Category Archives: Good News!

HAPPY FOURTH! AND OUR LITTLE CHICK AND DAD SURVIVED DYNAMITE AND FIREWORKS

It’s the Wild West at Good Harbor Beach in the evening, even more so this year with coronavirus. Last night we heard an explosion so loud I didn’t believe it was fireworks. This morning at the entrance to the footbridge there was evidence of fireworks but I don’t know if this is what caused that extraordinary boom.

As are many wild and domesticated animals, Piping Plovers are extremely frightened by fireworks and I was just praying both would still be in their protected area. To make matters worse, there were remains of fireworks surrounding their home base area.

Gratefully so, both Dad and Little Chick were present and just fine. The pair made a beeline for the Creek as soon as they heard the raking machine. Our PiPls have caught a tiny bit of a break with the overcast Fourth of July weather, hopefully cloudy skies will continue throughout the weekend.

Do you think someone actually carted the lifeguard chair down to the Beach Club or did the tide carry it?

ONE WEEK MILESTONE FOR OUR LITTLE CHICK!!!

Good Morning PiPl Friends!

Whether the chick hatched last Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning, today marks the one week milestone. His chance of survival improves exponentially. That is not to say we aren’t needed as much, just that the chick is getting better at listening to the adult’s piping voice commands and growing smarter and more savvy everyday.

Sue and Jonathan – I don’t recall the protective exclosure being removed this close to hatching in past years but will try to find out why.

Did not see the beach raker this morning before leaving, but did clean the PiPl and Creek side of the beach and it looks good- I am getting a break with the amount of trash left behind because the rain is keeping folks away 🙂

This morning I arrived later than usual and while crossing the footbridge, one of our GHB Red Foxes ran through the roped off area. Even though far off, I could hear an adult piping the danger call very loudly and saw a flash of feathers trying to lead the Fox away from their home base. Then the Fox stopped to eat something? Thankfully it wasn’t one of our PiPls, but it took me another half hour to locate all three. There were no bones or feathers where he had been chowing down, and he ran off empty-mouthed, so I don’t have a clue as to what he was eating. Love our Red Fox family, but they sure are a worry as far as the PiPls are concerned!

Have a great day everyone and so thankful for all your help and interest!
xxKim

CAN YOU FIND THREE OF THE FOUR CHICKS IN THE PHOTO TAKEN THS MORNING?

It’s nearly impossible to see these two-day-old tiny cotton ball-sized PiPl chicks, especially on a foggy morning.

All four chicks are present and accounted for. One appears to have hatched within the past several hours so he’ll be the one who will always be a bit smaller.

The gulls are an issue, more so this year because the area is so much larger than in the past and it has become a safe haven for them as well. Also, I think because there are fewer people, which means less picnicking, which means less food for them, but still the same amount of beaks and bellies to fill. They were not acting predatory yesterday afternoon when I was watching them, just very distressing for the adults.

Yesterday morning I wrote Dave about the apparently abandoned Salt Island nest. No adults have been seen on that nest since Sunday. There are a multitude of reasons why that may be, but they were again not on the nest this morning. Just waiting to hear from Dave about what to do with the eggs and dismantling the exclosure.

Have a super day :
Thank you!
Kim

TONIGHT! TRY BACKYARD BIRDING – FAMILY ZOOM EVENT – SOME OF THE BEAUTIFUL WINGED WONDERS SEEN IN OUR GLOUCESTER NEIGHBORHOOD DURING THE SPRING OF 2020 including Red-neck Grebe, Cedar Waxwings, Northern Flicker, Dowitchers, Eagles, Palm Warbler, Kingbird, Long-tailed Ducks, Tree Swallows, Chickadees, Mockingbird, Robin, Catbird, Cardinal, Finches, Orioles, Egrets, Grackles, and Swan, Kildeer, Eider, PiPl Chicks, and More!!

Try Backyard Birding – Please join John Nelson, Martin Ray, and myself for a virtual zoom hour of fun talk about birding in your own backyard. We’ll be discussing a range of bird related topics and the event is oriented to be family friendly and hosted by Eric Hutchins.

