I went down to the Cape on Thursday to visit my mama, and Gladie was due to join me for a right whale search on Saturday morning. Gladie arrived right on time at 9am and we set out from Harwich for Cape Cod Bay. Our first stop was in Orleans, but we took a side-trip to Nauset Beach, due to the front page article in the Cape Cod Times
that a Snowy Owl had been spotted there. We didn't find it after a brief walk offroad. We decided we would better spend our time focusing on what we had planned.
|Right Whales have been seen in Cape Cod Bay for the past several weeks. We had heard reports of them being seen as far south as Eastham. So we headed across Orleans to Rock Harbor, to get a view of the bay from its south end. In the parking lot, there was a Wishing Bell. Gladie donated some cash and made a wish and a very loud clang. I wonder if that drove the whales north?|
Our drive took us north through Eastham to First Encounter Beach, where we looked through binnies to see what we could see. Nothing again, so we headed a little further north to Campground Beach. Again, winter ducks, Brandts and Song Sparrows, but no right whales. We made a final stop before lunch at the Wellfleet Bay Audubon Sanctuary
|Here we saw lots of birds but no whales. It was somewhat unlikely, since the sanctuary is surrounded by very shallow water and marshland, but we had a nice walk out to Try Island. On the Bay View Walk, there was a dead Risso's Dolphin, which made us sad. We saw another one later in P'town.|
|We also saw a very cute Red Squirrel in the Butterfly Garden!|
Well, it was way past 1pm, so we drove to Wellfleet Harbor and the Bookstore Restaurant, which I felt pretty sure was a spot we could get oysters!
|We were so hungry by this time that we were overjoyed to see oysters on the sign outside. Oysters for an appetizer, oysters for an entree. Yay!|
After lunch, we drove straight up Route 6a to P'town. It's such a beautiful drive, through the narrowing forearm and wrist of the Cape. You can see across the dunes that face the Atlantic on your right, and the bay beyond the cottages on your left. I always love this wild section of the Lower Cape.
We parked at the start of the jetty that crosses from the base of the wrist, to Wood End, which is the base of the fingers curved down.
Here is a google satellite pic. The jetty is the long thin line running from top to bottom.View Larger Map
|Gladie was impressed with the reflection of the mother of pearl inside the shells that lay just under the surface. It was hard to capture what it looked like, but I like this picture.|
|We pressed on across the jetty, which I guess is over a mile. I'd like to find out. It took us a good hour to get close to the dunes on the other side. Folk told us that yes, the whales were just beyond the dunes, and you didn't need binocs to see them. They were frolicking in the water nearby. We were so excited and hastened our pace.|
|We got to the sand dunes, while the clouds grew more threatening. Several folk heading out, turned back in the face of the threat of rain. Gladie and I made it to the far shore, and hunkered down in the comfort of the dune grass. We watched and stared and trained our binocs in every direction. We saw what we believe was a flipper, or perhaps several different flippers, but no breaching whales. We are calling it a doubtful sighting. With the end of day closing in on us, and rain beginning, we set back out over the jetty.|
|Looking ahead we could see the P'town monument, with a sea of birds settling in for the evening. There were hundreds of Red-breasted Mergansers, a fair number of Eiders and more Brandt.|
|All the Eiders seemed to be traveling in pairs.|
|Gladie worked hard at trying to capture the paired off ducks in the dying light.|
|When we got back to the end of the jetty near the road, we came across a Great Cormorant, perched on the side of the rocks. Poor thing looked like it had an injured foot, although not recently. The bird stayed put, even though we got within a couple of feet of it. It tucked its head down, as if to say, please stop staring at me. So we did.|
|On the way back, we bought some nice wine and some cod, and had a lovely dinner at Grandma Lamb's!|