Provincetown & Race Point

42.06157 , -70.20649

United States Of America

Provincetown is famous for its seabirds since it is surrounded by rich oceanic foraging grounds and strong upwellings nearshore. It is highlighted by Race Point and the extensive coastal sand dune system, but also has numerous bogs with wild cranberries and scrub oak-pine forests. Most of the birding here is for the coastal seabirds, and it is not uncommon to have four shearwater species in the summer or four plus alcid species in the winter -- all from land. In spring and fall there can be migrant passerines in the thickets or even overhead along the dunes as they reorient and try to find more productive feeding areas. Most of the coastal area is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore and is protected natural dunes. The downtown area of Provincetown is a historic old fishing town with narrow streets and a mix of fishing, arts, and LGBTQ+ communities and is highly seasonal with many more people around in the warm summer months.

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The introductory text should contain general information about the site, which may include for instance:
• geographic/ biogeographic location
• habitat and vegetation
• typical bird species/bird communities
• protection status
• land use and history
• importance for birdwatching

Coordinates were set by Mathias Ritschard (Admin) : 42.0616/-70.2065 (2021-05-07 18:13:53 )

Site name was set by Mathias Ritschard (Admin) as "Provincetown & Race Point" (2021-05-07 18:13:53 )

Edited by Liam Waters on 2021-12-29 17:45:51
Provincetown is famous for its seabirds since it is one of the few non-island places nearly surrounded by ocean with rich oceanic foraging grounds and strong upwellings nearshore. It is highlighted by Race Point and the extensive coastal sand dune system, but also has numeous numerous bogs with wild cranberries and scrub oak-pine forests. Most of the birding here is for the coastal seabirds, and it is not uncommon to have four shearwater species in the summer or four plus alcid species in the winter -- all from land. In spring and fall there can be migrant passerines in the thickets or even overhead along the dunes as they reorient and try to find more productive feeding areas. Most of the coastal area is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore and is protected natural dunes. The downtown area of Provincetown is a historic old fishing town with narrow streets and a mix of fishing, arts, and LGBTQ+ communities and is highly seasonal with many more people around in the warm summer months.
Edited by Liam Waters on 2021-12-26 22:01:52
Provincetown is famous for its seabirds since it is one of the few non-island places nearly surrounded by ocean with rich foraging grounds and strong upwellings nearshore. It is highlighted by Race Point and the extensive coastal sand dune system, but also has numeous bogs with wild cranberries and scrub oak-pine forests. Most of the birding here is for the coastal seabirds, and it is not uncommon to have four shearwater species in the summer or four plus alcid species in the winter -- all from land. In spring and fall there can be migrant passerines in the thickets or even overhead along the dunes as they reorient and try to find more productive feeding areas.

List up to ca. 25 species that:
• have a limited distribution range and/or are rare on a global level
• are most sought-after by birdwatchers at this site
• and are relatively easy to see at this site (year-round or seasonally)

Dovekie (Alle alle)
Thick-billed Murre (Uria lomvia)
Razorbill (Alca torda)
Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea)
Great Shearwater (Ardenna gravis)
Sooty Shearwater (Ardenna grisea)
Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus)
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Thick-billed Murre (Uria lomvia) was added by Liam Waters (2021-12-31 17:26:05)

Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) was added by Liam Waters (2021-12-31 17:25:47)

Common Murre (Uria aalge) was deleted by Liam Waters (2021-12-26 22:04:38)

Common Murre (Uria aalge) was added by Liam Waters (2021-12-26 22:04:11)

Dovekie (Alle alle) was added by Liam Waters (2021-12-26 22:03:55)

Razorbill (Alca torda) was added by Liam Waters (2021-12-26 22:03:42)

Sooty Shearwater (Ardenna grisea) was added by Liam Waters (2021-12-26 22:03:28)

Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) was added by Liam Waters (2021-12-26 22:03:13)

Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) was added by Liam Waters (2021-12-26 22:02:57)

Great Shearwater (Ardenna gravis) was added by Liam Waters (2021-12-26 22:02:38)

There are birds to look at here all year long, but there is also a lot of turnover in the species composition within the year. For sea ducks and alcids the best time is late November through early March and winter gulls like Iceland, Glaucous, and Lesser Black-backed will linger into early May. There are usually a few Snowy Owls that spend the winter from December to April along the beaches though they can remain hidden in the extensive dunes. Summer residents include Least, Common, and Roseate Terns, and Piping Plovers, and are joined by shearwaters May through November and storm-petrels from June through September. The best times for migrant landbirds are May, and September to October.

Race Point access: For access, walk the beach from the Race Point Beach parking lot (see map for details) west to the Tip (just under 2 miles one way). An alternate route is to walk out the Hatches Harbor fire Rd (see map) and cut through a dune trail to the Point itself, but this floods from ~1 hour before high tide to ~2-3ish hours after high tide and is not well marked. The best birding for shearwaters and alcids is often at the tip of Race Point, though the Cove area and anywhere along the beach can also be good (see map for waypoints).

