In this Issue:
August Bayside Talks:
For more upcoming programs, visit our online program catalog where you can:
- Search for programs by date and type
- Register Online (New!)
Contact us to receive a copy of the program brochure by email. Sign up for monthly email program alerts.
Become a fan of Wellfleet Bay on Facebook and stay in touch with the sanctuary. Click the programs tab for a listing of the programs for the month.
Queen Bee of the Garden
Wellfleet Bay's head gardener Barbara Murphy's
home garden is featured in the August edition of PrimeTime Cape Cod.
The publication is free and can be found at most libraries, council on
aging centers and local shops.
If your schedule quiets down in September, why not become a front desk greeter at the nature center? If interested, contact volunteer coordinator Diane Silverstein by email or phone: 508-349-2615, extension 101.
View From the Feeders
Visitors recently discovered the nest of sharp-shinned hawks on the sanctuary grounds. Science coordinator Mark Faherty says it's very rare to have a confirmed sharpie nest on the Cape, especially since these hawks are a Species of Special Concern in Massachusetts. Within a few days of capturing this photo, Mark discovered a breeding pair at Bound Brook Island, too.
Sanctuary News Briefs
Art Show: Wildlife in Watercolor
Artist Steve Hamlin exhibits watercolor works on nature with scenes from Cape Cod and other coastal locations.
Card table for camp check-in
- Water play toys
- Nature puzzles
- Straws & connectors/ building
- Measuring tapes
- Hand magnifiers
- Skulls (Animal...)
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.
For many, August is the heart of summer. But it also bears signs that summer is on the fly and the seasons are shifting.
Sunsets are little earlier, goldenrod is blooming, shorebirds and their fledglings have been moving south, and our terrapin monitors are transitioning from nest protection to hatchling detection, in time for the little guys to embed themselves along the salt marsh before winter. (Thanks to Ryan Schain for the traveling short-billed dowitcher image above.)
Countdown to Hatchlings
More Nests Protected This Year
diamondback terrapins kept our staff and volunteers busy in June and
July. A record number of nests were protected at the sanctuary—65
compared to 55 last year.
the conservation effort turns to watching for the first hatchlings.
Field coordinator Ron Kielb will also be keeping an eye on what could be
the biggest hatch-out of all: two re-located snapping turtle nests
across from the whale bones which, he says, could yield as many as 70
baby snappers! Read about the season's highlights so far on our citizen science blog Field Notes.
For those who want to join our turtle teams finding and caring for the newborns, we'll be offering a series of Turtle Prowls through the month.
Do Plovers Prefer Truro?
Birds Find Fresh Habitat and Use It
For the first time in more than ten years, our coastal waterbird team has no piping plover nests to monitor in either Eastham or Wellfleet. But on the plus side, the birds gained a new nesting site behind Truro's Ballston Beach thanks to a winter storm. The pair that seized upon it fledged two chicks. We also have nesting birds on four other Truro sites.
We have to give an "E" for effort to the two pairs of plovers at Brewster's Crosby Landing: They tried a total of 5 times to fledge young, but the predators—probably crows—were relentless.
Our coastal waterbird team leader, Tom Faughnan, has more to say on where the birds have located themselves this year on a July 25 post in Field Notes .
Outreach on the Beach
Coastal Waterbird Team Engages Public on Monitoring
It's not unusual to hear some grumbling from the public about the protections for nesting plovers and least terns on local beaches. For the past several years, Wellfleet Bay has been working to inform beach users about our conservation efforts and offering close-up views of the birds they otherwise probably wouldn't notice.
Several times each week, Wellfleet Bay's Keenan Yakola can be found on Truro's Corn Hill or Chatham's Tern Island with a spotting scope focused on birds and their young. He invites passersby to take a look. Keenan says most people are thrilled to see tiny chicks and often seem eager to know more about their life history.
Keenan thinks the effort is worthwhile. "If you figure every person I talk to may tell a friend or two about the experience and then those friends tell others about the birds or just about Mass Audubon, word may get around!"
Using and Teaching on the All Person's Trail
Young Volunteer Excited To Work Outdoors
year old Mary Beth Rush uses a wheelchair, but it hasn’t stopped her
from working as an exhibit hall docent who recently expanded her
teaching to the all-access portion of the Goose Pond Trail. Read More
Biologist/Photographer Shares His Passion
With the exception of the monarch and the wooly bear,
Lepidoptera larvae seem to get little recognition or respect. But biologist and
photographer Sam Jaffe is on a mission to open our eyes to the wonders of the caterpillar world.
Sam, who says he’s loved caterpillars since he himself was crawling around,
will bring his vast collection of live caterpillars and digital microscopes for
amazing close up looks at stunning, weird, and fantastically adapted creatures on
Saturday, August 31. On Sunday, September 1, Sam will lead a Caterpillar Crawl at
the sanctuary to demonstrate how caterpillars can be found all around us and how they can be identified even by the pattern of their leaf chewing. And don't forget to ask him about zombie caterpillars...
Wild, Wild Wellfleet!—Wow!
Annual Fundraiser Sets Record
It happened again: We got lucky with the weather, the event was sold
out, and we raised a lot of money to support the sanctuary's mission,
including children's education and conservation.
Thanks to our generous patrons, sponsors, benefactors, guests, and volunteers, this year's Wild, Wild Wellfleet! fundraising total exceeded $100 thousand!
A Day in the Life of Chatham Day Camp
Kids Get Close Look at Weir Fishing
Chatham day campers recently got the opportunity to observe the ancient practice of weir fishing at the Eldredge family's weir fishing grant in Stage Harbor. Counselor Annie Hooper filled us in on what came up in the nets:
"We saw an incredible bonito fish, named for its beauty
and often compared to skipjack tuna in taste, as well as mackerel, sea robin,
bluefish, squid, horseshoe crabs, spider crabs,and one of the biggest lady crabs
we had ever seen! One camper was struck by the 'masses of
spider crabs' that were taken out of the net. Our guide joked about sending the kids
home with spider crabs as pets!"
We had the best time and are so grateful to the Eldredge family for taking us out!
Find out more about day camp in Wellfleet and Chatham.