Spring Features Newsworthy Bird Activity at Wellfleet Bay

Spring is always exciting as colorful and charismatic birds move north for a new breeding season. But April 2022 has been especially birdy at the sanctuary, including visits by a couple of  unexpected species.

Birds Making News

First, a lovely male Indigo Bunting sporting his eye-popping blue breeding plumage was spotted for several days, somewhat improbably, on the mud flats of Goose Pond. This wasn’t the only Indigo Bunting reported on the Cape this month, but they are definitely a treat at this time of year.

Indigo Bunting at Goose Pond (Photo by Mark Faherty)

Soon after the first bunting sightings, an adult White Ibis, only the 5th record for Cape Cod, showed up in a Wellfleet Bay saltmarsh creek—another muddy backdrop! Any visitor to Florida can routinely spot these birds, often on the sides of roads in drainage ditches, but it was very cool to see this handsome southerner in a coastal Massachusetts setting.

White Ibis at Wellfleet Bay (Photo courtesy of James Materese).

Kinglets Everywhere

Mid-April has also been remarkable for all the kinglets along the Massachusetts coast, including the Outer Cape. These charming, tiny songbirds showed up in numerous areas along the bayside during the middle of the month, sometimes by the dozens. James Junda, who operates the sanctuary’s bird banding station, says for three days in a row the station recorded more Ruby and Golden-crowned Kinglets each day than are typically seen in an entire spring season! He says the larger than usual numbers may have been caused in part by bad weather in the mid-west pushing migrating flocks east to the Cape.

James Junda holds banded Golden-crowned Kinglet.

 “The good news—they’re all in very good shape, “ James says. “ They have good fat levels and there’s a good mix of ages.” He notes that kinglet numbers at the station were also unusually high last fall, which was also true for Hermit Thrushes and Northern Flickers, two other species that have been seen in large numbers recently. All four species, James says, are among those you’d expect to see moving through this month.

Birding Spring Migration

If you want to experience some of the excitement of spring migration, sign up for a sanctuary bird walk or watch a bird banding demonstration to see and learn about the birds that are passing through or that live here year-round.

2 thoughts on “Spring Features Newsworthy Bird Activity at Wellfleet Bay

  1. Brian Kelly

    We saw 2 white ibis together at Nauset marsh Thursday! Watched them from about 80 yards away as they probed mud for 15 minutes eating. Amazing


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