Wednesday, 31 October 2007


We started the month on Cape Cod, with Sibley's Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern North America and The Shorebird Guide, and print outs from Mass Audubon's website. The Fall was late this year, and the temperature much warmer: in New York a full 20F above the usual October temperature. This meant that although we saw a wide variety of birds - all new to us - the Fall migration had not really started, and the number of shorebirds was not what we expected. Back in England we did not get out again until the end of the month, and a day with friends that ended in glorious golden light below Gutter Tor, watching a pair of Ravens.

Monday 1 October: Sunny and warm

West Barnstable (07.00 - 09.00): watching the bird feeders and the garden of The High Pointe Inn: Northern Cardinals, Cowbirds, Catbirds, a Baltimore Oriole, Downy Woodpeckers.
Nauset Harbour/Fort Hill (10.30 - 12.00): Chickadees, an American Robin and bird song and chatter in the woods; Egrets, Blue Herons, and clusters of shorebirds (too far away to identify).
Race Point, Provincetown (14.00 - 16.00): Redtailed Hawk and a smaller raptor high over the Visitor Centre; Sanderlings, Sandpipers and Plovers (Semi-palmated?) on the beach. Great Blackbacked and Herring Gulls, adults and juveniles, and off-shore, Eider Ducks and crowds of smaller gulls being harried by the Great Blackbacked Gulls.
North Truro, Mass (16.30): a cloud of Tree Swallows (500 - 1,000) on the edge of the land.
Mass Audubon's Reserve, Wellfleet (16.30 - 19.00): Cooper's Hawk, mobbed by Crows, a dozen Blue Heron, shorebirds to indistinct to identify, and the most magical of sunsets.

Tuesday 2 October: Sunny and very warm

Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge, Nantucket Island (13.30 - 17.00): Northern Harrier, Belted Kingfisher, Sanderlings, Herring and Great Blackbacked Gulls, White Winged Scoters (female), Eider Duck, Tree Swallows (100s), Peregrine, Horned Larks, Blackbellied Plovers, Cormorants, Canada Geese, Crows ~ plus Grey Seals (10+), hornets, and the priceless question, "You mean that seagulls come in different types?"

Wednesday 3 October: Sunny and warm

West Barnstable (07.00 - 09.00): once again watching the bird feeders and the garden of The High Pointe Inn: Downy Woodpecker, Chickadees, Sparrows, Tufted Titmouses, Northern Cardinal, Goldfinch in autumn moult, Grey Catbirds, American Robin.
Morris Island, Chatham (10.00 - 11.30): Cormorants (75+) shepherding a shoal of small fish, raptor high above the wood, Plovers, Herring Gulls, shorebirds on Monomoy Island, too far away in the haze to identify, a young fox hunting in the saltmarsh.
Mass Audubon's Reserve, Wellfleet (13.00 - 16.00): before we went out on the Reserve, we saw the day old Diamond back Terrapins they take out of the swamp (to stop them being eaten too soon). In the woods, a Redbreasted Nuthatch, and we heard Blue Jays but could not see them. Out towards the sea, another Huthatch, a pair of Northern Cardinal (or were they Grosbeaks: I find identification of North American birds challenging), a Cooper's Hawk high in a dead tree, two Lesser Yellow Legs in the Goose Pond, Crows everywhere. On the beach Eider Duck, Sanderlings and Plover too far away to identify clearly; on the way back, a juvenile Herring Gull fishing (successfully) in the Goose Pond, and the (same) Cooper's Hawk being mobbed by Crows. Finally a Woodpecker (larger than the Downy Woodpecker) in the pines.

Friday 5 October Hot and hazy

The Battery, NYC (11.30): a single raptor flying fast above the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.
The Rambles, Central Park, NYC (5.00): heard a lot of birds but saw none (but did see the Grey Squirels)

Saturday 20 October Overcast but sun later, mild

Lopwell (2.30): Little Egret, Mallard
Whittenknowles Rocks (above Ditsworthy) (4.00): singleton Wheatear
Gutter Tor (4.30): pair of Ravens on the ground, Buzzard

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