Thursday, September 3, 2009

H.B.C. South Beach Trip

Hampshire Bird Club- Field Trip to South Beach.

The Hampshire Bird club’s final twenty fifth anniversary event was a field trip to perhaps the best shorebird staging area in New England- South Beach at the elbow of Cape Cod. Although the club runs trips to South Beach each summer, this year was a two part program conducted by Wayne Petersen. Wayne is director of Massachusetts Audubon Society’s IBA (Important Bird Areas) Program, tour leader and instructor. Without question Wayne’s passion is shorebirds, and it doesn’t take long to get caught up in his enthusiasm.

As I mentioned, this was a two part program….The first program was an Wednesday evening lecture and slide show at the Hitchcock Center in Amherst. We had an excellent turn out of close to 45 people for the 3 hour presentation. On Saturday (Aug 15th) 22 of us made our way to Chatham and Outermost Harbor Marina for an 8:30 departure. Once all of us had been drop off at the end of South Beach, Wayne gave a nice introduction on the history of South Beach and near by Monomoy N.W.R.

The weather this day was simply outstanding, which none of us took lightly, considering the wet summer us New Englanders have had to put up with. For the next seven and a half hours we slowly worked our way around the beach covering up to six miles, stopping and scanning the large flocks of Terns, Gulls and of course….Shorebirds. As it turned out, this would not be one of the more memorable trips in terms of shorebird diversity or numbers, but what was memorable for club members was the information on shorebird identification and biology Wayne brought forth throughout the day.

We ended the trip with fifteen species of shorebirds, (nothing fancy) hundreds of Laughing Gulls, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, five species of Terns…Roseate, Common, Forster’s, Least and Black and a nice close fly-by of a Cory’s Shearwater. Hey, even if the shorebirds weren’t quite up to par, the great weather and friends made for a memorable finish to the year long twenty fifth celebration of the Hampshire Bird club.


Club Members staging at Outermost Harbor.
Snowy Egret- South Beach

Black-bellied Plover (Adult)
Semipalmated Plover (Adult)
Short-billed Dowitcher (Adult)
Ruddy Turnstone
Hampshire Bird Club members taking in the finer points of Tern identification from Wayne.
Common Terns- South Beach
Common Tern
Sanderlings at rest.
White-rumped Sandpiper-Adult
Least Sandpiper- Juv.

Semipalmated Sandpiper- Adult.

Surf Scoter "Stomp"

American Oystercatcher- This bird was banded #59

Cory's Shearwater-flew along the shore and put on a great show.