NEW ENGLAND 2016
Birdfinders returned to the New England states in 2016 with an extremely successful tour. Weather conditions ranged from balmy to cold and we even had a couple of inches of snow on one day. But this only served to reflect in the rich variety of birds that we would encounter during the tour. We did it all against the backdrop of beautiful autumn foliage for which is New England is justly famed and the entire tour was full of atmosphere.
Highlights were many and included some massive seabird flights off Outer Cape Cod as each day thousands of birds passed close to shore including Northern Gannets, Cory’s, Great and Manx Shearwaters and a huge variety of sea ducks, gulls and terns. The Outer Cape also gave us some great views of whales including Humpback and Minke Whales relatively close to shore. In keeping with previous New England tours, the trip would not have been complete without a good sprinkling of rarities, not least of which was a Grey Kingbird from the Caribbean – only the 5th ever to be found in Massachusetts. There was also a Western Kingbird in Rye, New Hampshire and we did very well on gulls with Black-headed, Little and Kumlien’s Iceland Gulls being especially noteworthy for those with a keen interest the ABA area. A few species were notably difficult to find and we had to work hard to find Winter Wren, and when we did it just happened to be in an unusual spot at Pilgrim Heights on the Outer Cape. Equally difficult were the boreal species and our traditional day in Northern Vermont was marred by poor weather but that didn’t interfere with the appearance of over a dozen Grey Jays, the most we’ve ever recorded on this particular tour.
I’m very grateful to Robert Carr, Peter Lansdown, and Peter and Margaret Ward for helping to make this tour so pleasant to lead. Please enjoy the photo gallery from this year’s tour. Next year’s tour to New England will take place from October 22nd–November 1st, 2017.
James P. Smith