Category Archives: Gloucester Harbor

FANTASTIC FUN WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS ABOARD THE LANNON FOR THE SCHOONER CHALLENGE!

At the top of my husband Tom’s birthday wish list was a schooner ride aboard the Thomas Lannon. His birthday is still a week away so we had a pre-bday celebration last night. My kids and I treated and we met our friends Jade and Will, and their adorable kids, for the Schooner Challenge.

Although not much of challenge with super calm seas, it was a gorgeous night to be sailing around the harbor with family, friends and the wonderful Captain Heath Ellis and his topnotch crew. Former Lannon Captain Tom Ellis was aboard, making the sail even more perfect.

The night could not have been more magical and I think my husband is super pleased. What a way to start off the 37th Annual Gloucester Schooner Festival weekend and husband’s birthday week!!

 

HOVERFLIES EAT APHIDS! AND THEY ARE THE SECOND BEST POLLINATOR, AFTER BEES!

A beautiful female hoverfly (possibly Syrphus ribesii) spent the afternoon drinking nectar from the yellow florets of our Mexican Sunflowers. Also known as the Flower Fly and Syrphid Fly, hoverflies are members of the Syrphidae family of insects. As their name suggest, they hover over pollen-  and nectar-rich flowers.

Helicoptering hoverfly coming in for a landing

Hoverflies are a wonderful addition to the organic, pesticide-free garden. Hoverfly larvae are aphid eating machines and they are also the second best pollinator, after bees. Female hoverflies lay their eggs in the midst of aphid colonies. When the eggs emerge, food for the larvae is readily available. A single hoverfly larvae can eat 400 to 500 aphids during the two-week period before pupating into an adult.

When flies look like bees – Hoverflies look similar to bees, with large bulbous eyes and black and yellow striped abdomens. Their color and buzzing sound mimics many species of bees and wasps, which helps ward off predators. Hoverflies are perfectly harmless and neither sting nor bite. You can tell the difference between a male and a female hoverfly by looking at the eyes. The eyes of the male are holoptic, which means they touch, whereas the eyes of the female are separated.

We have a colony of aphids on our Whorled Milkweed. I hope she stopped by to deposit her eggs there!

To attract hoverflies to your garden, plant plenty of nectar-rich flowers. One study showed some species prefer white and yellow flowers. Although the ray flowers of the Tithonia are orange, the disc florets at the center of the flower from where she was drinking nectar are yellow. Native plants that attract hoverflies include Lanceleaf Coreopsis, Common Yarrow, and Purple Coneflower. Hoverflies also love blossoms of herbs such as oregano, dill, parsley, coriander, and fennel.

Image courtesy wikicommons media

 

Good Morning from Good Harbor and Cape Hedge Beaches!

Dear PiPl Friends,

Thank you so much for all your wonderful stories!

This week our fledglings/chicks have reached important milestones. Junior is 44 days old, the Cape Hedge chicks are about 35 days old, and our Littlest is two weeks and a day! The Cape Hedge chicks are doing the wonderfly flippy-floppy-fly-thing, and the Littlest is growing roundly, making magnificent treks up and down the beach.

Thank you everyone for your watchful eyes, diplomacy, eagerness to share with the public, and big hearts. You are all creating a wonderfully positive image for shorebirds everywhere and a super positive image for Cape Ann as well!!!

Skittles has been found! He was only about a block away from where he went missing, and sunning himself in a neighbor’s backyard. As Scott said, he was only waiting for the sun to come out 🙂

Have a great day!
xxKim

Happiness is a tail feather snuggle with Mom

FIVE IN THE FLATS – AND HAPPY THREE WEEK OLD BIRTHDAY LITTLE PEEPS!

Good morning PiPl Friends,

The GHB family of five were all in the flats this morning, foraging like nobody’s business. Both parents were very relaxed around the early morning beach walkers and joggers. The CHB three little chicklets are all doing beautifully as well. Leslie placed a double sided sign up by where this little family heads when the beach is crowded. Thank you so very much to Sally and Barbara for sharing tips and advice with Leslie!!

On Monday morning, Todd Pover, who is the senior wildlife biologist for the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey visited us at Good Harbor Beach. We are so honored to have Todd come to GHB. We were hoping to have a visit earlier in the season and I was planning to have a group of us meet Todd. But as it goes, this was last minute however, Todd did get to meet Ambassadors Maggie and Kai!

Todd heads the CWFNJ beach nesting bird project and has been involved with nesting shorebirds for nearly thirty years. Todd also leads CWFNJ Bahamas PiPl wintering grounds initiative. Years ago, Todd had a dream to restore early successional habitat at New Jersey’s Barnegat Light, habitat ideal for nesting shorebirds. Please watch this video and see how Todd’s beautiful dream project came to fruition.

