December 2018

Vol. 46, No. 6

Winter Birding on Cape Cod: Provincetown to the Orleans Rotary

Nate Marchessault

Cape Cod, the magnificent "arm" of Massachusetts that protrudes 65 miles into the Atlantic Ocean, provides some of the best opportunities for observing pelagic bird species from land on the East Coast if not the entire United States. Miles of sandy beaches coupled with the Cape's proximity to important feeding grounds such as Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary create a slam-dunk opportunity for observing seabirds. Seabirds are a major draw but not the only source of solid birding on the Outer Cape in winter. Wooded hollows and meandering streams attract winter-hardy passerines; kettle ponds attract ducks and gulls.

This article focuses on productive winter birding locations from the tip of Provincetown to the Orleans Rotary. It includes traditional birding hotspots and also discusses lesser-known locations for readers to incorporate into a day of birding on outer Cape Cod from December through March. Explore the area with an open mind and warm winter coat and you are sure to be rewarded. (See Figure 1. Overview of Outer Cape Cod. ).

Figure 1. Overview of Outer Cape Cod.

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