I am a bit under the weather but nonetheless looking forward to sharing this wonderful event sponsored by Literary Cape Ann.

Singing the praises of Cape Ann’s winged aerialists

Families are invited to join some of our favorite local naturalists and authors —  John Nelson, Kim Smith and Martin Ray — for a fun hour talking about the many birds and natural habitats found on Cape Ann. Wildlife biologist Eric Hutchins will moderate this-one hour conversation.

Zoom in Friday, June 19, at 6:30 p.m. for an hour of fun as you celebrate the long-awaited summer solstice. See and hear birds, ask questions, learn some birdwatching tips and discover ways to document your bird sightings using your camera, notebook, blog or sketch pad.

This event is brought to you by Literary Cape Ann, a nonprofit group that provides information and events that support and reinforce the value and importance of the literary arts. LCA commemorates Toad Hall bookstore’s 45 years of service on Cape Ann. LCA’s generous sponsors include: SUN Engineering in Danvers, Bach Builders in Gloucester and The Institution for Savings.

Use this link: 
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81423552319?pwd=VU5LU21Ga09wVE5QYWpsRnlhRCtFUT09

 

All the photos you see here were taken in my East Gloucester neighborhood this past spring, from March 17th to this morning. A few were taken at the Jodrey Fish Pier, but mostly around Eastern Point, Good Harbor Beach, and in our own backyard. The Tree Swallows photos were taken at Greenbelt’s Cox Reservation. Several of these photos I have posted previously this spring but most not.

I love sharing about the beautiful species we see in our neighborhood – just this morning I was photographing Mallard ducklings, an Eastern Cottontail that hopped right up to me and ate his breakfast of beach pea foliage only several feet away, a Killdeer family, a male Cedar Waxwing feeding a female, and a Black Crowned Night Heron perched on a rock. I was wonderfully startled when a second BCN flew in. The pair flew off and landed at a large boulder, well hidden along the marshy edge of the pond. They hung out together for a bit- maybe we’ll see some little Black Crowned Night Herons later this summer ❤

 

 

OUR SALT ISLAND PIPING PLOVER FAM HAS A SECOND EGG IN THE NEST!

The most tenacious of Piping Plover pairs has a second egg in their nest!

For the next few days you may see them on and off the nest. The pair won’t start brooding full time until all the eggs are laid. The reason being is that the hatchlings are precocial, which means active from birth. The parents want the chicks to hatch as closely together as possible so the tiny rockets zooming around the beach are more easily managed. The difference in a PiPl day old hatchling and a PiPl week old chick in human years is like trying to look after a newborn and a precocious preteen simultaneously.

Salt Island Family Mom briefly on nest this morning.

SI Dad at the shoreline foraging at sunrise.

Piping Plovers take about a week to complete the nest and lay all their eggs (sometimes two eggs or three or five, but most often four eggs). If they started brooding one egg full time, that egg would hatch a week earlier than the last egg laid, which would spell disaster for a precocial chick. Observing PiPl chicks that had hatched twenty-four hours apart was hard enough on the parents, let alone a week apart!

If you stop by to see the PiPls on the beach, please bear in mind they are working hard at completing their nest and laying eggs. Please don’t hover around the roped off areas or when you see the birds on the shore. Trust me, hovering attracts gulls and crows. Both species are smart and I’ve seen over and over again how human interest in the PiPls  attracts these super predators to the nesting sites. Additionally, hovering around the adults off the nest stymies courtship and mating as well. Have a look with binoculars or take photo or two with a long lens and move on, especially when with more than one adult.

Thank you so much for your consideration!

Good Harbor Beach Salt Island Family Two Eggs June 16, 2020

Saratoga Creek Family Dad brooding this am

Sunrise and Crescent Moon rising today

 

SINGING THE PRAISES OF CAPE ANN’S WINGED AERIALISTS- Please join Kim Smith, John Nelson, and Martin Ray for a fun zoom hour of conversation!

