Category Archives: Gloucester

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.

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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

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#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.

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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.

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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

Cape Ann Wildlife: A Year in Pictures

snowy-owl-gloucester-massachusetts-c2a9kim-smith-2015My husband Tom suggested that I write a year-end post about the wildlife that I had photographed around Cape Ann. Super idea I thought, that will be fun and easy. Not realizing how daunting and many hours later, the following is a collection of some favorite images from this past year, beginning with the male Snowy Owl photographed at Captain Joe’s dock last winter, to December’s Red-tailed Hawk huntress.
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Living along the great Atlantic Flyway, we have been graced with a bevy of birds. Perhaps the most exciting arrival of all occurred when early summer brought several pairs of nesting Piping Plovers to Gloucester’s most beloved (and most highly trafficked) of beaches, Good Harbor Beach. Their story is being documented on film.

piping-plovers-chicks-nestlings-babies-kim-smithWork on Mr. Swan’s film will also resume this January—the winters are simply not long enough for all I have planned!swan-outstretched-wings-niles-pond-coyright-kim-smith

While photographing and filming Red-winged Blackbirds this past spring, there was a face-to-face encounter with a hungry coyote, as well as several River Otter sightings.

female-red-winged-blackbird-copyright-kim-smitrhFemale Red-winged Blackbirdeastern-coyote-massachusetts-kim-smith

The summer’s drought brought Muskrats out from the reeds and into full view at a very dry Henry’s Pond, and a short film about a North American Beaver encounter at Langsford Pond. Numerous stories were heard from folks who have lived on Cape Ann far longer than I about the extraordinary number of egrets, both Snowy and Great, dwelling on our shores.
three-muskrat-family-massachusetts-copyright-kim-smithThree Muskrateers
female-monarch-depositing-eggs-1-copyright-kim-smithnewly-emerged-monarch-butterfly-copyright-kim-smith-jpgThere were few Monarch sightings, but the ones seen thankfully deposited eggs in our garden. Thank you to my new friend Christine who shared her Cecropia Silkmoth eggs with me and thank you to the countless readers who have extended an invitation to come by and photograph an exciting creature in their yard.

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Pristine beaches, bodies of fresh water, and great swathes of protected marsh and woodland make for ideal wildlife habitat, and Cape Ann has it all. With global climate change pushing species further away from the Equator, I imagine we’ll be seeing even more creatures along our shores. Butterfly and bee populations are overall in decline, not only because of climate change and the use of pesticides, but also because of loss of habitat. As Massachusetts has become less agrarian and more greatly forested, fields of wildflowers are becoming increasingly rare. And too fields often make the best house lots. Farmers and property owners developing an awareness of the insects’ life cycle and planting and maintaining fields and gardens accordingly will truly help the butterflies and bees.
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Thank you to all our readers for your kind comments of appreciation throughout the year for the beautiful wild creatures with which we share this gorgeous peninsula called Cape Ann.

The images are not arranged in any particular order. If you’d like to read more about a particular animal, type the name of the animal in the search box and the original post should come up.

I wonder what 2017 will bring?

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