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 15th
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 online and observing live webcam the feeders while we learn how to use traditional birding techniques 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 19th
Location: TBD on 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- Full Moon Owl Prowl
Saturday March 19th (rain date Sunday March 20th)
Location: Long Pasture
Join us for a Spring evening excursion to listen for owls. Both great horned owls and Eastern screech owls have been heard seasonally at Barnstable Great Marsh or Long Pasture.
April- Bird Banding at Wellfleet Bay
Saturday April 16th
Location: Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Wellfleet, MA
Wellfleet Bay has re-established a bird banding station to study the migration of songbirds. Mist nets are set up on the property during spring and fall migrations and are managed by James Junda, Licensed Master Bander. Come meet James and the rest of the bird banding team and learn about banding methods and the information gathered from this research. You will likely get to see live birds up-close and observe the banding process.
May- Warbler Day at Mt. Auburn Cemetery
Saturday, May 21
Location: Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA
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 caravan up to Cambridge to explore the 'hotspot' that is Mt. Auburn Cemetery. Every spring migration, hidden within a sea of metal and concrete, this green oasis will be dripping with so many birds that it is possible to find 20 or more species of warblers.
Participants will travel to Mt. Auburn Cemetery for the program. Please bring a bag lunch, water and snacks. Program length may be altered due to weather and/or bird activity.
June- In Search of Sparrows and other Grassland Birds
Saturday June 18th
Time: 8am - 11am
Location: Crane Wildlife Management Area, Falmouth MA
Take a trip to the Francis Crane Wildlife Management Area, encompassing over 1,800 acres of protected land including rare expanses of open grassland habitat. Here we will search for Sparrows and work to sort out these tricky to identify and nuanced 'Little Brown Jobs' (LBJs) while searching for other elusive grassland species including meadlowlarks and kestrels.
July - Ospreys of Waquoit Bay and South Cape Beach
Saturday, July 16th
Location: South Cape Beach State Park, Great Flat Pond Loop Trail
The Great Flat Pond Loop Trail passes through the coastal pitch pine woodlands, across the salt marsh, to South Cape Barrier Beach and the salt marsh and tidal flats of Waquoit Bay and Sage Lot Pond. This 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 many nesting poles and natural nest locations throughout this regional nesting hotspot on Cape Cod, providing excellent opportunities to watch them up close.
August- Shearwaters, Jaegers and Shorebirds
Saturday, August 20th
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. Participants will travel to Race Point for the program. Please bring a bag lunch, water and snacks. A pack chair may also be helpful.
September- Hawk Watch at Wachusett Mountain
Saturday, September 17th
Location: Mount Wachusett, Princeton MA
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 for these raptors and other migratory birds from atop the highest point in Eastern MA. Participants should be prepared for a considerable hike, bring a bag lunch, water and snacks.
October- Birding the Fall Migration at Fort Hill
Saturday, October 15th
Location: Fort Hill, Cape Cod National Seashore, Eastham, MA
Birding on Cape Cod during the fall migration offers incredible diversity. Resident species mingle with southbound migrants and early-arriving winter birds. We will search for these migrating shorebirds, songbirds, raptors, and seabirds on the Outer Cape from atop Fort Hill, overlooking the vast expanse of Nauset Marsh and Nauset Barrier Beach.
November - Fall Ducks of Cape Cod
Saturday, November 19th
Time: 8:00am- 12:00pm
Location: Sandy Neck Beach, West Barnstable, MA
The weather has cooled and many birds should have gone far south for 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.
December - End of Year Wrap-up
Saturday December 17th
Location: Long Pasture
2022 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 2022.
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. Participants are required to follow social distancing guidelines and wear a face covering when distance cannot be maintained.
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.