Long distance migratory birds – headed to the Southern Hemisphere – highlighted a recent Manomet trip last week to an important bird habitat on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.


A group of Manomet members and staff visited Cape Cod’s South Beach and the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge to observe around thirty different species of shorebirds, a wide variety that included some rare sightings.


Led by shorebird Conservation Specialist Brad Winn, the group traveled by boat on Wednesday morning to South Beach and observed a diverse range of shorebirds, including Ruddy Turnstones, American Oystercatchers and Piping Plovers.


“A huge number and variety of shorebird populations can be seen at South Beach,” said Manomet’s Martha Sheldon, who took part in the trip. “That’s one of the things that makes it such a birding hotspot.”  


The highlight of the trip, however, was the long distance migrant Hudsonian Godwits and White-rumped Sandpipers. Both species stop on outer Cape Cod to rest and refuel on their migration from the Arctic to South America.


The area is a migratory stopover site for a number of species. The group was able to observe several Red Knots, displaying their distinctive salmon coloring and resting before they continued their migration.


“South Beach area is the only reliable place to see the Hudsonian Godwit, this is a premier birding destination in the eastern United States,” Winn said. “South Beach at Chatham and the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge offer shorebirds feeding and resting habitat critical for their survival … this undisturbed sand habitat is increasingly rare for the US Atlantic Coast because we continue to channelize inlets and build rock jetties to control free flowing sands.  We are very lucky to have such a special place in eastern Massachusetts.”


Trips like these to see scientists at work are just one benefit of a Manomet membership. Click here to find out more about the benefits of Manomet membership and the difference you can make by supporting our scientists.


– Emma Riedel