This is another beautiful Cape Cod secret for nature lovers, the Beech Forest out on the road to Race Point is especially beautiful in Spring. Check out some of the beautiful scenery and bird life we had on recent visits. Many migrating passerines get blown into the Cape landscapes on their way north in strong southerly winds (mostly at night) to summer mating areas in the Canadian forests. Due to blocking weather patterns the birds were a bit late in arriving this year. And since summer approaches it is especially special to enjoy Cape Cod’s quiet and often hidden landscapes and wildlife before we once again head back out on the water and the barrier beaches. It will late in the fall before we will again explore inland to any great extent.
As we have noted, and all Cape Codders know, Spring comes late to our little sand spit in the Atlantic. Looking for spring signs of returning migrants has been one of our most enjoyable pastimes the past couple of years as we patiently wait for the water to warm so we can get back out on the sea. We have ventured into some of the more remote parts of the Cape and recently discovered a treasure in our midst, Barnstable’s Sandy Neck and its adjoining Barnstable Marsh. To fully appreciate this Cape Cod wild wonderland one should commit to hiking out the entire neck…. a round trip commitment of 13 miles! Though quite a walk which also must be timed to account for tidal pools that obstruct the trails at higher tides, the experience is worth it and spectacularly beautiful – by far the “piece de resistance” of Cape Cod trekking.
A Lecture at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History: Suitable for ages 11 and up
Thursday, May 23 2013 07:00 PM – 08:00 PM $5/M $7/NM
Explorer, photographer, author and Chatham conservationist, John King will share insights into his personal voyage of re-discovery of the coastal and ocean wildlife that spend time each year in the waters off Cape Cod.
If you are curious about the “back story” behind this photograph be sure and come on May 23rd!
A chance conversation with Brad Pease, master craftsman an co-owner of Pease Boat Works in Chatham, gave me a heads up that they planned to haul the beautiful schooner Tyrone on the spring high tide. As she is quite large for their yard and a full moon, clear sky was promised we scrambled to witness the event. And it was the perfect way to usher in the beginning of my 62nd year on the planet. The evening was cool and with the wind calm everything went according to plan.
If you are interested I found the following on her web site…”Tyrone was designed by S. Sturgis Crocker and built by Simms Brothers, Dorchester, Ma. in 1939, to be an offshore passage maker. She is very ruggedly built, with 1 and 5/8-inch Honduras mahogany screwed to 2 and ½ – inch double sawn oak frames, on 16 inch centers. Garboards are two inches thick. All bronze fastened, her decks are constructed of teak. She carries outside lead ballast. Power is a Cummins 210B diesel. Gross tonnage is 48 tons. Tyrone is 75 feet over all, 60 feet on the deck and 50 feet at the water line. Beam is 15 feet, depth 8’6”, and carries 1805 feet of sail. The schooner has made several trips to Ireland, has sailed to Hawaii, and cruised in Alaska. In 1994, she was awarded “Most Beautiful Boat” at Antigua Race Week.”
And by the way – Pease Boatworks is an absolute Cape Cod treasure. Brad and Mike Pease and their crew are doing the traditional work of building and caring for magnificent wooden boats the way it has been done by master craftsmen for generations. They keep a sacred tradition very much alive in Chatham that is sadly fading from modern memory. We salute them!
Putting a plug in for joining us for our presentation in Chatham at the Community Center this Saturday, April 20th, at 2:00PM. The event is sponsored by the fine people at Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Sanctuary. The lecture will be appropriate for all ages (11 and up) so if you know of young people (and their teachers) who might like to get charged up about Cape Cod wildlife please pass the word. And a note for those who have heard John speak before – we will be presenting some exciting new images and stories behind our recent adventures.
See the link below for more details or call Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Sanctuary – 508-349-2615
Some recent images from excursions into the wild here on the Cape, Definitely signs that Spring is in process. But it is still cold here.
We are happy to back home on Cape Cod and over the past week have started to get back out in the field to see how the slow warming trends of spring here are signaling the changes and new wild visitors. Here are a few images we captured.
Winter Storm Nemo, the product of two merging winter systems, converged on Cape Cod late afternoon on Friday, February 8th as the sun was setting. Barometer fell and the wind accelerated with temperatures still warmish in the high 30’s F. Sleet and rain fell in the mix as the wind continued to build to a raging gale shaking the house fiercely. Top gust in the wee hours was 84 MPH!
By 1200 midnight the temperature began to plummet and reached the low 20s instantly freezing everything and producing fluffy snow to add to the mayhem. The storm moved rapidly eastward but was large enough to affect the Outer Cape until well into Saturday evening. We stayed close to home but did manage to get out for a bit on Saturday afternoon to observe the “white-out” conditions in the still howling storm force winds and drifting snow.
Of course we worried about the birds and tried to keep them fed when we saw their precious forms getting blown about near our feeders.
As an intense winter storm bears down on New England we are wondering how our wildlife will fare during the festivities. Hearty they are but still we wonder.
As we have reported on this blog many times, Cape Cod is an important migration stop for many species. In winter the outer Cape in particular is a destination for many waterfowl species which come to feed in our cold waters before they return to the Arctic to breed in the North American summer . As a result we are blessed to have thousands of water birds grace our bays and estuaries until spring. It is pleasure to get out and observe them as well as our resident land birds as they all go about the business of finding food, dodging predators and generally biding their time until spring.
In preparation for the storm we have re-stocked our feeders and will be looking for opportunities to observe and record the experiences as the storm rages here over the next 48 hours.