Day Two – Exploring the Cod
I started my morning by heading to the farthest point of Cape Cod in a town called Provincetown. There had been talk of Northern Gannets near Race Point and I was dieing to find this bird since it would have been a life for me. I was very pleased to locate some fellow bird banders already there but we all found ourselves scratching our heads. In theory; everything would have been perfect for locating the Gannets except for the fact that the fog had rolled in. We hiked out to the waters edge (was low tide) but still had a hard time identifying the Red-breasted Mergansers that were only a few hundred feet away. Looking hard, we found something very unusual floating in the water. I pulled out the spotting scope and realized that it had whiskers. I was in awww because I had just seen my very first Harbor Seal out in the wild. He was soo cute and very cooperative, unlike the fog.
I finally gave up on Race Point and headed over to Herring Cove Beach were the fog was still “there” but I could see “some” birds along the beach edge. Mostly Gulls and a few more Mergansers could be identified. I was very pleased to locate another Harbor Seal (maybe two?) but as quickly as I found them in the spotting scope the seal would disappear again. I only had sooo much time to bird until our council meeting started in the afternoon. I finally had to give up on the Gannets and move on to some other beaches.
My next stop was at Nauset Area at the Coast Guard Beach. This beach had a bunch of people walking dogs, surfing, and jogging. Then there was this Nature Nerd (me) with his spotting scope, telephoto lens, ect.. trying to check out the birds. I was very pleased that the fog had disappeared and ecstatic since there were a few rafts of ducks out there. The locals probably would have said, “that’s a …. and that is a …..” but I was having some problems because the sun was creating a silhouette of the birds. I was able to locate some of the birds like, Long-tailed Duck and Mergansers. I had really spent longer studying the silhouettes and then I noticed a few birds that had moved. The better lighting helped determine that some of the silhouetted birds were one of the Scoter species. Hmm, two possible lifers here, looking hard for the field marks…. Sure enough there were a few “White-winged Scoters” out in the water!! LIFER BIRD – this deserves a huge CHECK!! I only wish that I had been more experienced with these species because I believe there were some other species that I couldn’t identify. Although, council meeting was starting soon and I had to start heading back to my room for lunch.
Just before council, I had tried turning on my laptop and ran into a problem. Something happened from the hotel to the meeting room where my screen would work and only show “WHITE” on the screen!! I could hear the computer loading properly but I couldn’t use a computer without a monitor!! I tried restarting it, different features, ect… Ok, I tried everything and the computer was just useless!! (So, if you wondered why I disappeared from the web, this is why! I am now working off the laptop with my desktop screen, which works!! Grrr – I don’t even want type about it anymore!!) … Anyways, we had a wonderful meeting and decided to go birding for a few hours before dinner.
I joined a fellow bander (Bill) with his family to the beach edge behind the hotel. We had such a wonderful time identifying the numerous species that were out there with our spotting scopes. This included Loons, Brant, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead, ect.. Then another couple showed up and we all introduced ourselves. Turns out that they were fellow Saw-whet Owl banders and was fun talking about what everyone had caught. Next thing I know Alex calls out “Eider are out there”!! I am like “WHAT??” I looked through his amazing spotting scope and sure enough, LIFER BIRD – Common Eider CHECK!! O wait, it gets better! Few minutes later Alex calls “Gannet is flying around”! I am like “WHAT??”!! After numerous tries, I finally located the bird in flight. Few seconds later the bird tucked its wings in and did a spectacular plunger dive into the water. I can see the image in my head over and over again. Almost forgot, LIFER BIRD – Northern Gannet – CHECK!!
We laughed, joked around and finally made it back for our evening dinner. I had a wonderful dinner with many wonderful fellow banders. It was fantastic sharing many of our banding stories and experiences together. After dinner we had a superb presentation by one of the world authorities on Common Terns. Although my computer died, I still had such a perfect day.
Will try to get caught up with other days when I can, sorry I am behind!
Totally awesome! Congrats on the great birding day! Three lifers! Cooooooool!
Sorry about the computer problems. Rotten luck!
26 March 2007 at 12:04 am
Just when you thought nothing would happen, BAM! Congratulations, Tom!
Sorry about the computer problem – I had a similar disaster over the weekend, too.
26 March 2007 at 8:11 am
Computer problems are the worst but it seems as if the trip panned out wonderfully…such great finds 🙂
26 March 2007 at 8:22 am
Congrats, congrats on your lifers Tom! What a fabulous day- I can relate with computer deaths, mine is STILL dead!
26 March 2007 at 9:22 am
Any surf at Nauset? One of the more regular spots on the Cape….
26 March 2007 at 4:33 pm
Nice work on the lifers Tom – great area to go birding too.
26 March 2007 at 4:34 pm
@ Liz, no worries, I am getting it to work! Thanks!
@ Mary – bam is the way I like it, sorry to hear about your computer problems also! Ugg!
@ Angela Thanks and yes the computer problems wasn’t good.
@ Marg – thanks and it was fabulous! Still dead?? Just tell it to start working!
@ Matthew – thanks and it was a great area! Thanks!
26 March 2007 at 8:51 pm
Awesome bird haul for the day! All 3 of those would be lifers for me too. Congrats, and hope your computer is rescuable – laptop screens are pretty fragile. I’ve had a dead one in my closet for years ;-P
26 March 2007 at 9:28 pm
Adam – it was great seeing them! Thanks! I am currently using the laptop but just attached the desktop screen to it! Works but sounds like I need to start saving for a new computer instead of a new lens!
26 March 2007 at 10:02 pm
Gannets are great birds, but I think it’s all about luck with them. Glad you found them!
26 March 2007 at 10:04 pm
Laura – thanks and loved seeing it! Only wish it wasn’t a zillion miles away out in the bay! I was also glad to have seen them.
27 March 2007 at 12:15 am
Wow!!! Congrats on more LIFERS!! That rocks!
30 March 2007 at 6:01 am
Did you ever get your laptop screen to work again?
I’m watching a show on discovery right now called Survivorman. A guy goes into some rough terrain and has to survive off the land. So far tonight I’ve watched him survive a desert, a place in Canada and he just now got dropped off in the Rockies by a helicoptor, no tent, no sleeping bag, no food. He eats bugs and makes shelters and fires without an axe. Its a very interesting show.
30 March 2007 at 10:04 pm