Category Archives: Gloucester

The Magical Month of May for Migrations in Massachusetts

May is a magical month in Massachusetts for observing migrants traveling to our shores, wooded glens, meadows, and shrubby uplands. They come either to mate and to nest, or are passing through on their way to the Arctic tundra and forests of Canada and Alaska.

I am so excited to share about the many beautiful species of shorebirds, songbirds, and butterflies I have been recently filming and photographing for several projects. Mostly I shoot early in the morning, before setting off to work with my landscape design clients. I love, love my work, but sometimes it’s really hard to tear away from the beauty that surrounds here on Cape Ann. I feel so blessed that there is time to do both. If you, too, would like to see these beautiful creatures, the earliest hours of daylight are perhaps the best time of day to capture wildlife, I assume because they are very hungry first thing in the morning and less likely to be bothered by the presence of a human. Be very quiet and still, and observe from a distance far enough away so as not to disturb the animal’s activity.

Some species, like Great Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets, Black-crowned Night Herons, Great Egrets, Brant Geese, and Osprey, as well as Greater and Lesser Yellow Legs, are not included here because this post is about May’s migration and these species were seen in April.

Please note that several photos are not super great by photo skill standards, but are included so you can at least see the bird in a Cape Ann setting. I am often shooting something faraway, at dawn, or dusk, or along a shady tree-lined lane. As so often happens, I’ll get a better capture in better light, and will switch that out, for the purpose of record keeping, at a later date.

Happy Magical May Migration!

The male Eastern Towhee perches atop branches at daybreak and sings the sweetest ta-weet, ta-weet, while the female rustles about building a nest in the undergrowth. Some live year round in the southern part of the US, and others migrate to Massachusetts and parts further north to nest.

If these are Short-billed Dowitchers, I’d love to see a Long-billed Dowitcher! They are heading to swampy pine forests of high northern latitudes.

Black-bellied Plovers, much larger relatives of Piping Plovers, look like Plain Janes when we see them in the fall (see above).

Now look at his handsome crisp black and white breeding plumage; its hard to believe we are looking at the same bird! He is headed to breed in the Arctic tundra in his fancy new suit.

The Eastern Kingbird is a small yet feisty songbird; he’ll chase after much larger raptors and herons that dare to pass through his territory. Kingbirds spend the winter in the South American forests and nest in North America.

With our record of the state with the greatest Piping Plover recovery rate, no post about the magical Massachusetts May migration would be complete without including these tiniest of shorebirds. Female Piping Plover Good Harbor Beach.

Open House for the Beautiful C. B. Fisk Pipe Organs Opus 148 and Opus 150

Today’s grand open house for two new C. B. Fisk pipe organs was a joyful event, crowded with well-wishers, fans, friends, and musicians. Opus 148 will be installed at Christ Church, Cincinnati, and Opus 150 at Benjamin Franklin’s Christ Church in Philadelphia.

Listen to the music!

Morgan Faulds Pike and David Pike, C. B. Fisk Senior Vice President and Tonal Director

A wonderful treat to hear Opus 148 played by Nami and violinist Harold Byers.

Morgan Faulds Pike and David Pike, C. B. Fisk Senior Vice President and Tonal Director.

Nami Hamada, organist and organ builder, and Harold Byers, former violinist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Chair of the Music Committee at Christ Church.

Greg Bover speaking about Opus 148

Thibaut Lenfant and Rick Isaacs

Sarah Tuvim helped restore the exterior case of Opus 150

Morgan’s brother, Tom Faulds, and friend Carole Crowther

Scale model of Opus 148. Morgan Faulds Pike, sculptress of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Memorial, carved the oak angels and panels for Opus 148. See more here.

Angel detail for Opus 148

Opus 150 and scale model

 

GOOD HARBOR GOOD MORNING! Featuring Twin Lights, Two Lovers, a Photographer, and Sunrise

Gorgeous good morning, from GHB.

The Making of “The Narrow Edge” at the Sawyer Free Library

My friend Deborah Cramer is presenting a beautiful and informative program tonight at the Sawyer Free Library in Gloucester. Best wishes to Deborah for a tremendous evening!

Cape Ann Winged Creature Update

Featuring: Brant Geese, Black-capped Chickadees, Black-crowned Night Heron, Blue Jays, Cardinals, American Robins, Mockingbirds, Savannah Sparrows, House Finches, Red-breasted Mergansers, and Common Grackle.  

Beautiful iridescent feathers of the Common Grackle.

Spring is a fantastic time of year in Massachusetts to see wildlife, whether that be whale or winged creature. Marine species are migrating to the abundant feeding grounds of the North Atlantic as avian species are traveling along the Atlantic Flyway to summer breeding regions in the boreal forests and Arctic tundra. And, too, the bare limbs of tree branches and naked shrubs make for easy viewing of species that breed and nest in our region. Verdant foliage that will soon spring open, although much longed for, also obscures nesting activity. Get out today and you’ll be richly rewarded by what you see along shoreline and pond bank.

Male Red-winged Blackbird singing to his lady love

Once the trees leaf, we’ll still hear the songsters but see them less.

Nests will be hidden from view.

Five migrating Brant Geese were foraging on seaweed at Loblolly Cove this morning.

Red-breasted Merganser Bath Time

ONE GREAT BIG PUSH TODAY TO HELP BACKYARD GROWERS WIN $$35K GRANT – PLEASE VOTE IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY, THANK YOU!!!

Lara Lepionka, Backyard Growers executive, director writes,

Thank you everyone for all your support this week! We’re doing a final push on this last day of voting for Backyard Growers to win $35K. Voting closes at 11:59 tonight! Please share this opportunity with your networks—so appreciated! Vote here: http://www.bgoodfamilyfoundation.com/35k-grant-vote/

Many thanks,

Lara

Red in the Morning, Sailor Take Warning

Red Sky Sunrise Niles Pond

Red sky in the morning,

sailor take warning.

Red sky at night,

sailor’s delight.

This old saying has an explanation and you can read about it here on the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory website.