Category Archives: Gloucester

Turkey Bromance

eastern-wild-turkey-males-gloucester-ma-6-copyright-kim-smithConferring

From far across the marsh, large brown moving shapes were spotted. I just had to pull over to investigate and was happily surprised to see a flock of perhaps a dozen male turkeys all puffed up and struttin’ their stuff. I headed over to the opposite side of the marsh in hopes of getting a closer look at what was going on.

eastern-wild-turkey-female-foraging-gloucester-ma-copyright-kim-smithTurkey hen foraging 

Found along the edge, where the marsh met the woodlands, were the objects of desire. A flock of approximately an equal number of hens were foraging for insects and vegetation in the sun-warmed moist earth.

eastern-wild-turkey-males-3-gloucester-ma-copyright-kim-smithMales begin exhibiting mating behavior as early as late February and courtship was full underway on this unusually warm February morning. The funny thing was, the toms were not fighting over the hens, as you might imagine. Instead the males seemed to be paired off, bonded to each other and working together, strategically placing themselves in close proximity to the females. A series of gobbles and calls from the males closest to the females set off a chain reaction of calls to the toms less close. The last to respond were the toms furthest away from the females, the ones still in the marsh. It was utterly fascinating to watch and I tried to get as much footage as possible while standing as stone still for as long as is humanly possible.

eastern-wild-turkey-males-gloucester-marsh-copyright-kim-smithWith much curiosity, and as soon as a spare moment was found, I read several interesting articles on the complex social behavior of Wild Turkeys and it is true, the males were bromancing, as much as they were romancing.

Ninety percent of all birds form some sort of male-female bond. From my reading I learned that Wild Turkeys do not. The females nest and care for the poults entirely on her own. The dominant male in a pair, and the less dominant of the two, will mate with the same female. Wild Turkey male bonding had been observed for some time however, the female can hold sperm for up to fifty days, so without DNA testing it was difficult to know who was the parent of her offspring. DNA tests show that the eggs are often fertilized by more than one male. This behavior insures greater genetic diversity. And it has been shown that bromancing males produce a proportionately greater number of offspring than males that court on their own. Poult mortality is extremely high. The Wild Turkey bromance mating strategy produces a greater number of young and is nature’s way of insuring future generations.

The snood is the cone shaped bump on the crown of the tom’s head (see below).eastern-wild-turkey-male-snood-carnuckles-gloucester-ma-2-copyright-kim-smith

The wattle (or dewlap) is the flap of skin under the beak. Caruncles are the wart-like bumps covering the tom’s head. What are referred to as the “major” caruncles are the large growths that lie beneath the wattle. When passions are aroused, the caruncles become engorged, turning brilliant red, and the snood is extended. The snood can grow twelve inches in a matter of moments. In the first photo below you can see the snood draped over the beak and in the second, a tom with an even longer snood.

eastern-wild-turkey-male-close-up-gloucester-ma-copyright-kim-smithIt’s all in the snood, the longer the snood, the more attractive the female finds the male.

eastern-wild-turkey-male-snood-extended-carnuckle-gloucester-ma-10-copyright-kim-smitheastern-wild-turkey-male-gloucester-ma-copyright-kim-smitheastern-wild-turkey-male-gloucester-ma-9-copyright-kim-smithMale Turkey not puffed up and snood retracted.

A young male turkey is called a jake and its beard is usually not longer than a few inches. The longer the beard, generally speaking, the older the turkey.

eastern-wild-turkey-male-beard-gloucester-ma-copyright-kim-smithMale Wild Turkey, with beard and leg spurs.

eastern-wild-turkey-males-snood-extended-retracted-gloucester-ma-copyright-kim-smithMale Wild Turkeys with snood extended (foreground) and snood retracted (background).

eastern-wild-turkey-male-tail-feathers-gloucester-ma-copyright-kim-smithWhen the butt end is prettier than the front end.

8643866_origIn case you are unsure on how to tell the difference between male (called tom or gobbler) and female (hen), compare the top two photos. The tom has a snood, large caruncles, carunculate (bumpy) skin around the face, and a pronounced beard. The hen does not. Gobblers also have sharp spurs on the back of their legs and hens do not.turkeycharacteristics

Read more here:

http://www.alankrakauer.org/?p=1108

http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2005/03/02_turkeys.shtml

http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/dfw/fish-wildlife-plants/wild-turkey-faq.html

TREE SWALLOWS MASSING

This short film is dedicated a dear friend who recently lost a beloved family member. Along with the tender melody by Jules Massenet, especially the last bits of footage, before the credits, made me think of angels and of hope.