Race Point timing: There doesn't seem to be a strong influence from the wind or tide, but a rising tide and a north or east wind tend to be a bit better on average. The gulls seem to prefer a mid to low tide to roost on the beach (the lower the better for the birds at the Tip, often less important at the Cove). The bigger influence is timing, the most activity is (typically) a NE flight out of Cape Cod bay at dawn. There is often a westbound flight a bit later in the mid morning, but the dawn flight is almost always better.

Beech Forest: A nice ~one mile loop walk around a pond and can hold migrant warblers in spring and fall. Wide trail easy to follow, there are side trails that go farther into the woods but the best birding is just along the pond.

Give recommendations for making your visit as productive as possible.
This may include for instance:
• best season
• best time of the day
• how much time to spend at the site
• best means of locomotion within the site
• recommended routes / areas within the site
• guiding

Edited by Liam Waters on 2021-12-31 17:21
There are birds to look at here all year long, but there is also a lot of turnover in the species composition within the year. For sea ducks and alcids the best time is late November through early March and winter gulls like Iceland, Glaucous, and Lesser Black-backed will linger into early May. There are usually a few Snowy Owls that spend the winter from December to April along the beaches though they can remain hidden in the extensive dunes. Summer residents include Least, Common, and Roseate Terns, and Piping Plovers, and are joined by shearwaters May through November and storm-petrels from June through September. The best times for migrant landbirds are May, and September to October. Race Point access: For access, walk the beach from the Race Point Beach parking lot (see map for details) west to the Tip (just under 2 miles one way). An alternate route is to walk out the Hatches Harbor fire Rd (see map) and cut through a dune trail to the Point itself, but this floods from ~1 hour before high tide to ~2-3ish hours after high tide and is not well marked. The best birding for shearwaters and alcids is often at the tip of Race Point, though the Cove area and anywhere along the beach can also be good (see map for waypoints). Race Point timing: There doesn't seem to be a strong influence from the wind or tide, but a rising tide and a north or east wind tend to be a bit better on average. The gulls seem to prefer a mid to low tide to roost on the beach (the lower the better for the birds at the Tip, often less important at the Cove). The bigger influence is timing, the most activity is (typically) a NE flight out of Cape Cod bay at dawn. There is often a westbound flight a bit later in the mid morning, but the dawn flight is almost always better.better. Beech Forest: A nice ~one mile loop walk around a pond and can hold migrant warblers in spring and fall. Wide trail easy to follow, there are side trails that go farther into the woods but the best birding is just along the pond.
Edited by Liam Waters on 2021-12-31 16:51
There are birds to look at here all year long, but there is also a lot of turnover in the species composition within the year. For sea ducks and alcids the best time is late November through early March and winter gulls like Iceland, Glaucous, and Lesser Black-backed will linger into early May. There are usually a few Snowy Owls that spend the winter from December to April along the beaches though they can remain hidden in the extensive dunes. Summer residents include Least, Common, and Roseate Terns, and Piping Plovers, and are joined by shearwaters May through November and storm-petrels from June through September. The best times for migrant landbirds are May, and September to October. Race Point access: For access, walk the beach from the Race Point Beach parking lot (see map for details) west to the Tip (just under 2 miles one way). An alternate route is to walk out the Hatches Harbor fire Rd (see map) and cut through a dune trail to the Point itself, but this floods from ~1 hour before high tide to ~2-3ish hours after high tide and is not well marked. The best birding for shearwaters and alcids is often at the tip of Race Point, though the Cove area and anywhere along the beach can also be good (see map for waypoints). Race Point timing: There doesn't seem to be a strong influence from the wind or tide, but a rising tide and a north or east wind tend to be a bit better on average. The gulls seem to prefer a mid to low tide to roost on the beach (the lower the better for the birds at the Tip, often less important at the Cove). The bigger influence is timing, the most activity is (typically) a NE flight out of Cape Cod bay at dawn. There is often a westbound flight a bit later in the mid morning, but the dawn flight is almost always better.
Edited by Liam Waters on 2021-12-31 16:51
There are birds to look at here all year long, but there is also a lot of turnover in the species composition within the year. For sea ducks and alcids the best time is late November through early March and winter gulls like Iceland, Glaucous, and Lesser Black-backed will linger into early May. There are usually a few Snowy Owls that spend the winter from December to April along the beaches though they can remain hidden in the extensive dunes. Summer residents include Least, Common, and Roseate Terns, and Piping Plovers, and are joined by shearwaters May through November and storm-petrels from June through September. The best times for migrant landbirds are May, and September to October.October. Race Point timing: There doesn't seem to be a strong influence from the wind or tide, but a rising tide and a north or east wind tend to be a bit better on average. The gulls seem to prefer a mid to low tide to roost on the beach (the lower the better for the birds at the Tip, often less important at the Cove). The bigger influence is timing, the most activity is (typically) a NE flight out of Cape Cod bay at dawn. There is often a westbound flight a bit later in the mid morning, but the dawn flight is almost always better.
Edited by Liam Waters on 2021-12-31 16:31
There are birds to look at here all year long, but there is also a lot of turnover in the species composition within the year. For sea ducks and alcids the best time is late November through early March and winter gulls like Iceland, Glaucous, and Lesser Black-backed will linger into early May. There are usually a few Snowy Owls that spend the winter from December to April along the beaches though they can remain hidden in the extensive dunes. Summer residents include Least, Common, and Roseate Terns, and Piping Plovers, and are joined by shearwaters May through November and storm-petrels from June through September. The best times for migrant landbirds are May, and September to October.

