a Hoot Saturday, November 20 6:00pm- 8:00pm Location: Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary
Join us for a fall evening excursion to listen for owls. Both great horned owls and Eastern screech owls are heard throughout the year at Barnstable Great Marsh or Long Pasture, but in the fall the male owls begin calling to claim territories and defend boundaries; pair bonding over winter with females in preparation for an early spring nesting season.
December - End of Year Wrap-up Saturday December 19 9:00am-11:00am Virtual Gathering via Microsoft Teams
20201 is almost at an end, determined birders will have created many lists through the year- some may have created a list for every day, some for only their backyards and others may have travelled within the country, or overseas to find colorful and unique birds. We will take this time to share our birding adventures with each other by using our ebird accounts to explore the data we have collected in 2021.
PLEASE NOTE: The in-person sessions of this program series will be conducted in accordance with current Municipal, State, and Mass Audubon Covid-19 protocols. Groups are limited to 11 pre-registered adults. Participants are required to wear a face covering and follow social distancing guidelines. Mass Audubon cannot loan field equipment at this time. A detailed confirmation letter will be emailed 24 hours before the program.
Please see the link in your confirmation email with additional information about this year round program.