Todd has recently returned from a site visit to check on Chicago’s Monty and Rose PiPls and it was interesting to get his insights on our similarities/differences. As they are at Good Harbor Beach, battles between Killdeers and PiPls are a regular occurrence at Chicago’s Michigan Lake shorebird habitat. Todd loves our signs and especially our new badges (thanking Jonathan, Duncan, and Ducan, once again a million times over for the badges). We had a great meeting and I am just so sorry it was so brief. After checking at GHB, Todd was headed over to Parker River NWR and was possibly going to stop at Cape Hedge Beach. Many thanks to Todd for taking an interest in our Cape Ann Piping Plovers!

Todd, Maggie, Nancy beachgoer, and Charlotte

Here is an image of one of the birthday chicks grabbing a Mayfly for breakfast. When I googled Mayfly-Massachusetts-beach, hoping to id what species of Mayfly, the first thing that popped up is a website on how to kill them. It’s no wonder why insect species around the world are in sharp decline, and becoming extinct at an unprecedented rate.

Anglers love Mayflies, and so do Plovers!

Last day of the heat wave. Please take care everyone.
xoKim

Mayfly life cycle -from nymph to adult, a wide range of invertebrates and vertebrates consume Mayflies

HORSESHOE CRABS AT GOOD HARBOR BEACH! (AND SMITH’S COVE)

On Monday morning Good Harbor Beach daily walker, Bill, spotted a Horseshoe Crab at the shoreline. It was burrowing in the sand and heading out by the time I ran over to photograph. When I wrote about this briefly in a Piping Plover post, Tom Schaefer shared that he had recently seen a pair mating at Good Harbor Beach! And Martha Cooney wrote to say she and her brother had seen a Horseshoe Crab a Smiths Cove.

Horseshoe Crabs are seen at many of our local beaches and inlets but I think it is a fairly rare occurrence at GHB. If you have ever seen a Horseshoe Crab at Good Harbor Beach, please write and let us know. And we’d love to know also of any recent sightings around the north shore. Thank you!

Burrowing in

From Mass Audubon –

Horseshoe Crab Massachusetts Conservation Efforts

Horseshoe crabs have been crawling ashore in Massachusetts for about 350 million years, and they look the same now as they did when living side-by-side with dinosaurs.

In fact, horseshoe crabs are commonly referred to as “living fossils” because they are one of the most ancient creatures still living today.

The species that currently calls Massachusetts home is the Atlantic Horseshoe Crab (Limulus polyphemus). Unfortunately, the Commonwealth’s population of these incredible marine animals is in decline and facing increasing threats to their survival.

Species Overview


Horseshoe crabs are one of the most fascinating creatures in our oceans!

Unique Adaptations

They have excellent eyesight thanks to 5 pairs of eyes, and can see just as well at night as they can during the day. Horseshoe crabs also have a wide field of vision, which means they can see their surroundings in all directions—in front, behind, both sides, and above!

Photoreceptors on their tails are sensitive to circadian rhythms, enabling horseshoe crabs to “tell time” by tracking the hours of daylight. Large chemical receptors on their legs gather sensory input in much the same way as insect antennae.

Mating & Nesting

In spring, adult crabs make their way onto beaches during full moons to mate. Females usually only come ashore to nest for a single tide cycle each year. Males use their front clasping claws to physically attach themselves to their chosen mate, and they will stay attached for the entire tide cycle (or longer!). The female digs shallow nests about 5″-10″ deep in the sand, where she then lays 2-5 clusters that each consist of anywhere from 2,000-4,000 eggs.

Development takes 2-4 weeks, during which the eggs will molt four times before finally hatching. Once hatched, larvae remain in their clusters in the sand, not feeding, for several more weeks. They then molt into tiny, spiny juveniles and usually swim out to sea at the next moon cycle. Young crabs will spend anywhere from a few weeks to a full year near the beach where they hatched before heading out to new waters.

Conservation Status


In Massachusetts, horseshoe crabs are harvested to be used as bait for the eel and conch fisheries. Additionally, their blood is the only source of a chemical that’s used to test medical devices and injectable drugs for toxins. When harvested for medical use, the crabs are caught, bled, and then returned to the water.

Increased harvesting of these fascinating animals threatens their population. The problem has been compounded by closures of horseshoe crab fisheries in New Jersey, New York, and other neighboring states. As a result, there is increased harvest pressure on the dwindling populations of horseshoe crabs in Massachusetts waters.

It’s crucial that state managers have a robust estimate of the number of crabs in Massachusetts before they can set appropriate harvest quotas to ensure a sustainable fishery. As a first response, Massachusetts has reduced the annual quota for horseshoe crabs and prohibited harvests around full moons from late April through June.

Research & Ways to Help


Mass Audubon has been conducting long-term surveys of spawning horseshoe crabs on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard since 2001 in collaboration with the University of Rhode Island, the National Park Service, the MA Division of Marine Fisheries, and several other organizations and institutions.

