Some Cape Cod Birds

Sanderling at Corporation Beach, MA, 19 Oct 2019 (photo by Bob Kroeger)

This month’s trip to Cape Cod provided me with a brief change of scene and a brief change of birds. On October 18 and 19, local photographer Bob Kroeger showed me many of his favorite birding spots. Here are some of the birds we saw, with thanks to Bob for the photos.

Sanderlings (Calidris alba) never come to Pittsburgh but they spend the winter at Cape Cod. It was fun to see them poking the sand with their beaks and bathing at the water’s edge at Corporation Beach.

Sanderlings bathing at Corporation Beach, MA, 19 Oct 2019 (photo by Bob Kroeger)

Ruddy turnstones (Arenaria interpres) are an extremely rare bird in Pittsburgh that also winters at Cape Cod. They aren’t ruddy in the fall, but their legs are still orange.

Ruddy turnstone (photo by Bob Kroeger)

Great blue herons (Ardea herodias) were plentiful in the marshes. They’re huge in flight!

Great blue heron in flight (photo by Bob Kroeger)

We found one or two blackpoll warblers (Setophaga striata) at nearly every place we stopped. This one at Long Pasture still has hints of black on his face and the telltale yellow feet. They are on their way to Brazil.

Blackpoll warbler (photo by Bob Kroeger)

We found a flock of 25 palm warblers (Setophaga palmarum) at Cape Cod Organic Farm, all of them the duller western birds. In mild winters palm warblers stay on the Cape.

Palm warbler (photo by Bob Kroeger)

Most plentiful by far were the “myrtle” yellow-rumped warblers (Setophaga coronata) who’ve come to stay for the season. The winter birds look dull but in Bob’s closeup below you can see his feather details.

A close look at a yellow-rumped warbler (photo by Bob Kroeger)

Best only-at-the-sea birds: At Wellfleet Bay on the 21st I saw distant flocks of 200 brant (Branta bernicla) and 60 common eider (Somateria mollissima).

Best mammal : A coyote crossing the road near Monomoy.

Craziest bird: A wild turkey running non-stop around a parked car in Harwich, like this. I’m waiting for the day I see this in Pittsburgh. 😉

(photos by Bob Kroeger. See more photos on his Facebook page)

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