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  • John J King II

Wild Cape Cod Notebook: Autumn

The beauty of this time of year on Cape Cod is exemplified by the diversity of observations that one can have in a short period of time given migration and weather patterns of the season. The following sightings all occurred within the past week in the mid Cape region and waters. The red tailed hawk below was astounding in its concentration as it lifted off from its perch and kept focus while generating lift in the most beautiful way.

The shorebird southerly migration is slowing down but still plenty of dunlins coming through along with a complement of red knots, black bellied plovers and some other south bound stragglers. The beautiful greater yellowlegs pictured here was extraordinarily comfortable with the presence of the camera in great afternoon light. We continue to watch for the presence of peregrine falcons which are beginning to pass through the barrier beaches hunting along the way. No sightings yet but hoping....

Finally on a remarkable sunny fall day we worked with Dr. Greg Skomal and the Cape Cod Shark hunters on the final tagging trip of the 2013 season. With the help of Wayne Davis in a plane we observed four different Atlantic white sharks. One shark was conservatively estimated at 16 feet long and an estimated 3500 lbs. A truly massive female that was tagged and named Luci and will now be followed with hopes that she will help researchers decode the mysteries of where these amazing predators go when they are not in Cape Cod waters. Kudos to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy for all the hard work that went into raising awareness and funds for our magnificent apex predator seasonal visitor. Note: These are images of three different white sharks sighted in a single day. The 4th was spotted by the pilot but we were not able to follow it from the tagging boat.

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