Category Archives: Gloucester

PARTY SNAPSHOTS FROM MAYOR SEFATIA’S FABULOUS SCHOONER FESTIVAL WELCOME RECEPTION

The Mayor’s Schooner Festival Welcoming Reception was a fantastic success and wonderful fun. Maritime Gloucester’s dock was overflowing with Schooner Fest friends, well-wishers, and organizers. I think it was the most well attended ever and speaks to the growing success of Gloucester’s Schooner Festival (and to our Mayor’s charisma!).

Mayor Sefatia welcomed Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Karen Polito, Schooner Bluenose II Captain Phil Watson, and both Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante and State Senator Bruce Tarr were in attendance.

Schooner Bluenose II Captain Watson and Captain Mark Ring of the FV Stanley Thomas

The Schooner Festival Committee is simply amazing. Below are listed the members of the committee. When you see any one of these super heroic volunteers around town, tell them thank you for the tremendous job they are doing in producing annually Gloucester’s uniquely beautiful and spectacular Schooner Festival.

Peter Bent, Daisy Nell, and Captain Stan

Gloucester Schooner Festival Committee:

Daisy Nell, Chair, Tracy Arabian, Peter Bent, Alan Bezanson, Ed Boynton, John Borzerelli, Harold Burnham, Jim Caulkett, Elizabeth Carey, TJ Ciarametaro, Charlie Clark, Stan Collinson, Michael Costello, Jo-Anne Crawford,  Lee Cunningham, Michaell De Koster, Carol Decker, Stefan Edick, Heath Ellis, Tom Ellis, Chad Johnson, Michael Lipton, James Lowell, Laura Lowell, Amanda Madeira, Allie McCarthy, John McCarthy, Judith Nast, Barry Pett, Christopher Ramsden, Brett Ramsey, Courtney Richardson, Ken Riehl, Suzanne Silveira , Russ Smith, Chris Stepler, Mary Kay Taylor, Brenda Treuhaft.

The Gloucester Schooner Festival committee thanks the following organizations for their tremendous support.

Art Harbor, b*true promotions,  Beauport Hospitality Group, Brown’s Yacht YardCape Ann Brewing CompanyCape Ann Chamber of Commerce, Cape Ann Museum,  Cape Ann Transportation AuthorityCape Ann YMCAThe Causeway RestaurantCity of Gloucester, MAThe Cricket PressCruiseport GloucesterEastern Point Yacht ClubEssex Radio & TV , Essex Shipbuilding MuseumFirst Ipswich Bank, Gaybrook Garage, Gloucester House Restaurant, The Gerondelis Foundation, Gloucester DPW,  The Gloucester Fund, Gloucester Harbormaster, Gloucester Police Department, Gloucester Rental CenterGood Morning GloucesterGorton’s of Gloucester , Intershell, Jodrey State Fish Pier, Maritime Gloucester, Market Basket , Mortillaro Lobster,  Donald Mosher GalleryNorth SailsThe Pewter ShopRose’s Marine , Russell OrchardsRyan & Wood Distilleries,  Schooner Adventure ,  Schooner Ardelle , Schooner Thomas E. LannonSea Scouts North Shore Ship 5,  Seafood Display Auction, Seaside GraphicsThe ShedTD BankTurtle Alley, USCG Cutter Grand Isle, USCG Sector Boston, and USCG Station Gloucester.

Visit the Gloucester Schooner Festival website here.

To donate, click here.

 

WELCOME SCHOONERS!

These beautiful baskets are donated by the Schooner Festival Committee and include not only fresh fruit, but freshly baked bread from Virgilios and handmade chocolates from Turtle Alley. The Ramsey’s deliver each basket, via boat, to every participating schooner on Friday afternoon. It’s no wonder schooners from around the globe love to come to Gloucester.
Brett Ramsey readying to deliver schooner welcome baskets (Ellen Ramsey adds this is a 1967 Chevy truck, in case any one was wondering).

