Date: 5/13/18 8:20 am
From: John Nelson <jnelson...>
Subject: [MASSBIRD] Cape Ann Birdathon highlights, whale bonanza, a story
As usual, I birded alone as part of the Cape Ann team, led by Chris Leahy,
a small team that doesn't compete for a grand total and covers only the
four towns of Cape Ann (Gloucester, Rockport, Essex, Manchester).
Recovering from an ankle surgery, I wore an orthopedic boot, with cane, to
check my customary spots in West Gloucester and Essex, and then yesterday
afternoon I went on the Seven Seas Whale Watch out of Gloucester. My
personal highlights (F=Friday, S=Saturday), mostly birds hard to find
around Cape Ann this time of year:

1 Green-winged Teal (S: viewed in pool at high tide from end of Island
Road, Essex)
1 Red-throated Loon (F: Essex Bay)
1 Great Cormorant (S: Ten Pound Island, Gloucester Harbor)
7 Turkey Vultures (F: all over Little River, Gloucester)
1 Northern Harrier (S: Island Road)
60 Black-bellied Plover (S: marsh past end of Island Road)
1 Sanderling (F: Coffin's Beach, Gloucester)
2 Red-necked Phalaropes (S: whale watch)
1 Black-legged Kittiwake (S: whale watch)
1 Black Guillemot (S: just outside Dog Bar Breakwater, Gloucester)
1 Barred Owl (F: Tompson St. Reservation, West Gloucester)
2 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers (S: Manchester-Essex woods)
1 Brown Thrasher (F: Wingaersheek Road, Gloucester)
1 Blackburnian Warbler (S: woods at end of Walker St., West Gloucester)
1 Palm Warbler (S: late migrant, boardwalk at Manchester-Essex woods)
2 Eastern Meadowlarks (F: Cogswell's Grant, Essex)
1 Orchard Oriole (F: Cogswell's Grant)

Birds were neither numerous nor diverse on the whale watch, but the whale
show was spectacular with multiples of Finback, Humpback, Minke, Right, and
Say whales as well as Atlantic White-sided Dolphins all concentrated in one
area and close to the boat. One group of seven Humpbacks repeatedly rose
out of bubbles and opened their jaws wide to feed on sand lance.

This Birdathon's unlikely encounter: I was birding with boot and cane on
Fernald St. in West Gloucester, where Broad-winged Hawks used to breed,
when I was approached by a woman walking her dog:
The woman asked: "Does your mother know what you're doing?"
I answered: "I don't know. Maybe." I'm rarely asked this question these
days. My mother has been dead for 35 years and would be 117 if still alive.
The woman asked: "What do you think the future holds?"
This question was too general for my taste and seemed conversationally
unpromising. I answered: "I hope that the immediate future holds a
Broad-winged Hawk."
The woman offered me a copy of *The Watchtower* and asked, "If I leave this
with you, will you promise to read it?"
I was tempted to respond: "If the hawk comes, I will convert." Instead I
said "no thank you" and wished her a nice walk with her dog. No

John Nelson

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