Have you ever really experienced a Cape Cod winter?
Have you felt the calm of a quiet snowfall? Have you walked the trails on a vigorous winter hike? Have you watched the sunset on a cold winter’s night?
These are all things you MUST see and experience at least once in your lifetime.
Winter is, in fact, the perfect time to visit Cape Cod. It’s quiet allure attracts families, adventurists, – and, yes, even bird-watchers.
Cape Cod Bird Watching
Like many people, a certain number of bird species travel “south” for the winter. But a few species, which live in the far north during the summer months, chose Cape Cod as their “southern” destination in the winter. These types of species include Great Cormorant, Glaucous Gull, Iceland Gull, Black Legged Kittiwake, several Alcidae species, sea ducks such as Scoter, Eiders, Mergansers, Oldsquaw and Bufflehead. Some of these species arrive as early as mid October and hang around until May.
Perhaps the best place to see winter birds in action on Cape Cod is Provincetown. Bring your binoculars and walk along the waterfront and out to the end of Macmillan Pier. You may be rewarded by some really close-up looks at these winter rarities. The Great Comorant can be distinguished from the Double Crested Cormorant by its slightly larger size and white under its chin. Look for gulls with all white wing tips. If you find one, it is most likely either an Iceland Gull or a Glaucous Gull. Scan the harbor and breakwater for Alcidae and ducks. Also do not overlook the birds sitting on fishing boats tied up to the wharf.
If the weather permits, another must place to look is Race Point. In October and November one can regularly see pelagic birds and whales as well as the winter residents under discussion. The best weather condition is a light easterly wind. Bundle up for the cold and hike out to Race Point from the parking lot (about 1.5 miles). There, the deep water is only two hundred yards off shore providing bird-watchers with opportunities to see close up jeagers, murres, Razorbills, loons and the winter ducks.
Cape Cod Winter Vacations
If you want some rest and relaxation in a quiet, peaceful setting then come to Cape Cod during the winter months. There are comfy rooms and cozy fires waiting for you at many of the Cape Cod resorts – and who knows what you might see when you venture outside. Winter birds are certainly a rare sight to see – so don’t forget to forget to bring your camera to capture the moment – and the vacation!