Brett Ramsey Photo

PIPING PLOVERS ON THE AGENDA: PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF MEETING LOCATION FOR THE ANIMAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING THURSDAY NIGHT

Animal Advisory Committee Meeting Thursday, August 23rd, at 6:30. This meeting is being held at the Friend Room at the Sawyer Free Library. 

Lest anyone has forgotten, a beautiful pair of Piping Plovers tried to establish a nest on Good Harbor Beach during the month of April. Time and time again, they were disrupted by dogs–dogs off leash on on-leash days, dogs running through the nesting area, and bird dogs chasing the birds up and down the shoreline. This was witnessed multiple times during the month of April by the Piping Plover volunteer monitors.

Piping Plovers face many man made problems and natural predators however, the two greatest threats at Good Harbor Beach are dogs and crows. Changing the ordinance on Good Harbor Beach to help the Piping Plovers will at the very least allow them to nest in their natural environment. Our parking lot nesting pair were extremely stressed having to defend both territories, the parking lot nest and their roped off territory. Please let Mayor Sefatia and city councilors know that you support the change in ordinance to restrict dogs on Good Harbor Beach during the month of April.

Thank you for your help!

The following series of photos shows why it is so critically important to not allow dogs on Good Harbor Beach during shorebird nesting season, which begins April 1st on most Massachusetts beaches.

Early April and our returning Good Harbor Beach Dad begins making nest scrapes.

He invites Mom to come inspect his handiwork.

She tries the nest on for size and approves! Mom appears plump and ready to begin laying eggs.

Mid-April and after days of dogs running through the nesting area, the Piping Plovers are discovered standing on the white lines in the GHB parking lot.

Dad begins making nest scrapes on the painted white lines in the parking lot gravel.

With fewer cars in the lot during the month of April, the PiPl determine the lot is safer than the beach. They give up trying to nest on the beach and concentrate solely on the parking lot nest.

Dad invites Mom to inspect the parking lot nest scrape.

She begins laying eggs in the parking lot (four total).

 

GLOUCESTER DPW ROCKIN THE NEW FENCING AT GOOD HARBOR BEACH!

Check out the awesome new dune fencing recently installed at Good Harbor Beach by our DPW crew. The wire fencing runs along the length of the beach. The DPW did an outstanding job, very neat and unobtrusive.

Dune fencing plays an important role in reducing erosion. One of the main benefits of dune fencing is to help keep pets and people out of the dunes. Why is it detrimental to the dunes to allow uncontrolled dogs to run through the dunes and for people to use the dunes to access the parking lot, or worse, as their personal toilet? Repeated traffic through the dunes damages and kills the plants growing in the dunes. Plants help control erosion by stabilizing soil and sediments with their roots. Dune vegetation helps break the impact of of wave splash and rain, and also traps sand to help build up the dunes.

The fencing material installed by the DPW is an excellent choice for nesting shorebirds. This year especially, with much of the beach vegetation washed away and with the beach greatly narrowed, the Piping Plover adults and chicks had learned to use the area behind the old wire fencing for shade and to hide from predators. The open fencing still allows for small wild creatures to go in and out of the holes to find shelter and safety at the base of the dune.

Pip snuggled under Mama PiPl

Thank you Gloucester DPW for a super job well done!

Adult Piping Plovers and chicks found shelter along the wire fencing (the Bachelor left, and Mama and Pip, right).

OUTSTANDING COASTAL WATERBIRD CONSERVATION COOPERATORS MEETING!

Piping Plover Chick Lift-off! – Not quite ready to fly yet, but testing his wings and airborne for a few seconds.

On Tuesday this past week my friend Deborah and I attended the Coastal Waterbird Conservation Cooperators meeting, which took place at Cape Cod Community College in Barnstable. The meeting is held annually to bring together people and organizations that are involved with population monitoring and conservation efforts on behalf of coastal waterbirds. Threatened and endangered species such as Least Terns, Piping Plovers, and American Oystercatchers are given the greatest attention, while the meeting also encompasses efforts on behalf of heron, cormorant, and egret species.

