Friday, May 15, 2009

Cape Cod - third day

Sunday promised to be the best day of the weekend, cooler than Friday but with mostly clear blue skies, so we set off extra early, leaving the hotel at 6:00 and starting out on the Beech Forest Trail at around 6:40am. I am pleased to announce that I managed to avoid getting stopped for speeding for the whole trip too!

Most of the warblers we'd seen yesterday had also decided to make use of the weather and head-on, so the walk was much quieter. The first new bird was this Orchard Oriole:

Apart from that we saw a number of Baltimore Orioles and the odd 'Butter Butt' and another Pine Warbler:

However it was quiet enough to prompt us to move on. On the basis we needed to end up in the hotel in Boston having dropped the car back at Logan Airport we decided on a meandering route taking in a few other reserves we'd not visited. First up the Audubon reserve at Moose Hills. It was Mothering Sunday in the US and on arrival the staff suggested we take a path leading us into one half of the reserve as we'd only hear the kids if we went the other way! The reserve was actually very quiet, surprisingly so and we surmised that the group we'd avoided was the second group of the day. We saw just three species of bird on the first four miles of trail though we did get the chance for a decent view of an Ovenbird:

When they see a human they hide behind the trunk of a tree, did it every time :) Very endearing. You wander on round and there they are. A later sighting gave me the opportunity to capture the head markings too:

We walked around six miles of trails in all and did see Tree Sparrow, Baltimore Oriole and various Sparrows, and on the last path back to the visitors centre, a Hermit Thrush:

Moose Hill was very quiet and though a very pleasant spot for a walk, the noisy groups of mothers and children had cleared a lot of the reserve. The places we'd planned on visiting subsequently were more urban and therefore likely to have had the same experience so we changed plans and headed for our, thus far, favourite spot, Ipswich River Audubon. It turns out our idea wasn't unique but thankfully it was busy mostly with walkers and birders, apparently there was a Prothonotary Warbler on the reserve, though we didn't see it.

Eastern Bluebirds have suffered a significant decline in breeding success, which is being combatted through the provision of nest boxes, for which they compete with the Tree Sparrows. The arrangement is working though:

We headed down to the Canoe Launch where said warbler had been spotted. From a clearing we watched a Broad-winged Hawk soar above:

As is true with almost any location in the USA or elsewhere, the further out from the visitor centre or car park the less people you encounter. We headed for the remotest areas of the reserve, assisted by some paths closed to protect nesting birds. One area was obviously Beaver territory:

In fact we spotted three new lodges that had been built since we last visited in Autumn 2008. One has been constructed part on a walkway over a swamp area :) The constant damming of the rivers and water flows has led to new areas of the reserve being dry and new areas flooded, fascinating to see that develop over time.

A bird that sounded very similar but none-the-less different to an Oriole sang overhead; we followed it for a bit as it bounced around the tree tops, sufficient for this snap of a Rose-breasted Grosbeak:

The commonest Sparrow on the reserve is the Song Sparrow. The Sparrow was the last bird of the trip as we needed to head back to the car and follow the build-up of traffic back into Boston ready for Helen's early morning flight home.

Cape Cod was wonderful, and we will absolutely be going back there, to both take up the kind offer of some birding with members of the Cape Cod Bird Club and to continue to explore. It looks like an Autumn trip would be good for migrant Shorebirds and possibly a trip to Monomoy Islands too...

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