© John Van de Graaff
Gloucester boasts an international reputation as an Important Bird Area (IBA). Its coastal thickets attract a great variety of songbirds during the peaks of their migration in May and September. The area has a special attraction for birdwatchers in winter, when many species travel here from as far away as the High Arctic. The striking drake Common Eider is easy to spot from almost anywhere along the harbor’s shoreline. It nests here on offshore islands, but its numbers swell in winter with the arrival of birds from farther north.