American Oystercatchers

Conservationists from all seven Massachusetts coastal regions participated, as well as conservationists from nearby states, including representatives from New Jersey, Maine, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. To name just some of the organizations presenting at the meeting-Mass Wildlife, Trustees of Reservations, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and US Fish and Wildlife. Gloucester was well represented. In addition to Deborah and myself, two members of the Animal Advisory Committee also attended; chairperson Alicia Pensarosa and former animal control officer Diane Corliss. Many of you may remember our Mass Wildlife Piping Plover intern Jasmine. She was there to give a presentation on habitat vegetation utilized by nesting Piping Plovers. Her aunt, Gloucester’s Terry Weber, was there to support Jasmine. This was Jasmine’s first time speaking in public and she did an excellent job!

Each region gave the 2018 population census report for nesting birds as well as providing information about problems and solutions. We all share similar challenges with predation from crows and gulls, uncontrolled dogs, enforcement, and habitat loss and it was very interesting to learn about how neighboring communities are managing problems and issues.

Just one highlight of a day filled with helpful insights and useful information is that we can be very proud of our state—Massachusetts is at the leading edge of the Piping Plover recovery effort. The representative from New Jersey was there specifically to learn from Massachusetts conservationists on how they could possibly improve their recovery program as the New Jersey PiPl population is not growing, with fewer and fewer each year retuning to nest. As you can see from the graph provided at the meeting, the Canadian recovery is going very poorly as well.

Readers will be interested to know that our region’s Crane Beach continues to have one of their best year’s ever. Trustees of Reservations Jeff Denoncour shared information on the latest census data from 2018 and Crane’s has a whopping 76 fledglings, with 25 more chicks still yet to fledge. Because of the huge success at Cranes Beach, the northeast region, of which we are a part, has fledged a total 136 of chicks in 2018, compared to 108 in 2017, and as I said, with more fledglings still to come! The northeast region encompasses Salisbury Beach to the Boston Harbor Islands.

Jeff noted that this year they had less predation by Great Horned Owls. Because of owl predation, several years ago Crane Beach gave up on the wire exclosures and now use electric fencing extensively. The Great Horned Owls learned that the Piping Plover adults were going in an out of the exclosures and began perching on the edge of the wire, picking off the adults as they were entering and exiting the exclosure.

Crane has an excellent crew of Trustees staff monitoring the Least Terns and Piping Plovers, as well as excellent enforcement by highly trained police officers. No dogs are allowed on Crane Beach during nesting season and dogs are prevented from entering at the guarded gate. As we saw from one of the graphics presented about nesting Double-crested Cormorants, when a dog runs through a nesting area, the adults leave the nest, temporarily leaving the eggs and chicks vulnerable to predation by crows, gulls, raptors, and owls.

Crane Beach Least Tern fledgling.

Compare the Least Tern to the Common Tern in the above photo. It’s easy to see why the birds are called Least Terns; they are North America’s smallest member of the tern and gull family (Crane Beach).

Another interesting bit of information shared–if you listen to our podcasts, back in April, we talked about the potential dilemma of what would happen if Snowy Owls remained on the beaches as the Piping Plovers returned from their winter grounds. Knowing that Snowy Owls (Bubo scandiacus) and Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus) are close cousins and that the Great Horned Owl eats Piping Plover chicks and adults, I was concerned that a Snowy might eat our PiPl. At one particular beach on Cape Cod, a Snowy stayed through mid-July. An adult Piping Plover skull was found in the owl’s pellet.

Snowy Owls remained in Massachusetts this year through July.

After attending the cooperators meeting, I am more hopeful than ever that our community can come together and solve the problems that are preventing our PiPl from successfully nesting and fledging chicks. What we have going in our favor is the sheer number of amazing super volunteers along with strong community-wide support.  

Piping Plover fully fledged and flying up and down the beach – we”ll have these next year, I am sure!

ANIMAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING TONIGHT

Animal Advisory Committee meeting tonight at 6:30 at City Hall: Piping Plovers on the Agenda

Photo of Great Blue Herons, because we share the shore with herons, too 🙂