Monday, May 11, 2009

Cape Cod - first day - morning

We had extensive plans, made over some month or so, to visit Acadia park in Maine, on the basis I had another business trip to the USA for over a week and Helen had just enough holiday left to join me. However as the trip got nearer it became apparent we were probably just a little too early for the park to be really accessible but also the weather forecast looked awful - predicted continual heavy rain for at least two and a half of the three days we had planned. A last minute change of plan was therefore required. In the end we settled on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Logistically this involved re-routing Helen and her catching an Amtrak from New York whilst I drove down to meet her at Providence.

Friday morning dawned bright with only patchy cloud so the weather had blown through. As we hadn't had a chance to get provisions on the way down and didn't know the area we had to wait in the hotel until they opened to serve us breakfast, eventually getting out just after 8am.

First stop was the Salt Pond visitor centre, which though closed we knew had some accessible trails we could walk. Of course the first bird was a Black-capped Chickadee:

Very friendly little birds, no doubt due to all the hand feeding! Also in the trees behind the visitor centre we saw (and heard) a Northern Cardinal, singing away, and a small group of Purple Finches:

Other birds seen form the trails included Greater Yellowlegs, American Black Duck, an inquisitive Tufted Titmouse:

American Goldfinch:

Chipping Sparrow, Common Grackle, Gray Catbird, Mourning Dove and a splendid Red-winged Blackbird, really going for it with singing and displaying:

and here in profile:

As we headed back to the visitor centre having walked around the four-odd miles of trails, we spotted our first warbler of what could also have been called 'Warbler Weekend', a stunning Yellow Warbler:

Fifteen patient minutes later (about our limit), one got really close (definitely worth a click for a closer look this one):

And finally for the Salt Pond visitor centre, a Carolina Wren. We thought it looked more like a Bewick's Wren but having checked with the Cape Cod Bird Club, they very helpfully confirmed the ID for us (along with another seven or so birds across the weekend - thank you all!). Old World Wrens sing from cover but not this fellow, sat on a post singing away, ignoring us completely. A great start to our Cape Cod trip.

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