Birding the Grey Lady, Nantucket, Massachusetts

American Oystercatcher at Great Point, photo by S.M. Sternick

American Oystercatcher at Great Point, photo by S.M. Sternick

It’s my good fortune to have dear friends with a home on Nantucket, and we have just returned from another week with them on their beautiful island.  These friends are also birding and photography enthusiasts and have taught me much.  For those who don’t know, Nantucket, or the Grey Lady, is a 48 square mile island in the Atlantic, 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod.  Its “greyness” likely originates from the common morning fog or possibly the weathered shingles on almost all the buildings. The island’s rich maritime history is well known, but its birding is also phenomenal.  “A picture is worth a thousand words” so this post will be a small portfolio, sharing the sights from this late summer excursion and some earlier visits.

Brant Point

Brant Point (click on any picture for zoom)

Bobolink at Bartlett's Farm

Bobolink at Bartlett’s Farm

Nantucket Harbor

Nantucket Harbor

Peregrine Falcon at Great Point

Peregrine Falcon at Great Point

Double-crested Cormorant at Great Point

Double-crested Cormorant at Great Point

Madaket

Madaket

Common Tern

Common Tern

IMG_7233

Golden-crowned Kinglet at Hummock Pond

Great Point Light

Great Point Light

Common Tern with catch, Great Point

Common Tern with catch, Great Point

Foggy morning at Cisco Beach

Foggy morning at Cisco Beach

American Goldfinch at Bartlett's Farm

American Goldfinch at Bartlett’s Farm

Sankaty

Sankaty

Sanderlings

Sanderlings

Sunset over the moors, from Altar Rock

Sunset over the moors, from Altar Rock

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Grey Seal off Great Point

Grey Seal off Great Point

Approaching storm at Great Point

Approaching storm at Great Point

Red Breasted Nuthatch at Hummock Pond

Red Breasted Nuthatch at Hummock Pond

Fog rolling in at Siasconset

Fog rolling in at Siasconset

Herring Gull with lunch

Herring Gull with lunch

Madaket

Madaket

Northern Harrier, photo by Andy Sternick

Northern Harrier at Smith Point, photo by Andy Sternick

Madaket Harbor

Madaket Harbor

Author and Andy Sternick

Author and Andy Sternick

A visitor to Nantucket is immediately struck by the vast undulating moors in the central island with isolated ponds, leading to unspoiled marshes and beaches.  The town has its countless photo-ops, but I prefer to wander the remainder of the island, especially after Labor Day when the crowds have thinned.  Various conservation organizations have acquired and preserved close to half of the island’s land.  Birding with friends with local knowledge allows one to visit countless habitats, some down dirt and sandy roads, to view native birds as well as migrants, seeking respite on the island before moving further south.  My Nantucket life list grew to 90 this week with the additions of a Black Tern and Least Sandpiper.  Keep in mind that the Linda Loring Nature Foundation runs weekly birding trips and a Birding Festival, this year on October 16-18, 2015.  Its a great chance to bird with local guides with knowledge of this gem in the Atlantic. http://www.llnf.org

11 thoughts on “Birding the Grey Lady, Nantucket, Massachusetts

    1. That first Oyster-catcher shot has an interesting story. My non-birder friend was just holding her husband’s camera when those birds ran by the car. She took that picture out of the car window, barely knowing what button to push. I think its my favorite. Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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