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Short Trips for Target Species: Thick-billed Murre, Dovekie & Black-headed Gull, MA

Cape Cod in the winter offers a rare opportunity to study great flocks of alcids, loons, and gulls, as wells as sea ducks and other water birds. All three scoters, Black, Surf and White-winged, are common, and is Common Eider. King Eider is present some winters, and there are usually Harlequin Ducks somewhere. We will seawatch at Race Point, among other Cape Cod vantage points scanning for large flocks of razorbills and among them common and thick-billed murres, as well as possibly dovekie, which we will seek out using the most recent reports. We should be able to pick out an Iceland Gull from one of the many flocks of Herring Gulls, and Black-legged Kittiwakes will float by offshore. Great Black-backed Gull is also common here, and Glaucous is a regular winter visitor, and if we are lucky there will be at least one snowy owl somewhere on the Cape.

 We will also spend some time inland looking for Snow Bunting and Lapland Longspur, which are found annually in the area, and we should encounter at least a few flocks of American Tree Sparrows or Common Redpolls.

Secondary Targets: Black-legged Kittiwake, Razorbill, Iceland Gull, Black-headed Gull, Snowy Owl (if they are being seen), Barrow’s Goldeneye, Snow Bunting, Lapland Longspur, American Tree Sparrow, Glaucous Gull


  • Tour Cost
  • Number of Days (Length of Tour)

    4 days / 3 nights



    $1250.00 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Boston, MA.


    Single Supplement

    If a single room is preferred, or we are unable to get a roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $150 will be assessed.


    What is Included / Not Included

    Included in the cost are all accommodations, transportation, entrance fees and permits, from Boston, Massachusetts.


    Not included are air travel and associated fees to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS),  trip insurance, alcoholic beverages, bottled beverages, phone calls, laundry, or other items of a personal nature. You will be responsible for purchasing all lunches, dinners and some breakfasts. Most of our motels offer a free continental breakfast. We will eat our meals together as a group.



    $500.00, check, paypal or credit card, along with your completed Registration Form


    How to Book

    In order to hold your space, you must complete the Registration Form found on-line, and submit it to us on-line, or download a copy and mail it to us, along with a $500.00 deposit per participant.


    Final Payment

    Full payment, by check, is due 120 days prior to the departure date

  • Itinerary
  • Day 1: Massachusetts Coastal Plain

    Arrive in Boston around 12 noon and by 2pm and we will be on our way to the coast! We will stop to search for Snow Buntings, Lapland Longspurs and Common Redpolls on our way to Cape Cod. If we miss these species this afternoon we will have other chances later on! 


    Day 2: Race Point, Cape Cod

    Today we will drive to the tip of Cape Cod, near Race Point for some seawatching and scanning of sitting ducks alcids and gulls. Our targets here will be Thick-billed Murre, King Eider, Purple Sandpiper and Black-legged Kittiwake. We will then work our way back inland, making stops along the way in Wellfleet and Eastham looking for Black-headed, Glaucous and Iceland Gulls, Dovekie, Great Cormorant, Barrow’s Goldeneye, and more! We will keep an eye on the latest rarity news, as Yellow-billed Loon, Pacific Loon, Tufted Duck and others have shown up in February in recent years. 


    Day 3: Barnstable, Cape Cod

    We will use today to take another shot at any targets or rarities we missed yesterday on Cape Cod. We will spend more time today in search of landlords like Common Redpoll, Snow Bunting and Lapland Longspur. Depending on what we are most interested in seeing and what we have seen so far this may be our best shot at Snowy Owl, Barrow’s Goldeneye and others. 


    Day 4: Boston Area and Departures

    Today we will bird in the Boston area as time allows before our departing flights.

  • Accommodations
  • 3 nights accommodations in standard motels, all ensuite and comfortable. Wherever possible, we support establishments that implement eco-friendly practices.

  • Additional Info
  • Recommended Field Guide:

    Sibley Birds East

    (2nd Edition, 2016, Knopf)

    by David Allen Sibley

    Sibley Birds is also available as an App




    This trip is for non-smokers only. Smoking is not permitted at any time during our tour.


    Point of Departure (Getting There and Back)
    The tour begins and ends in Boston, Massachusetts. The airport code for Boston Logan International Airport is BOS. You will need to make your own arrangements to arrive on Day 1, and depart on Day 4.

    Note, the itinerary may change. Please do not book flights before checking upon the final arrival and departure times.


    Physical Requirements (Walking, Pace of the Tour)
    A reasonable degree of fitness is required.



    Climate / Weather

    Winter along the coast in New England. Brrrrr!!  Expect windy and cold conditions. Temperatures will likely be in the 20's-50's. 



    Group Size
    The group is limited to a maximum of 7 participants. 



    Final Information
    Final Information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.



    As with all tours, we highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to cover your investment. Please see our section on Travel Insurance



    Participants arriving from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.



    The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.