Category Archives: Gloucester

WILDLY BEAUTIFUL AND HISTORIC MONARCH MIGRATION OF 2019

Multitudes of silently beautiful brilliant orange flakes swirl overhead. Ontario, Chicago, the Great Lakes, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Texas–the list goes on and on–reports of record numbers of Eastern Monarchs are being shared throughout the country.

Monarchs are building their fat reserves by drinking nectar from wildflowers and garden flowers all along their migratory route. These migration pathways occur in urban centers such as Toronto, Chicago, Atlanta, and Kansas City; the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia and Virginia; the fields and prairies of Minnesota, Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska; and along the coastlines of the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Great Lakes.

The Atlantic Coast travelers are typically a week or two behind the Monarchs that migrate through the central part of the U.S. There are still large numbers of Monarchs in the Northeast waiting for the right conditions to journey on.

Here on Cape Ann I have been following the migration and checking hotspots several times daily. Beginning September 8th, the migration along our shores really began to pick up steam. We have had a steady stream with many overnight roosts. The last wave that came through migrated during the morning hours, but rather than staying overnight, continued on their journey, helped by a strong northeasterly wind.

Many thousands of photos were taken this past month and I will share them in upcoming posts, along with helpful answers to some Monarch questions that I am frequently asked. In addition to the photos, I have of course been filming. While my Monarch documentary, Beauty on the Wing, is in the final stages of post production, some of the footage from this year’s historic migration will make it into the film.

Please join me this coming Saturday, October 5th, at 10:30am at The Stevens Coolidge Place in Andover where I will be giving a talk and slide presentation on Monarch Butterfly conservation. A whole wonderful day of activities is planned for the kids and adults.

MONARCH MIGRATION CELEBRATION

You spent the summer watching them flit about your gardens, now it’s time to wish them well on their trip down to Mexico – it’s the Monarch Migration Celebration at Stevens-Coolidge Place!

This celebration will kick off with a children’s pollinator parade around the property (costumes encouraged!) bringing all visitors to an afternoon of demos, crafts & stories, seed bomb making and gardening tips to bring these orange friends to your yard in the spring. Want to join in the butterfly tagging? Bring your flying friends with you and we’ll be happy to show you how! Butterfly release at 2:30PM

Trustees Member: $3
Trustees Member Child: $5
Trustees Family: $15

Nonmember: $6
Nonmember Child: $10
Nonmember Family: $25
Please help us plan for the day. Pre-registration is encouraged.

STEVENS COOLIDGE PLACE

137 ANDOVER STREET

Monarchs, Common Buckeye, and Painted Lady

 

HURRICANE #HUMBERTO DELIVERS GORGEOUS SURF AND RARELY SEEN IN #GLOUCESTER MA NEOTROPICAL BLACK SKIMMERS!!!

Thanks so much to my friend Heidi Wakeman who texted to let me know there was what she thought a trio of Black Skimmers down the creek at Good Harbor Beach. I raced over and sure enough there were three Black Skimmers, as well as several Laughing Gulls, resting on the creek edge, along with a flock of gulls.

You could tell they were weary and wind tossed so we observed from the far side of the creek so as not to disturb the little travelers. Heidi and I enjoyed watching for a bit. A Great Blue Heron briefly flew on the scene, joining a mixed gathering of herons and egrets. Heidi stayed awhile longer and got to see them fly and skim-feeding.

Black Skimmers are called as such because they have a unique-to-their species method of foraging. Their lower mandible is longer than the upper, which allows them to skim the surface for small fish.

Southern Massachusetts is at the very northern range of the Black Skimmers breeding range. I imagine they have been blown off course by Humberto’s wildy winds.

Black Skimmers are not all that Hurricane Humberto delivered to our shores. The surf was tremendous Friday afternoon, with long lovely rolling waves that towered and crashed ashore. The late day softening light and a fine mist from the heavy amounts of moisture in the air lent an atmospheric light to all.