  *   *   *

Over the course of the summer while filming the Piping Plover Family at Wingaersheek Beach, Tree Swallows began flocking in ever increasing numbers. They became part of the Piping Plover story not only because a Tree Swallow will occasionally dive bomb a Piping Plover, for whatever reason I am not entirely sure, but also because they are beautiful to observe, and occasionally, seemingly playful, too.

Songbirds that they are, Tree Swallows make a cheery chirping chatter. They have long narrow forked tails, all the better for gliding and for their signature aerial acrobatics. The male’s upper parts are a brilliant iridescent blue-green, the female’s somewhat duller, and both female and male have white underparts. The migrating juveniles are almost entirely brown with either white or pale grayish underparts.tree-swallows-gloucester-massachusetts-11-copyright-kim-smith

Tree Swallows breed in the wetlands and fields of Cape Ann. Their name comes from the species habit of nesting in tree cavities. Tree Swallows have benefited tremendously from efforts to help save the Eastern Bluebird because they also nest in the nest boxes built specifically for the Bluebirds.

Acrobatic aerialists, they twist and turn mid-flight to capture a wide variety of insects including butterflies, dragonflies, greenheads, bees, beetles, and wasps.tree-swallows-gloucester-massachusetts-copyright-kim-smithTree Swallows eating  insects on the beach and from the crevasses in the driftwood. 

Utilizing both fresh and saltwater to bathe, Tree Swallows have a unique habit of quickly dipping and then shaking off the excess water while flying straight upwards.

Tree Swallows begin migrating southward in July and August. The flocks that we see gathering on Cape Ann migrate along the Atlantic Flyway. They overwinter in the southern states of the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Unlike migrating species of butterflies, several generations of Tree Swallows migrate together, the older birds showing the younger birds the way.

Music composed by Jules Massenet: “Méditation” from Thaïs

MEET THE PIPING PLOVERS OF GOOD HARBOR BEACH

Work has begun in earnest sorting through all the Piping Plover footage and editing the documentary. In the mean time, I thought readers would enjoy this rare moment where we catch a glimpse of  the new born chicks, and both mom and dad together.

Impossibly tiny—no larger than a marshmallow—moments after hatching Piping Plover chicks are on the move, running, tumbling, somersaulting, face-planting, and curious about every little thing in their brand new great big world. PuffPuff, FluffFluff, and TootsiePop are less than twenty-four hours old in this clip. Our East Gloucester neighborhood kids named the Plover family after spending an afternoon getting to know them, watching safely from beyond the roped off area.

Dad Joe finds an impression in the sand and the chicks come running to warm under his protective wings. Piping Plover chicks can feed themselves at birth but can’t yet perfectly regulate their body temperature. They need Mom and Dad for protection and for the warmth they provide. After a few moments rest, Joe pops up and Joy zooms in to take his place. Watch how PuffPuff does a somersault and FluffFluff gives her a little bump out of their cozy nest. Mom runs off camera to create a new resting spot and the chicks are chided by piping calls to come join her.

In shades of bone and driftwood, note how beautifully the Plovers are camouflaged in the colors of the sand and dry beach grass. There isn’t a living thing that doesn’t pose a threat to these most vulnerable of creatures. For protection against predators they will soon learn how to stand perfectly still when Joe and Joy pipe commands, but for now, it’s willy-nilly around the beach, much to the parents great consternation.

Thanks to Esme, Lotus, Meadow, Frieda, and Ruby for naming the Piping Plover family!

piping-plover-chicks-babies-nestlings-male-female-copyright-kim-smithThe male Piping Plover is on the left, the female, on the right. The male’s little black forehead band makes it easy to distinguish between the two.

WILD, WET, AND WINDY!

Snapshots taken this morning at high tide during the nor’easter.noreaster-backshore-waves-2-gloucester-1-24-17-copyright-kim-smithnoreaster-backshore-waves-6-gloucester-1-24-17-copyright-kim-smith

#noreaster high tide Eastern Point #gloucesterma #scenesofnewengland

A post shared by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

#noreaster High Tide Eastern Point #gloucesterma #scenesofnewengland

#noreaster high tide Eastern Point #gloucesterma #scenesofnewengland

A post shared by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Boston Strong, Boston Beautiful, Boston Women’s March

boston-womens-march-gloucester-contingent-copyright-kim-smith

boston-womens-march-jason-sarah-matilda-grow-copyright-kim-smithThe day started with a wonderful chance meet up with Gloucester students and the Grow and Abrams-Dowd family. Thanks to both families for their kindness; I so enjoyed the train ride into town with Bo, Sarah, and Jason.

