Birding Watching On Monomoy
Shorebirds & Seabirds
American Oyster Catcher. Ruddy Turnstone. Sanderling.
Least and Semi-Palmated Sandpiper. Black-Bellied & Semi-Palmated Plover.
Dowitcher. Red Knot. Dunlin. Whimbrel. Baird's Buff-Breasted & Western Sandpiper.
Long-Billed Dowitcher. American Golden-Plover.
Adult & Juvenile Black Ducks. Blue & Green Winged Teal. Mallards. Gadwell.
Norther Shovelers. Teal. Northern Pintail. American Widgeon. Eider. Oldsquaw. Scoter.
Fallouts of Songbirds. Northern Harriers. Great Horned Owls.
Peregrine Falcons. MerlinsSharp Shinned Hawks. Bald Eagles.
The Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge provides habitat for hundreds of species of resting, feeding and migrating birds. The refuge is so important to migratory shorebirds that in 1999 North and South Monomoy were designated a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) regional site. WHSRN comprises organizations that promote and support the conservation of shorebirds. The designation brings needed attention to the refuge’s critical role.
The shorebirds’ migration route originates in the Arctic and eastern Canada and heads south, taking them along an “outer coast” flyway that covers the whole outer Cape from Provincetown to Monomoy and west to Brewster and Harwich. It is one of three routes that bring migrating shorebirds, sea ducks and loons across Cape Cod in autumn, and leads large numbers of other shorebirds and seabirds, including thousands of common terns, to Monomoy.
Beginning in late July, shorebirds spotted on Monomoy include turnstones, sanderlings, least and semi-palmated sandpipers, black-bellied and semi-palmated plovers, dowitchers, red knots, dunlin, American oystercatchers and whimbrels. Some uncommon shorebirds seen in late summer, frequently around Labor Day, include Baird’s, buff-breasted and western sandpipers, long-billed dowitchers, and American golden-plovers.
A barrier island with freshwater ponds, Monomoy is one of the most diverse waterfowl areas in Massachusetts. Both adult and juvenile black ducks, blue- and greenwinged teal, mallards, gadwall, and northern shovelers are evident on and around Monomoy by late August and early September. A steady influx of teal, northern pintail, gadwall, and American widgeon occurs through September. October and early November are the peak for eider, oldsquaw, and scoter.In the fall, often more than a thousand waterfowl are hosted on Monomoy.
Weather and winds play an important role in determining the numbers of songbird migrants on Monomoy in the fall. Due to a phenomenon known as “wind drift,” tail winds from the northwest that cause immature birds to veer from their preferred route over land, “fallouts of songbirds” can be seen, particularly on South Monomoy. Birds of prey, including northern harriers, great horned owls, peregrine falcons, merlins, sharpshinned hawks and bald eagles may be seen throughout the fall migration.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge