Category Archives: Gloucester Harbor

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

Protected piping plover chick illegally removed from RI beach dies

Piping Plover ambassador Deb Brown shared the following story. My readers know not to pick up a chick alone on the beach but please help spread the word. If you see someone attempting to do so, let them know that the parents are more than likely close by and waiting for “the rescuer” to leave the area.  Keep your eye on the chick from 100 feet away and if after an hour an adult is not spotted in the vicinity, contact USFWS or a local rehabber. It is against the law to handle Piping Plover chicks.  A protected piping plover chick that was illegally removed from a Westerly beach receives care at a wildlife center in Massachusetts. The chick later died. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Protected piping plover chick illegally removed from RI beach dies

by JESSICA A. BOTELHO, NBC 10 NEWS

The death of a protected piping plover chick that was illegally removed from a Westerly beach has prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Massachusetts to remind everyone that the birds should not be touched.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asks that people do not disturb or interfere with plovers or other wildlife,” the agency noted Monday in a press release, adding that the chick became ill after vacationers brought it home with them.

“Members of the public should never handle wildlife or remove it from the area before contacting authorities,” according to the release.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the vacationers brought the chick to a Massachusetts wildlife rehabilitator when it began to show signs of poor health.

It was eventually transferred to Tufts Wildlife Clinic, and then to Cape Wildlife in Barnstable, because its condition rapidly worsened and it later died.

“Despite the best efforts of veterinarians, the chick had become too weak from the ordeal and died,” according to the agency.

Piping plovers are protected as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Maureen Durkin, who is the Service’s plover coordinator for Rhode Island, said handling wild animals does more harm than good. She added that with such a small population of plovers, every single bird makes a difference.

“By sharing our beaches and leaving the birds undisturbed, we give plovers the best chance to successfully raise chicks each year,” Durkin said, with the release noting that about 85 pairs of piping plovers breed in Rhode Island “under the close watch of several agencies.”

It is illegal to possess or handle most wildlife, especially threatened and endangered species.

Piping plovers are on that list and should not be disturbed.

“While wild animals may appear to be ‘orphaned,’ they usually are not; parents are often waiting nearby for humans to leave. Plover chicks are able to run and feed themselves, and even if they appear to be alone, their parents are usually in the vicinity. Baby songbirds, seal pups, and fawns are also at risk from being removed from the wild unnecessarily by people mistaking them for orphans. If a young animal is encountered alone in the wild, the best course of action is typically to leave the area. In most cases the parents will return without human intervention,” the release noted.

In 2018, two piping plovers were found nesting in a strip of vegetation that was sprouting from a crack in a parking lot at Roger Wheeler State Beach in Narragansett.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management worked to protect the plovers and their nest, giving them “a safe passage” to the beach when they hatched.

DEM described piping plovers as small sand-colored shorebirds. They breed on Atlantic beaches from Newfoundland and southeastern Quebec to North Carolina.

A WONDERFULLY UNEVENTFUL MORNING WITH THE PIPLS!

Good Morning PiPl Ambassadors,

Dad and Marshmallow spent the morning mostly in the protected enclosure with only two trips down to the water. Marshmallow is discovering just how very cool are his wings; he spent a great deal of time doing the crazy flutter-hop dance, as well as meticulously wing-washing. After the beach rake had finished and left for the morning, about fifteen minutes later, the pair headed down to the Creek.

A new PiPl Ambassador has joined us, Heidi Wakeman. Heidi is a friend of mine, she Loves wildlife, and is the middle school Spanish teacher. Heidi is going to be taking Duncan’s shift, from 7am to 8am.

I’m so glad so many have heard our PiPl chick peeping! Piping Plover chicks begin peeping when they are still in the egg. This helps the chick make contact with its parents. Peeping within the egg is also thought to be a way for the siblings to communicate amongst themselves, and also to help synchronize hatching.

Have a wonderful day and thank you all so very much!

xxKim


Piping Plover Chick, Marshmallow, 17 days old . Doesn’t he look extra marshmallow-like in this photo 🙂

DEREK HOPKINS – YOUR FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY 2019 GREASY POLE CHAMP!

Note to the GP Walkers – Although there was no Greasy Pole due to coronavirus, I was hoping to have this long overdue short completed for the 2020 Saint Peter’s Fiesta weekend, just to cheer everyone up. My son broke several ribs on Friday and instead of editing over the weekend, I was taking care of my family. He’s on the mend and today was my first chance to finish editing. Better late than never I hope.

Viva!

Congratulations to 18 year old Derek Hopkins for winning Gloucester’s Greasy Pole Friday, Saturday, and Sunday competitions!

Derek is only the second walker to win the Friday, Saturday, Sunday trifecta, after Jake Wood (1999).

Derek’s Dad, Rich Hopkins captured the flag in 1996 and 1997. Derek and his Dad are the fourth father-son duo to win the flag.

Note about the music – Eh, Cumpari! or Hey, Goombadi! is a Sicilian song we hear playing often during Fiesta. Sung by Julius La Rosa and released in 1953, it is a cumulative song, in which each verse contains all the previous verses.

From wiki – a rough translation –

Hey buddy, [music] is playing.
What is playing? The whistle.
And what does it sound like—the whistle?
[vocalized instrument sound]

the whistle, [rhythm words]
.
u friscalettu = whistle [small flute]
u saxofona = saxophone
u mandulinu = mandolin
u viulinu = violin
la trumbetta = trumpet
la trombona = trombone

BEAUTIFUL RAINBOW OVER GLOUCESTER TONIGHT

Photos and video via husband Tom <3

I don’t know why this happens sometimes, but if you play the video, it won’t be upside down.

UPDATE ON OUR GOOD HARBOR BEACH NESTING PAIR OF PIPING PLOVERS

Dad was sitting sleepily on the nest this morning. The pair has adapted comfortably to the wire exclosure installed by Greenbelt’s Dave Rimmer and Gloucester DPW’s Joe Lucido.

I didn’t see Mom, but wasn’t able to spend that much time. Last we checked there were three eggs, we’ll see if a fourth is laid 🙂

 

CHECK OUT THIS AWESOME VIDEO ABOUT CEDAR ROCK GARDENS FROM NOFA!

THIS WEEK’S FABULOUS GLOUCESTER FISHERMAN’S WHARF SEAFOOD MENU!

DRIVE THRU LOCAL FISH MARKET👍🚛

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 10am – 4pm,

Saturday and Sunday 8am – 2pm

978-281-7707 for pre orders. 🐟🇺🇸🦞 

All products are fresh uncooked and landed from our local fishing vessels.

Located in the Food Truck Fisherman’s Wharf parking lot.

Drive Up orders welcomed.

Call ahead orders 978-281-7707 during operating hours.

Cash or Credit accepted.

LOCATED @37 Rogers St. Gloucester MA 01930

Note: Our products are different from typical fish markets. We promote our abundant and locally landed seafood. Top quality, fair prices, a win win for our community. Thanks for your support.

Catch of the Day – MONKFISH!

GOOD NEWS CAPE ANN – THINKING ABUT CHANGING THE NAME “TO BEAUTY BY THE SEA”- EPISODE 6

 

This is what snow in May looks like! 

1816:The Year Without a Summer

Happy Mom’s Day! Sending love to all our beautiful and hard working Mums, Aunts, Friends, Grandmothers, Great Grannies, Great Aunties, and all our loved ones <3

 Sea Salps at Good Harbor Beach

Cedar Rock Gardens Opening May 15th for Warm Weather Seedlings. See complete list here.

Gardening Tip – when to plant warm weather seedlings outdoors

The Franklin 

Fisherman’s Wharf Gloucester

Castaways Vintage Café

Short and Main FRIED CHICKEN!

Cedar Waxwings Courting

Piping Plover Chronicles – new series – currently following three different PiPl families at three different locations. This is great for comparing and contrasting. Our PiPls are behind, by several weeks. Not because they arrived any later, but because of dog and human disturbance in the nesting area, which is due to a lack of signage. We are working to correct this oversight.

A behavior shared by all Plovers is called “foot-trembling.” Also called “foot-tapping” and “foot-pattering,” the vibration caused by the PiPl shaking its foot brings worms and other prey closer to the surface of the sand.

Please send in your wildlife stories, restaurants and businesses you think we ought to know more about and help support, fun recipes, and anything else you would like to share about.

Thank you for watching! Happy Mom’s Day <3

ROSEWAY AT THE RAILWAYS

Schooner Roseway hauled out at the Marine Railways – a Gloucester favorite (after our own Schooner fleet, of course).

To learn more about the Essex built Schooner Roseway, visit her website here: Schooner Roseway

History

Roseway, 137′ in sparred length, was designed as a fishing yacht by John James and built in 1925 in his family’s shipyard in Essex, Massachusetts. Father and son worked side by side on Roseway, carrying on a long New England history of wooden shipbuilding. She was commissioned by Harold Hathaway of Taunton, Massachusetts, and was named after an acquaintance of Hathaway’s “who always got her way.” Despite her limited fishing history, Roseway set a record of 74 swordfish caught in one day in 1934. Read more here.

BUY MASSACHUSETTS SEAFOOD! MESSAGE FROM MASSACHUSETTS DIVISION OF MARINE FISHERIES – Supporting and Preserving our Seafood Industry during Covid-19

An informative and nuanced message from DMF’s Dan McKiernan about the status of the seafood industry and dynamic response efforts during the Spring of 2020.

GLOUCESTER FISHERMAN’S WHARF: We Offloaded some fresh fish, scallops and live Gloucester Lobsters today!

We Offloaded some fresh fish, scallops and live Gloucester Lobsters today!

Remember you don’t have to call ahead, just use our DRIVE THRU!

🚗CURBSIDE PICKUP/DRIVE THRU

Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4pm

📲Call 978-281-7707 to order (phone lines open at 10am) or Drive up and place your order.

🦞 Lobster $7/lb all sizes.( Orders for lobster to be placed at drive thru only)

🐠Grey Sole Fillets in 2 lb bags
$20 / bag (only $10 /lb.)

Day Boat Scallops in 1 lb. containers
$15 /lb.

🐟Haddock Fillets in 2 lb. bags
$15 / bag (only $7.50 / lb.)

37 Rogers St. Drive up through Minglewoods entrance
We wear masks and kindly ask if you would bring yours as well. Thanks for your cooperation and support.

OFFLOADING BOATS AND PACKING YOUR FRESH FISH NOW! EAT HEALTHY, STAY HEALTHY!

FROM FISHERMAN’S WHARF GLOUCESTER

OFFLOADING BOATS AND PACKING YOUR FRESH FISH NOW! EAT HEALTHY, STAY HEALTHY!

🚗CURBSIDE PICKUP/DRIVE THRU

Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4pm

📲Call 978-281-7707 to order (phone lines open at 10am) or Drive up and place your order.

🐠Grey Sole Fillets in 2 lb bags
$20 / bag (only $10 /lb.)

Day Boat Scallops in 1 lb. containers
$15 /lb.

🐟Haddock Fillets in 2 lb. bags
$15 / bag (only $7.50 / lb.)

37 Rogers St. Drive up through Minglewoods entrance
We wear masks and kindly ask if you would bring yours as well. Thanks for your cooperation and support.

CAPE ANN EARLY SPRING WILDLIFE UPDATE

Hello Friends,

I hope you are all doing well, or as well as can be expected during this heartbreaking pandemic event. The following kind words were spoken by Pope Francis today and I think they could not be truer.

“We are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed,” he said.

“All of us called to row together, each of us in need of each other.”

In the world of wildlife, spring migration is well underway and gratefully, nothing has changed for creatures small and large. That may change in the coming days as resources for threatened and endangered species may become scarce.

A friend posted on Facebook that “we are all going to become birders, whether we like it or not.” I love seeing so many people out walking in the fresh air and think it is really the best medicine for our souls.

Several times I was at Good Harbor Beach over the weekend and people were being awesome at practicing physical distancing. Both Salt Island Road and Nautilus Road were filled with cars, but none dangerously so, no more than we would see at a grocery store parking lot. I’m just getting over pneumonia and think I will get my old bike out, which sad to say hasn’t been ridden in several years. Cycling is a great thing to do with a friend while still practicing distancing and I am excited to get back on my bike.

An early spring wildlife scene update

The Niles Pond Black-crowned Night Heron made it through the winter!! He was seen this past week in his usual reedy location. Isn’t it amazing that he/she survived so much further north than what is typical winter range for BCHN.

Many of the winter resident ducks are departing. There are fewer and fewer Buffleheads, Scaups, and Ring-necked Ducks at our local ponds and waterways.

Male and female Scaups

No sign lately of the American Pipits. For several days there were three! Snow Buntings at the Brace Cove berm.

I haven’t seen the Northern Pintail in a over a week. Sometimes the Mallards play nice and on other days, not so much.

Male Northern Pintail and Mallards

As some of the beautiful creatures that have been residing on our shores depart, new arrivals are seen daily. Our morning walks are made sweeter with the songs of passerines courting and mating.

Black-capped Chickadees collecting nesting fibers and foraging

Song Sparrows, Mockingbirds, Robins, Cardinals, Chicadees, Nuthatches, Tufted Titmice, and Carolina Wrens are just a few of the love songs filling backyard, fields, dunes, and woodland.

Newly arrived Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets have been spotted at local ponds and marshes.

Cape Ann’s Kildeers appeared about a week or so ago, and wonderful of wonderful news, a Piping Plover pair has been courting at Good Harbor Beach since they arrived on March 22, a full three days earlier than last year.

Kildeers, Gloucester

Why do I think it is our PiPls returned? Because Piping Plovers show great fidelity to nesting sites and this pair is no exception. They are building nest scrapes in almost exactly the same location as was last year’s nest.

Piping Plover Nest Scrape Good Harbor Beach 2020

I’m not sure if the Red Fox photographed here is molting or is the early stages of mange. It does seem a bit early to be molting, but he was catching prey.

We should be seeing Fox kits and Coyote pups any day now, along with baby Beavers, Otters, and Muskrats 🙂
It’s been an off year for Snowy Owls in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic with relatively many fewer owls than that wonderful irruptive winter of 2017-2018 when Hedwig was living on the back shore. 2019 was a poor summer for nesting however, reports of high numbers of Lemmings at their eastern winter breeding grounds are coming in, which could lead to many owlets surviving the nesting season of 2020, which could lead to many more Snowies migrating south this coming winter of 2020-2021.

Take care Friends and be well <3

Mini-nature lover

BEAUTIFUL SNOW MOON ILLUMINATING SAINT ANN CHURCH CROSS

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the full moon of February is most usually called the Snow Moon, named by Native Americans in honor of February’s often heavy snow; some other names include No Snow in the Trails Moon, Bone Moon, and Shoulder to Shoulder Moon. 2020 will bring three Super Moons and one Blue Moon

Moonset over Saint Ann’s steeple

GIANT SEALS SCARED THE BEEJEEZUS OUT OF ME!

While filming the tiny Dovekie as he was blithely bopping along the inner Harbor, dip diving for breakfast and seeming to find plenty to eat, suddenly from directly beneath the Dovekie, two ginromous chocolate brown heads popped up. Almost sea serpent-like, and so completely unexpected! I leapt up and totally ruined the shot, and the little Dovekie was even more startled. He didn’t fly away but ran pell mell across the water about fifteen feet before giving a furtive look back, and then submerging himself.

So there we were face to face, only about twenty feet apart. We spent a good deal of time eyeing each other, several minutes at least, both trying to figure out the other’s next move. Their eyes are so large and expressively beautiful. Down they dove and search as I might, could not spot them again.

There have been plenty of Harbor Seals seen in Gloucester Harbor, but I have never been so close to a Grey Seal, and so delighted to see not one, but two!

The following are a number of ways to tell the difference between a Harbor Seal and a Grey Seal.

Harbor Seals are smaller (5 to 6 feet) than average Grey Seals (6 feet 9 inches long to 8 feet 10 inches long). Bull Grey Seals have been recorded measuring 10 feet 10 inches long!

Harbor Seals have a concave shaped forehead, with a dog-like snout. The head of a Grey Seal is elongated, with a flatter forehead and nose.

Harbor Seal head shape left, Grey Seal head right

Harbor Seals have a heart or V-shaped nostrils. The nostrils of Grey Seals do not meet at the bottom and create more of a W-shape.

Harbor Seal, heart or V-shaped, nostrils

Grey Seal W-shaped nostrils

Grey Seals are not necessarily gray. They are also black and brown. Their spots are more irregular than the spots of a Harbor Seal.

Grey Seals and Harbor Seals are true “earless seals,” which does not mean that they cannot hear but are without external ear flaps.

Dovekie Gloucester Harbor

BEAUTIFUL AND FUNNY RARE BIRD IN GLOUCESTER THE “LITTLE AUK” OR DOVEKIE

The tiny “Little Auk” has been on our shores for several days and this morning I was finally able to take a few good snapshots. It dips and bobs in a funny manner, weaving back and forth, up and down the channel, before using its wings to deeply dive for small fish and crustaceans.

The Dovekie is the smallest member of the auk (puffin) family. A bird of the open Atlantic Ocean that breeds on Islands in the high Arctic, Dovekies are only seen during winter months in New England.

VIBRANT CHRISTMAS DAY SUNSET FROM GLOUCESTER HARBOR, EASTERN POINT, AND NILES BEACH

Gloucester Harbor

Rocky Neck

Niles Beach

Liv Hauck Eastern Point Lighthouse phone photo

HAWK-ON-THE-HUNT JOINS US AT CAPT. JOE’S FOR THE GMG PODCAST

Perched on the lobster traps, I only had a fleeting moment to take a photo pulling into the parking lot at Captain Joe’s. While getting my camera out, the Hawk appeared to pop into a lobster trap. He popped back out, I took a snapshot under cover of car, then off he flew.

Raptors such as Sharp-shinned Hawks and Peregrine Falcons are attracted to lobster pots because the traps often house songbirds such as sparrows. The smaller birds eat the crusty tidbits found on the pots and the larger birds have learned to find a tasty meal there.

Sharp-shinned Hawk Range Map

Several years back when there was a male Snowy Owl at Captain Joe’s, a Peregrine Falcon flew on the scene, defending his territory by repeatedly dive bombing the Owl. The Falcon disturbed him so much so that the Snowy eventually departed.

FISHING BY MOONLIGHT

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