Please join John Nelson, Martin Ray, and myself for an hour of talk about the many birds and habitats found on Cape Ann. The event is hosted by Literary Cape Ann and will be moderated by Eric Hutchins, Gulf of Maine Habitat Restoration Coordinator for NOAA.

From Literary Cape Ann’s newsletter-

TRY BIRDING IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD!

Singing the praises of Cape Ann’s winged aerialists

Families are invited to join some of our favorite local naturalists and authors —  John Nelson, Kim Smith and Martin Ray — for a fun hour talking about the many birds and natural habitats found on Cape Ann. Wildlife biologist Eric Hutchins will moderate this-one hour conversation.

Zoom in this coming Friday, June 19, at 6:30 p.m. for an hour of fun as you celebrate the long-awaited summer solstice. See and hear birds, ask questions, learn some birdwatching tips and discover ways to document your bird sightings using your camera, notebook, blog or sketch pad.

This event is brought to you by Literary Cape Ann, a nonprofit group that provides information and events that support and reinforce the value and importance of the literary arts. LCA commemorates Toad Hall bookstore’s 45 years of service on Cape Ann. LCA’s generous sponsors include: SUN Engineering in Danvers, Bach Builders in Gloucester and The Institution for Savings.

Use this link next Friday: 
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81423552319?pwd=VU5LU21Ga09wVE5QYWpsRnlhRCtFUT09

Order books by our guest authors at The Bookstore of Gloucester. For those interested, bird books make great Father’s Day gifts. Further down in this newsletter, you’ll find lots of great information about books and birdwatching organizations.

Thank you, Kim Smith and Martin Ray, for providing us with some of your beautiful photography to help promote this event. And thank you, John Nelson, for the annotated lists of books and birding organizations.
Meet our panel!

Meet our panel!

Artist, author/blogger, and naturalist Martin Ray will talk about maintaining his fine blog, “Notes from Halibut Point,” and share stories discovered in that magical place.

Filmmaker, naturalist, and activist Kim Smith will share her own adventures chronicling Cape Ann’s vibrant bird life including the work she does advocating for the endangered piping plovers that nest at Good Harbor Beach.

Author-naturalist John Nelson will start things off with some birdwatching basics before getting into a few stories about local birds, their habits and habitats from his new book, “Flight Calls: Exploring Massachusetts through Birds.”

Our moderator, Eric Hutchins, is the Gulf of Maine Habitat Restoration Coordinator for the NOAA Restoration Center located in Gloucester. He  has worked as both a commercial fisherman and government biologist on domestic and foreign fishing vessels throughout the Northeast and Alaska.

Books by our speakers are available through The Bookstore of Gloucester:

Martin Ray
“Cape Ann Narratives of Art in Life” — A collection of interviews and images tracing the creative lives of 28 contemporary artists.
“Quarry Scrolls” (2018)— 24 photographs of Halibut Point natural life and scenes with accompanying Haiku poems

Kim Smith:
“Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities!” — Written and illustrated by Kim Smith.

John Nelson:
“Flight Calls: Exploring Massachusetts through Birds”

More books, recommended by John Nelson:

  1. Sibley, David. The Sibley Guide to Birds
  2. Kroodsma, Donald. The Singing Life of Birds. 2005. On the science and art of listening to birds, by a professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts and a foremost authority on bird vocalizations.
  3. Leahy, Christopher, John Hanson Mitchell, and Thomas Conuel. The Nature of Massachusetts. 1996. An excellent introduction to the natural history of Massachusetts by three prominent Mass Audubon Society naturalist-authors.
  4. Sibley, David. What It’s Like to Be a Bird. 2020. Just published, a study of what birds are doing and why, by a longtime Massachusetts resident and renowned author/illustrator of a series of bird and nature guides.
  5. Weidensaul, Scott. Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds. 2000. A Pulitzer Prize finalist study of bird migration by the naturalist and author of Return to Wild America, the subject of his memorable 2020 BBC lecture.
  6. Zickefoose, Julie. Baby Birds: An Artist Looks into the Nest. 2016. Where art meets natural history, by a talented author/artist, former student of biological anthropology at Harvard, and keynote speaker at the 2014 Massachusetts Birders Meeting.

