Cape Cod III & Plum Island

The last installment of my Cape Cod birding photos is from Dowses Beach in Osterville, where my dad and I wandered around for quite awhile on Saturday morning.

We followed this Lincoln's Sparrow (aka a Song Sparrow.. Those eastern ones confuse the heck out of me) around for a bit:

I was psyched to see a flock of about twenty Ruddy Turnstones, having only seen one once before...

There were a bunch of Common Eiders way out on the water but one female was rather close to the shore...

On Friday morning my brother and I went to the Parker River NWR on Plum Island to do some exploring.  Last year we visited the area in December and most of the road was closed and we had to walk through about a foot of snow.  This time it was like 65 degrees.

We scared up some Mute Swans right away:

The ponds along the road were filled with American Black Ducks, pintails, and Gadwalls.

While walking on the beach about a dozen Snow Buntings flew over our heads and disappeared.  I was psyched we were able to find one later on near the road.

Definitely one of the cutest birds ever.

Also along the road we came across some turkeys.  They didn't seem too concerned with us, maybe because Thanksgiving was over...

Definitely NOT one of the cutest birds ever...

There were a bunch of American Tree Sparrows in the nearby shrubs...

At the end of the road is Sandy Point, where there had been some recent Snowy Owl sightings.  There were some Black Scoters out on the water:

And hell yeah, we found a Snowy Owl too!

We walked by it, giving as much room as possible without standing in the ocean (it was high tide), and taking tons and tons of photos...

After awhile we walked up the beach to see if we could find the second one that had been reported but no luck.  On our return trip the bird was gone.  Then we noticed a group of people and realized the owl had flown to some driftwood right by a viewing platform.

We made our way back to the road so we could get over to the platform also.  We got even more great views of the bird from there...

Mind=blown.  Awesome awesome trip!  Picked up five new birds total, and saw many I rarely get to see... Good times!!  Now I can't stop thinking about the SEVEN Snowy Owls being seen at Damon Point in Ocean Shores.... Hmm...


  1. WOW! Right there at the shore's edge too. I've always assumed I'd have to traverse up into the Yukon to see a Snowy Owl.
    Great photos too, including the sparrows and turnstones.

  2. Hi Jen, it looks like you had a great birding day. The Snowy owl shots are terrific and I love the Snow Bunting too. I love all the birds and your photos.

  3. You sicken me with that owl. SICKEN me. Sigh. Great shots...what an approachable bird. The creature in your first shot is a Song Sparrow.

  4. HOLY SMOKES do I ever have Bird come OUT east and SEE it all--- go girl!!!!
    I tromped thru Central Park one snowy cold day after a Report of a snowy owl..BUT all I got was cold n wet.
    Excellent photos of favs the snow bunt and the SNOW OWL of course...Glad you had such a productive trip.

  5. I second Seagull Steve. I am green with envy. I want so badly to see one and I think this is the year. Keep us posted if you hear of one locally- or e-mail me....I so want to see one (she says with a big whine).

  6. @Steve- thanks, east coast Song Sparrows always look freakish to me.

    @Michele- I will let you know! The closest one I have heard of so far (besides the dead one at PDX) is at Nisqually NWR. I hope they show up at Fort Stevens or somewhere else closer!

  7. Fabulous posts, all three of them, Jen! Beautiful photos! Love the Ruddy Turnstones, and your Snow Owl pix are brilliant,breathtaking!

  8. awesome photos Jen. Snowy is perfect. I haven't been up to Plum Island for awhile. I've been spending my time on the Cape. Alcids galore this weekend. Yahoo!

  9. awesome photos Jen. Snowy is perfect. I haven't been up to Plum Island for awhile. I've been spending my time on the Cape. Alcids galore this weekend. Yahoo!

  10. What a great birding story and birding experience! You got way better photos than I did. If we had not seen the one at Salisbury beach we were heading to Plum Island next. Perhaps we will go there next weekend. I am excited after seeing this! I have yet to get a snow bunting on my Mass life list!

    BTW, your sparrow at the top is a song sparrow and not a Lincoln's. they are two different species and while they may be confusing at first, once you see a Lincoln's you will realize how different they are. the Lincoln's is much tinier with fine dark streaks on a buffy belly with buffy eye rings and buffy mustache. Song sparrows are so chunky in comparison. They have such a wide variety of plumages, however, with some having a buffy breast with dark streaks and a buffy mustache that it is easy to be fooled. I had one fool me again this past summer, so you just never know.

  11. @Kathie- Thanks for visiting my blog! Good luck with the buntings at Plum Island- we were very lucky to have the one so approachable.

    And thanks for pointing out the sparrow differences- I have actually seen Lincoln's Sparrows on many occasions before, but for some reason when I see east coast Song Sparrows they throw me for a loop! Our western ones are much "dirtier" looking so when I see a bright-looking bird like that one, I get confused!

  12. Killin' me. Absolutely killin' me with that Snowy.

    Congrats :-)


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