Here are some photos I took of Black Skimmers two years ago at Cape May while documenting the Monarch migration along the southern New Jersey coast. Just as do Monarchs, Skimmers gather in great numbers at Cape May in late summer and early autumn, waiting for the right conditions to cross the Delaware Bay.

FRIDAY THE 13TH FULL HARVEST MOON #GLOUCESTERMA #SCHOONER

Friday the 13th full moon through the masts of the Schooner Liberty Clipper

A flock of birds flew by…

and then a butterfly flew by (not really, but doesn’t this bird look like it could be a butterfly?).

THE DANCE OF COLOR AND LIGHT – MONARCHS ON THE MOVE!

Monarchs were on the move over the weekend, not only on Cape Ann, but all over northern and northeastern regions of the country* very solid numbers of migrating Monarchs are being shared, from Ontario, to upstate New York, Michigan, and Maine.

Lets keep our hopes up for good weather for the Monarchs on the next leg of their journey southward!

*Ninety percent of the Monarch Butterfly migration takes place east of the Rocky Mountains.

If you would like to help support the Monarchs, think about creating a milkweed patch in your garden. The best and most highly productive milkweed for Monarch caterpillars is Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), the milkweed we see growing in our local marshes and dunes. The seed heads are ripe for plucking when they have split open and you can see the brown seeds and beautiful floss.

For several of my readers who have expressed difficulty in germinating milkweed seeds, the following is a foolproof method from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

HOW TO GERMINATE MILKWEEDS

MILKWEEDS (ASCLEPIAS SPP.) ARE NOTORIOUSLY DIFFICULT TO GERMINATE. But don’t despair. The Wildflower Center has developed and tested a protocol that results in good germination rates for a number of our native milkweed species. Follow this process and you’ll soon be on your way to supporting monarchs, bumblebees and tons of other insects that depend on milkweed plants. READ the complete article here.

VIDEO MONTAGE OF GUSTER IN GLOUCESTER AT THE RIVERFEST SEASIDE MUSIC FESTIVAL

Wonderfully fun and funny, heartfelt, quirky, original, and fabulous musicians all, Guster headlined Gloucester’s first Riverfest Seaside Music Festival. Montage of highlights from the show with favorite songs “Amsterdam,” “Happier,” “Satellite,” “Stay With Me Jesus,” “Homecoming King,” “Ramona,” “Do You Love Me,” “This Could All Be Yours,” and more.

For information on upcoming shows, tickets, store, and to see Guster’s latest hit video for “Overexcited,” go HERE to www.guster.com

Riverfest presented by 92.5 The River and the City of Gloucester, Stage Fort Park. See photos from the show at Kim Smith Designs

 

BEAUTIFUL SCENES FROM THE PARADE OF SAIL AND SCHOONER RACE

Gloucester Harbor in all her glory – photos from the Parade of Sail and Schooner race.

GUSTER IN GLOUCETER: PHOTOS FROM GLOUCESTER’S 1ST ANNUAL RIVERFEST SEASIDE MUSIC FESTIVAL

Headlining act Guster gave a fantastic and fabulous-in-every-way show at the Riverfest Seaside Music Festival Saturday afternoon. They played all the fan favorites for a wonderfully fun and eclectic audience. Some of my favorite songs from their beautiful repertoire of music included “Amsterdam,” Do You Love Me,” “This Could All Be Yours,” “Homecoming King,” “Satellite,” “Stay With Me Jesus,” and many, many more. Video with music highlights to come later this week 🙂

Although I had to work most of the day and didn’t get to the event until after 3:30, the festival went fabulously well, from this fan’s perspective. A huge shout out to Donald St. Sauveur and radio 92.5 The River (the best rock radio station, bar none!), Mayor Sefatia and her team for bringing Riverfest to Gloucester, to Jill Cahill and Gloucester’s stellar DPW for the advanced planning and organizing (Stage Fort Park looked absolutely gorgeous!), to all the sponsors, and especially to the fans. Everyone was having a grand time-enjoying the music, dancing, spending time with family and friends, and just having fun.

Thank you festival organizers for a wonderfully new and exciting event for Gloucester! I hope it is the the first of many Riverfests to come!!!