At our Felix Neck and Wellfleet Bay wildlife sanctuaries, conservation staff work with trained community science volunteers in the spring and early summer to count adult horseshoe crabs spawning at several sites on and around the new and full moons at high tide.

The data collected during these surveys is submitted to the MA Division of Marine Fisheries, which uses the information to determine the best conservation and management practices for Massachusetts horseshoe crabs and the horseshoe crab fishery.

We invite you to join our efforts to help preserve these very special marine animals! Volunteers are needed every year during April, May, and June to count horseshoe crabs as they come onto beaches to spawn at high tide during the new and full moons.

Heading out to sea

 

PHOTOS FROM THE GLOUCESTER LOBSTER BOAT PROTEST PARADE

Cape Ann lobstermen and fishermen held a protest boat parade Wednesday afternoon. The parade was organized to show support for local lobstermen in light of the recent temporary closure of lobstering grounds and new requirements to purchase special gear. The grounds are closed until May 1st, possibly until May 15th, to prevent gear entanglements during the endangered Right Whale migration through Massachusetts waters.

Under overcast skies, the lobster boats gathered at Ten Pound Island and headed in the direction of the State Fish Pier. The parade circled the inner harbor several times to the cheering and honking of supporters lining the shore. After a good showing of lobster boats, fishing boats, and supporters, the parade ended under clearing skies.

Beautiful Fleet

 

Read More here at the Massachusetts Lobstermen Association website.

FV EMILY TERESA HEADING OUT IN THE FULL SNOW MOON

Schooner Adventure, UU Church, Maritime Gloucester, and the FV Emily Teresa heading out under the beautiful full Snow Moon

SAINT ANN’S CHURCH IN SILVER AND GOLD

Snowy Gloucester – love that time of late day when the steeple atop Saint Ann’s shines silver and gold.

SCHOONER ADVENTURE LOOKING BEAUTIFUL IN HOLIDAY LIGHTS

Schooner Adventure

PRETTY NILES BEACH PANORAMA SUNSET

Beautiful, beautiful autumn skies –  sunset this past week

LATE DAY #wickedtuna FILMING GLOUCESTER HARBOR with HARD MERCHANDISE, FV-TUNA.COM, WICKED PISSAH, HOT TUNA, AND BADFISH,

The Wicked Tuna fleet continued filming yesterday early evening as the storm departed.

@tjHOTTUNA #wickedtuna #gloucesterma WICKED TUNA HELICOPTER FILMING IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD!

Wicked Tuna shooting FV Hot Tuna and FV Bad Fish at Gloucester Harbor

SCHOONER ROSEWAY MOORED IN GLOUCESTER HARBOR!

Essex-built Schooner Roseway moored at Gloucester Harbor this morning -such a beauty and always easy to spot with her distinctive rose-colored sails.

Read more about the Roseway and World ocean School here.

 

SCHOONER FLASH MOB SAIL AROUND GLOUCESTER HARBOR!

Six schooners sailed about Gloucester Harbor Sunday morning. Oh how we all missed this year’s Schooner Festival! But it was glorious to see these sailing beauties out in the harbor together at the same time. I was at Niles Beach Sunday morning and raced home to get my camera. The parade was coming to an end by the time I returned, but how lucky to catch a glimpse of Cape Ann Schooners Redbird, Thomas E. Lannon, and Ardelle lined up.

ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SCENTS ON ALL OF CAPE ANN – ‘SAILOR’S DELIGHT’ SUMMERSWEET

Clethra alnifolia is more commonly known by its many descriptive names of Summersweet, Sweet Pepperbush, and Honeysweet. In an old book on fragrance, written by Louise Beebe Wilder, she writes that in Gloucester of old it was described as ‘Sailor’s Delight.’ During the 19th and early 20th century, as told by Wilder, the sailors entering the harbor on homebound ships would reportedly delight in its fragrance wafting out to see.

Much of Niles Pond road is to this day lined with great thickets of ‘Sailor’s Delight.’ Wild Clethra growing on Cape Ann blooms during the month of August.

The following is an excerpt from a book that I wrote back in 2004-2007, which was published by David R. Godine in 2009. The book is about designing landscape habitats for wild creatures and for people, titled Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities: Notes from a Gloucester Garden, and all that I wrote then, still holds true to day.

“Summersweet bears small white florets held on racemes, and depending on the cultivar may be shaded with varying hues of pink to rose-red. The tapering spires of fragrant blossoms appear in mid to late summer. Clethra has a sweet and spicy though somewhat pungent aroma, and when the summer air is sultry and humid, the fragrance permeates the garden, Summersweet is a nectar food attractive to bees and a wide variety of butterflies, notably the Silver-spotted Skipper.” See more at Oh GardenMyriad species of bees and butterflies, along with Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, are attracted to Clethra for its sweet nectar, while American Robins, Goldfinches and warblers dine on Summersweet’s ripened berries.
Clethra fruits ripening