As winter comes to an end, there are relentless signs of spring here in Woods Hole, in fact Woods Hole spring is made famous by the writings of environmentalist Rachel Carson whose research for her world-changing treatise “Silent Spring” started right here. For me, the signs of spring Woods Hole are everywhere, so I will list my top ten (Letterman style) saving the best signs of spring on Cape Cod for last.
The water remains cooler than the air for some time, and this causes these intense clouds of fog to roll past even on a bright sunny day. It’s really fun to sit on the beach and just watch, but remember a sweatshirt because when you are enveloped by a cloud it gets chilly quickly.
Spring is the time for house repairs and the village rings with the sound of hammers, scrapers and the comforting blast of commercial radio loud enough for everyone on the crew (and the neighborhood) to enjoy “Paint it Black” and other classics.
I have heard that these huge hawks gave Buzzards Bay it’s name back when Gosnold passed through, and they return each spring to make their sprawling nests. If you want to watch them up as they spawn, I recommend the WHOI OspreyCam for a Cape Cod dose of wildlife viewing. And thanks to Woods Hole’s own Rachel Carson- without her work which raised the alarm about the over-use of DDT in our environment back in the 1960’s, we might not have osprey around anymore.
7. Bright Colored Rowboats
As the snow recedes, the bright colored bottoms of the stored row boats and kayaks pop with color off the newly green grass. In April, the Woods Hole historical museum hosts a model boat show — you can see one of the model boats racing across Eel Pond in the background here.
6. Rolling Bags
More than a million people take the ferry from here to Martha’s Vineyard each summer, and about this time the streets start to become full of people walking with their rolling bags, their distinctive lopsided gate followed by a gravelly roar of rubber.
5. Coffee Roasting
At Pie in the Sky Bakery, our neighbor here in Woods Hole, the busy coffee season is marked with extra roasting. A lovely smell of fresh coffee drifts over the village when the wind blows the right way, and with a deep sniff you feel energized and alive.
4. Clear Water
The colder water of spring is especially clear, so photos from the beach make the waters look downright Caribe-like, and debris from the winter becomes uncovered (thank goodness for “Clean Up Eel Pond Day” as this rubber tire is long gone).
The daffodils burst improbably out of the brown leaf litter lining the road sides like toy soldiers. Each year as I drive around admiring them, I think about the person that dug them into these woodsy locations and how they disappear for most of the year, only to emerge in spring with their sunny surprise.
2. Landfall Cocktails
The Landfall re-opens in mid-April, and this is the time to get in for that perfect fresh-squeezed cocktail on the dock looking out over the Woods Hole passage with the ferries coming and going.
1. Lobster Tacos at Quicks Hole
The ultimate sign that spring is in full swing is when Quicks Hole re-opens their famous Taqueria and I enjoy my first lobster taco of the season. So glad winter is over, so happy summer is almost here.
Did you know that Falmouth — with all it’s open space, forests, beaches, marshland and cranberry bogs — is known as one of the best places for Atlantic coastline birding?
Yes, you will find the Merlin, the Sanderling, the Cooper’s Hawk and the Warbler all hiding in the rushes here in Falmouth in various seasons. And if you love spotting the dramatic Osprey, the huge hawk that likely gave “Buzzards Bay” its’ name, you will find them nesting in summer here, and delight in watching their enormous wing span, wild twig-ridden nests, and incredible fishing prowess. Osprey migrate from here to the Amazon in winter, but return to this area for nesting and hatching their young.
Craig Gibson is a Falmouth resident and passionate bird photographer. Up at dawn with his long lenses and a sea kayak, Craig hunts the bird life deep in the marshes, and on the small barrier islands and sand dunes where they nest and breed. His collection of photos “A Year of Falmouth Birds” will take your breath away. Copies are available for sale in local book shops, and benefit the 300 Committee Land Trust, our local conservation group. You can also see his great action shots weekly in our local newspaper, the Falmouth Enterprise.
Of course birders will be familiar with the Great Blue Heron, or the Snowy Egret, but for first time visitors to our area, these extraordinary birds will impress and awe you. Come to Woods Hole to learn more!