Thursday, August 20, 2009

South Beach-Chatham, MA

Pictures taken today from the Forbush Bird Club trip to South Beach in Chatham that I attended with Alan. As you can see from the picture above the weather was perfect with not a cloud in the sky and temperatures at least 5 degrees lower than they were in Central Massachusetts which was an added bonus.

We had to take a boat ride to get onto South Beach which is shown above. There were green flies everywhere on the boat who knew a good meal when they saw it and they took total advantage of the fact that many of us didn't put on bug spray until we got onto South Beach.

Well enough with the small talk, now onto the good stuff for all of you "landlocked" birders. ;o)

One of the first birds we saw was the Hudsonian Godwit shown above. The picture does not do this bird justice, but I was at the mercy of the sun here and there is virtually no shade on this entire island so you learn to adapt, and move onto better locations. Life bird for me.
Another picture I took in the beginning of the trip. Anyhow, check out the band on this Herring Gull. I am used to seeing the orange bands on the gulls from Wachusett and Quabbin but never the black bands so I am going to have to check this out to see if I can figure out there it originated from.

And now onto my favorite bird of the day which is the Whimbrel. You just had to laugh watching this bird run around the beach trying to get a little further from us as we were too close for comfort. Seriously, shorebirds remind me of Kramer from Seinfeld sometimes because they never stand still. It makes for tough picture taking, but always so worth it in the end.

Him and his gal-pal I am assuming.
And a digiscoped closeup of a Hudsonian Godwit found right after the Whimbrel's. It is overexposed but I wanted to post this picture as it does a really good job showing the fabulous pinky/orange on its bill.
White-rumped Sandpiper picture that came out much better than the ones I got at Bolton this past week.

Next it was onto scoping out mixed flocks of birds in hopes for a rarity. Eddie was hoping for a Western Sandpiper somewhere along the line, but unfortunately that was never in our cards.

In this flock you will see many of the regulars but look real close and you can see a few Red Knots which is a lifer for me. Unfortunately, I could not get a decent photo of this bird for the life of me which was very frustrating as they are very nice looking birds and one of the two birds I just had to see on this trip.

Of course, what would any shore post of mine be without a couple of gull pics here an there. Here is an adult Herring Gull checking out the scene.

There were about 6 seals we saw today including the one above.

More gull shots but this time I practiced self-control and only took a couple!

Double-crested Cormorants acting as beach goers. So funny to see them on the shoreline checking out the waves. All they would need is some sunblock and a bocce ball set and they would be good to go for the day!

A new birding pal met along the way whose name is Ian. Ian is a young birder who has a clear enthusiasm as well as an impressive knowledge base of birds. I love meeting young birders and can only imagine how much he is going to know by the time he is in his mid-twenties.

Meet the only tree on the entire island! HA! Seriously, the poor swallows of various types (tree, barn, bank) had to resort to this for perching. Very funny to look at.

A Sanderling prancing about on what looks like glass due to the reflection of the sun.

And the other bird I just had to see on this trip which was the American Oystercatcher (lifer). Such a striking bird as you can see in the photo above. Love the orange eye and bill.

Hanging out with the gulls. Interesting to see this bird compared to the gulls as it will give you a good indication on its size compared to the Laughing Gull to the left of it.

And of course, I would be remiss if I didn't include just one more photo!

Adorable picture of a Short-billed Dowicher with a Semipalmated Sandpiper. I love it when you can get photos like this when you have two different species of birds together.

And now onto some serious birding! Spotted just above the horizon were a flock of various terns that one experienced birder estimated to be at 500 at one time. Out came the scopes see if one could find the rarity and these birders always seem to find them if there is one.

Small sample of what you are dealing with here. Picture this plus about another 450 or so. Many of these birders have years of shorebird experience behind their belts so what seems like the impossible soon turns into the indeed possible as they seem to find that one tern that differs from the rest of them. Finally they were able to spot a Black Tern amongst the flock. I have pictures somewhere on my camera, but took litterally dozens of tern pictures and am stretched thin for time here so will post a picture of it when I find it. Very impressive birding indeed!

Check it out all. A birder from from Eddie's trip last year that appears to have missed the boat!! HA! Kidding of course............We spotted this before we were subjected to walking in knee length tall grass and swampy water to get to the other side. There was much contemplating on what this could be and many thought it was perhaps a fox once.

And another flock picture just because.

Soon it was time for us to leave and start the 2 mile walk to the boat to head back home.

With Eddie leading the way of course!

Lastly an Osprey nest taken on the way home. Check out the blue tape like stuff on the bottom of its nest. HA, you just gotta love birds, if not for anything else, than just their ingenuity and creativity!!!

Take care all!


matthew houskeeper said...

Chatham is such a beautiful spot.
I sailed out there last summer and really enjoyed it. Seals were swimming all around the boat. I didn't go out to Monomoy, but I did walk a great deal along the beach that extends south of the lighthouse. Wonderful place!

A New England Life said...

Except for the greenheads what a great trip! Seals, swallows, an American Oyster and plenty more. I'll tell you Kim, you certainly live in the right area to have fallen so in love with birding!


Chris said...

Wow, This seems to be a place to visit for birders! Gosh so many species that I've never heard of before! by the amount of pictures we can see that you enjoyed the trip very well and your birding list is probably increasing minutes by minute!! Well done Kim.

MaineBirder said...

Awesome post Kim, and great photos too!

You visited one of my most fav birding spots on Cape Cod.

Chris Petrak said...

gosh - everyone seems to be getting godwits this year - except me - maybe this weekend

The Early Birder said...

Hi Kim. Just caught up with your recent exploits. Great to see you are enjoying coastal birding and still racking up the lifers. FAB.

Susan W. said...

I was the there for the first time on August 19, the day before you. Our family fled the accursed place after an hour of screeching and slapping at swarms of bloodthirsty greenhead flies! Even so, we saw so many marvelous birds (though not nearly as many as you) that we vowed to return very soon. Great post!

Jocelyn Maher said...

Hi Kim,

My name is Jocelyn and I am with Dwellable. I am looking for fun and authentic blogs about Chatham and yours happened to catch my eye. If you’re open to it, shoot me an e-mail at jocelyn(at)dwellable(dot)com.

Hope to hear from you soon!
- Jocelyn


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