by Donna Cain, Innkeeper and owner
Cape Cod is known for it’s natural beauty and with that comes an unlimited amount of wildlife. While staying at our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast, the Captain Freeman Inn, we like to up your chances of encountering unique wildlife. So while you are exhaling on Cape Cod to relax your soul, we might also suggest that you take a “walk on the wild side” to see some of our unique wildlife and habitat. Listed below are some of our favorites:
Whale tales- Many of our guests staying at our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfasts enjoy a day of whale watching during their stay on Cape Cod. We usually recommend the Dolphin Fleet out of P’Town which has several 4 hour + excursions each day. Many of our guests tell us that seeing the whales up close was on their bucket list…..and most just rave about their experience. P’Town is such a unique town and is full of many other things to do after your whale watching such as biking on the bike path to Race Point beach, having lunch at the Lobster Pot which is a great place to have your old fashion “lobster eating experience”, climbing the Pilgrim Monument and shopping at the many unique shops on Commercial Street. The whale watching cruises get you very close to the whales and usually include sightings of Humpback and minke whales that frequent and feed the waters off of Cape Cod. Recent sighting of the rare Right Whale means you may even see a more unusual species. The trips are narrated by a naturalist who share the natural history of the area and teach guests about whale biology and their natural habitat.
Seals of approval- Everyone loves to see seals, and we recommend to our guests that they stop by the fish market in Chatham to see all of the seals that wait for the fishing vessels to return and the dinner that they receive when the fishermen throw into the waters their unused bait. Adorable grey and harbor seals are frequent visitors to Lower Cape beaches, where they swim, frolic and sunbathe. Blue Claw Boat Tours out of Orleans brings seal watchers to the shores of Pleasant Bay. The Monomoy Island ferry, based in Chatham, takes visitors to the Monomoy National Wildlife refuge, barrier islands off the Cape Cod elbow that are home to a sprawling colony. Recent news last summer included shark sightings since the seal habitat has become so large and makes for a nice meal to the sharks:(
Birds of a Feather- Midsummer is a perfect time to view migrating shorebirds including short-billed dowitchers, whimbreds, Hudson godwits- taking a break en route to South America. Diane Silverstein is a local expert and is a member of the Cape Cod Bird Club. Members provide free guided walks in bird friendly spots from Sandwich to P’Town. For self guided strolls look for barn swallows and Baltimore orioles at the Ashumet Holly Wildlife Sanctuary in East Falmouth, herons and terns in the National Seashore on the outer Cape, or ospreys at the Cape Cod Natural History Museum.
Not to be missed are the array of bird life that can be seen from the bird feeders in the front and rear of the Captain Freeman Inn. Guest have recently seen cardinals, finches, woodpeckers, robins of course, and chickadees.
Audubon- The Cape’s Audubon wildlife sanctuaries can be a great place to view egrets, herons and ospreys, but there is more to be seen at these properties. The Wellfleet Bay sanctuary offers walks, lectures, and kid’s day camps. At Long Pasture in Barnstable, visitors can wander the Butterfly Mosaic trail looking for unique butterflies, diamond back terrapin and pipping plovers, or maybe the threatened spadefoot toad.
On Martha’s Vineyard visit Felix Neck sanctuary to hike four miles of trails, watch resident barn owls or sample wild edibles. You can find scheduled for each at http://www.massaudubon.org
Walking trails full of nature including the trails in our Brewster Nickerson State Park, the unique White Cedar Swamp Trail at the National Seashore where you can enjoy an easy 1.5 mile walk on an elevated boardwalk with swampy trees and peat lined swamp full of unique bird life.