If you’d like to learn more or get involved in the birding life, here are some recommendations from John Nelson:

An excellent overall resource is the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website, especially the “All About Birds” sections, which includes free access to the MaCauley Library (the country’s best collection of vocalizations of birds and other animals), the free Merlin bird identification app, live bird cams, and other resources for beginners and intermediates. Some programs, like their “Joy of Birdwatching” course, require an enrollment fee, but many of their resources are free to anyone.

For bird conservation, the most active national organizations are the American Bird Conservancy and National Audubon. For state bird conservation, Mass Audubon (not affiliated with National Audubon) is most active and the best source of information, but many other organizations are involved in preservation of habitats, often with a local focus.

For birding field trips, Mass Audubon and the Brookline Bird Club both offer frequent trips at different seasons to Cape Ann, sometimes for just a morning, sometimes for a whole day. Both organizations welcome novices, and both have trip leaders who make an effort to be particularly helpful to beginners. Mass Audubon trips, generally sponsored by MAS Ipswich River or MAS Joppa Flats, require advance registration and some payment.

Brookline Bird Club trips are free, without any registration, but regular participants are encouraged to join the club with $15 as the annual dues. The name of the BBC is misleading; the club originated in Brookline in 1913 but is now one of the largest, most active clubs in the country and offers field trips across and beyond Massachusetts.

John Nelson is on the BBC Board of Directors and leads a few Cape Ann trips in both winter and spring. John reminds us that this is a strange time for beginners, since Mass Audubon has cancelled many field trips and the BBC has cancelled all trips through June, but eventually field trips will open up again, especially in places where social distancing is most possible.

The very active Facebook page, Birding Eastern Mass, has over 2,000 subscribers, from novice birders to experts. It’s a great site for sharing bird photos.

 

About Birding in Our Backyard

This Zoom event is for friends and families who are looking for safe, fun things to do close to home. Cape Ann’s abundance of natural wonders are here for us to enjoy and protect. Try chronicling your experiences in a new blog or a photo journal.

• • •

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.
— John Muir, from “Our National Parks”

SUPER EXCITING NEWS – THERE ARE NOW TWO PAIRS OF PIPING PLOVERS NESTING AT GOOD HARBOR BEACH!

Educate, Not Enforce!

Please consider becoming a Good Harbor Beach Piping Plover Ambassador this summer. We are looking for volunteers who can commit to one hour a day, from the time the chicks hatch to the time they fledge, which is approximately one month. Our first family of Good Harbor Beach chicks may hatch as early as June 23rd. Many of the morning times are filled, so we are especially looking for help mid-day, afternoon, and early evenings if you can lend a hand. Thank you! HERE IS THE LINK WITH MORE INFORMATION

This morning the awesome Dave Rimmer and his assistant Mike Galli installed an exclosure at the area we call #1 (because it is closer to boardwalk #1). I write “awesome” because Dave Rimmer is Director of Land Stewardship at Essex County Greenbelt Association and for the fifth year in a row, he has lent his experience and expertise at absolutely NO CHARGE $$ to the City of Gloucester. We all owe Dave and Greenbelt huge thanks of appreciation. Thank you once again Dave for your kind assistance.

The exclosure was quickly and efficiently assembled and sledge hammered into place. Would the young pair accept the wire exclosure? It looked dicey for about half an hour or so. I had Charlotte with me and had to leave but a short time later, Dave texted that they were back on the nest. In all his years of installing exclosures  (30 plus), only one pair has ever rejected an exclosure.

This nest with currently one egg is located in an extremely open site and not at all where expected. It is their fourth attempt at a serious nest. The first was up by the dune edge in a nicely camouflaged location but as it was not symbolically roped off, it was visibly disturbed by people and pets. Their next nest was located in the roped off area at #1 and that sweet nest had two eggs. Sadly, the eggs disappeared from the nest. The third active nest scrape was actually in the dunes but unfortunately again that was disturbed by people, this time by people going along their same path to go to the bathroom in the dunes. So this fourth nest is in a most open spot and not entirely safe from a stormy high tide.