The best way to access the area is by personal vehicle. You can also take a passenger ferry from Boston or Plymouth and then a taxi to the birding places.

Explain from where and how to get to this site with private and public transport.

Edited by Liam Waters on 2021-12-31 17:00
The best way to access the area is by personal vehicle. You can also take a passenger ferry from Boston or Plymouth and then a taxi to the birding places.

See map pins for other site access information. Nothing too complicated or restricted in the area.

MacMillan Pier: Paid parking lot at the foot of the pier, but if you are visiting in the winter and won’t be staying long, you can drive out onto the pier and temporarily park out there.

Provide information on how to enter this site, which may include:
• entry points
• entry permits / entry tickets and fees
• opening hours / opening season
• other restrictions

Note that this section should only contain information on how to ACCESS (= enter) a site. Info on how to REACH a site should be added to "How to get there" section.

Edited by Liam Waters on 2021-12-31 17:15
See map pins for other site access information. Nothing too complicated or restricted in the area.area. MacMillan Pier: Paid parking lot at the foot of the pier, but if you are visiting in the winter and won’t be staying long, you can drive out onto the pier and temporarily park out there.
Edited by Liam Waters on 2021-12-31 17:11
See map pins for site access information. Nothing too complicated or restricted in the area.

Amazing cetacean viewing in the area both from land and from whale watching. Great spot to view the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale from January to May. Many miles of great bike trail through the rolling hills of the Provincelands. Mostly pitch pine forest, but also bogs and small ponds. Can be good for migrant landbirds and is underbirded in migration. Plenty of sport fishing opportunities and a tourist friendly downtown area. Lots of historic sites.

Add information about other attractions at this site, including
• wildlife (apart from birds)
• sights (natural, cultural, archaeological, etc.)
• activities (e.g. for non-birding companions)

Edited by Liam Waters on 2021-12-31 17:25
Amazing cetacean viewing in the area both from land and from whale watching. Great spot to view the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale from January to May. Many miles of great bike trail through the rolling hills of the Provincelands. Mostly pitch pine forest, but also bogs and small ponds. Can be good for migrant landbirds and is underbirded in migration. Plenty of sport fishing opportunities and a tourist friendly downtown area. Lots of history.historic sites.
Edited by Liam Waters on 2021-12-31 17:09
Amazing cetacean viewing in the area both from land and from whale watching. Great spot to view the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale from January to May. Plenty of sport fishing opportunities and a tourist friendly downtown area. Lots of history.

Better than average facilities in the area with public restrooms in the National Seashore and gas/food/accomodations in town. A couple of seasonal campgrounds and lots of hotels/rental properties.

Provide information about what type of facilities are available at
or near this site, including:
• information centers / information points
• catering
• accommodation
• hides and watchtowers
• restrooms / toilets

Edited by Liam Waters on 2021-12-31 17:05
Better than average facilities in the area with public restrooms in the National Seashore and food/accomodations gas/food/accomodations in town.town. A couple of seasonal campgrounds and lots of hotels/rental properties.
Edited by Liam Waters on 2021-12-26 22:07
Better than average facilities in the area with public restrooms in the National Seashore and food/accomodations in town.

A fairly safe area, low crime and nice people. Watch out for increasing great white sharks in the area if you go swimming, and lots of poison ivy in the dunes and along trails.

Are there any security issues or other annoyances at this site? For
instance, these may include:
• offenses like robbery or theft
• natural hazards
• dangerous or annoying animals or plants (mosquitoes, leaches, thorn bushes, etc.)
• noise pollution

Edited by Liam Waters on 2021-12-31 17:03
A fairly safe area, low crime and nice people. Watch out for increasing great white sharks in the area if you go swimming, and lots of poison ivy in the dunes and along trails.
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Orniverse: Provincetown & Race Point - United States of America