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Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge

The venerable Ludlow Griscom, dean of New England bird-watching, used to drive down the long sandy beaches of Monomoy Point and routinely make fantastic ornithological discoveries. A series of winter storms turned Monomoy Point into North and South Monomoy Islands by 1978, and Mr. Griscom and his beach wagon are no longer with us, but the abundant bird life remains.

North Monomoy is famous for its shorebirds. Godwit Bar on the island’s west side has hosted all four of the world’s species of godwits, as well as great numbers of other sandpipers, curlews, plovers, oystercatchers, yellowlegs, and dowitchers. South Monomoy, the larger island, has coastal shrublands, magnificent dunes, and freshwater ponds. Although getting to Monomoy requires a bit of planning, a trip to this 2,750-acre refuge is a splendid natural history adventure. Remember to bring food, plenty of water, and sunscreen, and be aware that South Monomoy in particular has a lot of Poison Ivy, so dress appropriately.

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