In this Issue:
For more upcoming programs, visit our online program catalog where you can:
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- Join Science Coordinator Mark Faherty for a Butterflies and Dragonflies walk free to all volunteers on Wednesday, July 11 at 10 a.m. Meet at the plaza outside the exhibit hall.
- Congratulations to Joe Lawler for logging five thousand hours as a volunteer. He joins only two others to have reached this impressive milestone: Don Lewis and Bill Allan.
Stay cool on the trails this summer. Bring water with you and stay hydrated. Seek shade and take a break. And don't forget the sunscreen!
View From the Feeders
Mass Audubon's recent State of the Birds report notes a strong decline in breeding purple finches. So we were especially delighted when a pair was discovered atop a cedar on the backside of the Goose Pond trail.
Sanctuary News Briefs
Photography Exhibit in July
The top twenty-four winners of Mass Audubon’s 2011 photography
contest, Picture This: Your Great Outdoors,
will be on exhibit at the nature center through July 28. Among the winning
photos is one called Soaring Gull
taken here at the sanctuary by Josh Brooks of Barnstable, the winner of the under 18 category.
This year’s contest runs through September so there’s
still time to enter.
More Sea Turtles Released
The New England Aquarium released seventeen formerly hypothermic sea turtles
rescued by Wellfleet Bay volunteers and other good-hearted Cape Codders
last fall. The turtles, including two loggerheads and fifteen Kemp's ridleys,
were driven ten hours south and set free last month in the warmer waters off
Become a Member
Members get free admission to our 50+ wildlife sanctuaries across the state, as well as program and gift shop discounts and other great benefits. Join online or stop by the sanctuary and we'll be happy to sign you up!
Coaxing Blue Mussels in Chatham
Experiment Aims to Expand a Natural Resource
It started as an accident. In the process of restoring our oyster reef in Wellfleet Harbor, we discovered we'd also inadvertently grown a few wild blue mussels.
So now we're trying to grow some mussels on purpose–this time in Chatham, where shellfishermen have been concerned that overwintering eiders were cleaning out existing mussel beds in Pleasant Bay.
Research Asks Basic Questions
Wellfleet Bay researcher Katie Pierson says the experiment is simple: Can she catch and grow wild blue mussels and, if so, which is the best time and most effective mechanism for doing it.
Using two intertidal sites on Tern Island across from the Chatham fish pier, Katie and team have put three types of "mussel-catching" devices in place: a rope lined with plastic green seaweed and attached to a buoy; a clean line attached to a buoy; and onion bags filled with clamshells secured to the flats. Every week, she brings site samples back to a lab to check for the presence of microscopic mussels to determine the optimal time for catching them.
"On our weekly checks, we've been averaging between 26 and 46 mussels on our tiny 4 x 4 centimeter square samples," Katie says. "That's very encouraging." She says the team should know which catching method is the most successful by the end of summer.
Exploring Cape Cod's Elbow
More Birding and Family Cruises off Chatham
One of the few ways to escape the heat, the crowded beaches and highways in summer is to head for the breezes and ever-shifting sands of the islands and barrier beaches off Chatham.
This summer Wellfleet Bay offers boat excursions to North and South Monomoy Islands, South Beach, North Beach Island (created by a storm in 1987) and Mass Audubon's Tern Island.
"We're teaming up with Outermost Harbor Marine to offer regular excursions to Monomoy and South Beach, including new family programs on South Beach," says education director Amy Fleischer. The Beachcomber will provide shuttle service for birding programs on both Tern and North Beach Islands.
All of the islands and beaches teem with bird life. Both North Monomoy and South Monomoy have designated wilderness areas and are havens for a wide range of wildlife. "These are very special, beautiful places that feel remote but are all within short boat rides of Chatham," Amy notes. Some of the trips are geared to families; others to adult groups.
Our popular boat trips within Wellfleet Harbor and Nauset Marsh are also being offered, with both marine life and scenic excursions for families and adults.
Special Evenings in August
Meet a Falcon and Your Inner Fish
Get as close as you’ll probably ever come to seeing a live American kestrel and its larger cousin the merlin at the first of our summer Bayside Talks on August 1. Join Joey Mason for Kestrels and Cranberries.
Joey and a partner have erected and maintained more than sixty nest boxes for kestrels in the cranberry bogs of southeastern Massachusetts. She'll discuss the highs and lows of trying to conserve these handsome little falcons.
Your Inner Fish
On August 8, University of Chicago paleontologist, anatomy professor, and Wellfleet summer resident Neil Shubin will discuss his 2008 bestseller, Your Inner Fish, the fascinating story of Shubin’s discovery of the fossil remains of a crucial missing link—a fish that had the ability to raise itself out of the water.
Shubin shows how much form and function we share with these ancient organisms and—in his words—how the record of the past lies in every cell inside us.
Wild, Wild Wellfleet! 2012
Event Nears Sellout
We're thrilled to announce that almost all tickets to our premier fundraising event on July 19 have been sold.
This wild-inspired evening of food, spirit and music at the sanctuary would not be possible with the partnership of over thirty businesses that have supported this event.
"We want to express our deep appreciation to those unable to attend but who've made generous contributions," says Special Events/Donor Stewardship Coordinator Wendy O'Keefe.
If you hoped join us for this very special evening but haven't bought tickets, please email or call Wendy as soon as possible at 508-349-2615, ext. 120.
Also, a very special thank you to our Supporting Sponsor, Bird Watcher's General Store, for what is promising to be a fabulous evening.
Wildlife Garden at Work
Plants to Attract 'Nice' Bugs
Got Centhranthus ruber? Then your garden will likely draw lovely pollinators like this eastern tiger swallowtail lured in by this beautiful perennial, known commonly as Jupiter's Beard, Keys to Heaven or Red Valerian.
Volunteer naturalist and master gardener Barbara Murphy can be found working on Sundays between 8 and 10 a.m. She encourages everyone to stop by to enjoy the garden and to ask questions.
You can learn about the many butterflies, moths and dragonflies found on the Cape by joining Science Coordinator Mark Faherty for a Butterfly and Dragonfly Walk this month.