We were amongst the early birds arriving on the scene and it was tremendously exciting to see the preparations underway and the crowd swelling in number throughout the morning.

boston-womens-march-1-copyright-kim-smith

 

boston-womens-march-4-copyright-kim-smithboston-womens-march-manchester-essex-high-school-copyright-kim-smithManchester-Essex Contingency

The newest estimate is perhaps 175,000 attendees at an event where initially 25,000 were expected. The Boston Women’s March was one of over 600 peaceful rallies held around the world. Reportedly not a single arrest related to the march took place in Boston.

boston-womens-march-21-representative-ann-margaret-ferrante-copyright-kim-smithOur Representative Ann Margaret’s friendly face in the crowd.boston-womens-march-22-representative-ann-margaret-ferrante-copyright-kim-smith

People rallied for different reasons–for compassion and dignity towards others, equality and justice for all, for better stewardship of our environment, affordable healthcare, to protect women’s reproductive rights, for equal opportunity for the disabled–along with many other issues. The signs carried reflected all our concerns. For those who may be wondering why and to what end, I believe it is the coalescing of many movements into one and the beginning of a new world movement. Women are refusing to move backward and most assuredly, there is more to come.

boston-womens-march-7-copyright-kim-smithboston-womens-march-26-savannah-fox-tree-copyright-kim-smithFirst Nation’s Savannah Fox Tree stunned the crowd with her beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace, sung in both Cherokee and English.

boston-womens-march-19-pastor-mariama-white-hammond-copyright-kim-smithPastor Mariama White-Hammond from Bethel A.M.E. Church gave a compassionate sermon.

boston-womens-march-28-senator-elizabeth-warren-copyright-kim-smith-jpgSenator Elizabeth Warren

boston-womens-march-34-senator-ed-markey-copyright-kim-smith-jpgSenator Ed Markey

boston-womens-march-28-congressman-joseph-kennedy-iii-copyright-kim-smith-jpgCongressman Joseph Kennedy III – the pink haze on several photos is my camera’s lens trying to see through an ocean of pink pussy hats 🙂

boston-womens-march-12-mayor-marty-walsh-copyright-kim-smithBoston Mayor Marty Walsh

boston-womens-march-15-kristen-mccosh-and-john-copyright-kim-smithDisability Commissionr Kristen McCosh and husband John McCosh

The official program began with music and dance performances, followed by speeches given by our fiercest advocates. The march was to follow however, it was delayed by several hours because the planned route was overflowing with marchers. Participants were not just from the immediate Boston neighborhoods, but had come from all around the state. The Boston Common and streets surrounding the Common had become a sea of people. Despite the human gridlock, kindness and patience prevailed.

All photos copyright Kim Smithboston-womens-march-35-congressman-joseph-kennedy-iii-copyright-kim-smith-jpg


boston-womens-march-23-copyright-kim-smithboston-womens-march-9-copyright-kim-smith

boston-womens-march-24-copyright-kim-smithGridlock at the corner of Charles and Beacon Streets where two streams of marchers converged.

boston-womens-march-25-copyright-kim-smithBoston’s side streets were also jammed with marchers.

FREE Fantastic Book on How to “Hire a Ghostwriter”

FREE THIS WEEK ONLY

FANTASTIC BOOK “HIRE A GHOSTWRITER!”

My husband Tom has just published his newest ebook, Hire a Ghostwriter: The Complete Guide to Outsourcing Your Book. Based on his long experience as a professional ghostwriter, he wrote this concise guide for anyone who’s thinking about writing a book but doesn’t have the time or the expertise. Hire a Ghostwriter shows you how to hire a ghostwriter and work with them to create a book that will proudly bear your name.
 
The ebook is available on Amazon Kindle with a very special offer: For one week only, you can download it for free. Next week, the price will go up to $4.99 (still a bargain!). All Tom asks is that if you like the ebook, please leave a positive review on the ebook’s Amazon page, because positive reviews help the ebook rank higher. HERE IS THE LINK TO PURCHASE

hire-a-ghostwriter-tom-hauck