Wild Cape Cod Notebook: Monomoy NWR
Hard to believe that the dog days of August have come and gone here on Cape Cod and we are welcoming that wonderful time of year known around here as "Septober - Sixty-one Days of Heaven". As many of you who follow this blog are aware our summer has been dominated by the support we are providing to the Massachusetts Shark Research Program led by Dr. Greg Skomal and John Chisholm of the Department of Marine Fisheries here. That said we did manage a visit into the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge recently to check up on the south - bound shorebirds that frequent our outer beaches at this time of year. Our target area was the southern end of the South Island of Monomoy, an area known to locals as "Powder Hole" a favorite spot especially for birders in New England during the fall.
South Monomoy looking north. Powder Hole is the area of ponds in the center.Shark Cove is visible in upper right.
Grey seals congregate around this estuary running out the Powder Hole.
A rare sighting of a Marbled Godwit passing through on its way south.
Dunlin in non-breeding plumage
Bank swallow feeding over saltwater pan
Possible raccoon tracks
Monomoy Lighthouse, now restored by USFWS but not in service for navigation.
And for those of you who are following the white shark research activity when the weather permits us to get a plane in the air and work close to shore the action is strong. We see on average 5 - 7 different white sharks on every trip. Here is a special image taken by Wayne David our spotter pilot. Notice a grey seal on the surf line and a white shark in the lower left part of the frame. This shark was eventually photographed, cataloged and tagged on this day enabling researchers to follow its movement habits into the future for up to five years. A recent article describing the work of Greg Skomal and our team is here.
A very rare look at a white shark at the surface
Below is the fourth in a series of Field Reports of the White Shark research going on this summer in Cape Cod waters. We are proud to be supporting this work funded by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.