Four local naturalists share their favorite places to savor the arrival of spring.
Spring comes slowly to Cape Cod. Still, we know our surroundings are changing, waking up, and bursting with new life and activity. Coastal springs are perhaps defined by the annual arrivals, hatchings, comings, and goings of nature: Open water ducks such as Eiders and Buffleheads disappear, the ospreys return to high nests, and the Nantucket Shadbush bursts with tiny white flowers as one of the first blooms of the season. These patterned dances have become part of our local lore and history: Residents and visitors alike have been standing on the edges of our riverbanks for centuries, marveling at the herring as they run.
The Cape and Islands have some of the country’s best conservation areas; national, state, and local parks; and innumerable trails and beaches—a veritable outdoor buffet for those of us who are ready to get out and stretch our legs after being cooped up all winter. We have a vibrant network of nonprofit groups, conservation trusts, nature preserves, and sanctuaries, whose staffs and volunteers work diligently not only to protect, restore, and expand the lands in their care, but also to share these spaces with the public. The best way to appreciate our world is to experience it. To celebrate the season, we have asked local naturalists to share some of their favorite spring walks—places to explore the traditional sights, sounds, and creatures of springtime on Cape Cod.