New nest location, with no protective vegetation

Our Salt Island pair mating and nest scraping, with one egg.

June 15th is late in the year to begin a new nest but it happens often enough. Last year I filmed a PiPl family nesting in July, with three eggs. The nest gets hot as the summer progresses, but the adults were very smart about brooding. They would stand over the nest, not actually sitting on it, which provided shade from the melting sun, without their additional body heat. The adults were also panting to keep cool in the heat. One chick was lost in a storm, but two survived to fledge and the Dad stayed with them the entire time.

In the photos above you can see the PiPl heat wave brooding technique.

I think we should change the names of the nests to the Creek Family and the Salt Island Family. It sounds a lot more personable than #3 and #1. What do you think?

BEAUTY BY THE SEA WITH PIPING PLOVERS MATING! AND WE HAVE TWO PIPING PLOVER EGGS!!! EPISODE 8

Happy Memorial Day!

The flags that you see lining the boulevard are organized each year by Pauline Bresnihan. She owns the gift shop Pauline’s Giftson Essex Avenue in Gloucester, with many lovely hand painted and whimsical items for your home and garden.

Good Harbor Beach open to half capacity.

Piping Plover endangered/threatened species signs installed at GHB.

Sending thanks and gratitude to everyone who wrote emails ❤

Piping Plovers are on the agenda for the City Council meeting on Tuesday night, which will be live streamed at 7pm.

Alexandra and Jon at Alexandra’s Bread

Castaways Vintage Café

Caffe Sicilia

Short and Main

Beauport Hotel

Incredible job at Fisherman’s Wharf Gloucester

Tree Peony, Rock’s peony, divinely scented,five blossoms

Please report your Monarch sightings. .

Piping Plover Chronicles continue –excellent detailed footage of Piping Plovers mating.

Two Eggs!

A GUIDE TO AGING BALD EAGLES

So very curious about the Bald Eagle that I photographed last week, a quick google search led to some very handy images and websites. I’m still not sure exactly how old is the one that I have been seeing but after searching, I’d say it was three and half years old. Bald Eagles don’t gain their pure white heads and tails, intensely yellow eyes, and overall dark brown plumage until they are five years old.

A side note- You can’t tell the difference between male and female unless side by side; the females are slightly larger.

These were the most helpful websites for aging Bald Eagles:

How to Age and Identify a Juvenile and Sub-Adult Bald Eagle

Several years ago, a juvenile Bald Eagle was at Niles Pond. After looking through the images, I would think it was a Basic II Plumage, about two and half years old, when the photos were taken.

Bald Eagle Niles Pond Gloucester

STARRY FLOWERS LIGHTING THE WOODLAND EDGE

My friend Morgan recently wrote to ask about a tree in full bloom that she is seeing on her hikes around the quarries. She sent along some great photos.

Morgan Faulds Pike Photos

I think the tree is our native Amelanchier canadensis. There are several species of Amelanchiers native to Massachusetts but A. canadensis is the most commonly seen and most hardy for our region.  Amelanchier  goes by more than a few common names including Junebush, Juneberry, Serviceberry, Canada Serviceberry, Shadbush, and Shadblow. It flowers when the shad is running and fruits in June. The name Serviceberry comes because it blooms early, as soon as the ground starts to thaw, and in old New England, people weren’t able to dig graves and bury the dead until after winter. Arrangements of Serviceberry flowers accompanied many early spring funerals.

Shadblow (my favorite common name) bears delicious small deep red to blue-purple fruits. You’ll barely get to sample one though because they are a songbird favorite. To plant Shadblow, gather seeds and plant in fall so the seeds will experience a cold period. Grow in full sun or light shade in moist well-drained soil. 

Amelanchier canadensis attracts Cedar Waxwings, Baltimore Orioles, Catbirds, Bluebirds, Cardinals, Robins, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, woodpeckers, thrushes, and a great many other birds that feed on its fruit. Spring blossoms attract pollinators and other insects, which also provide food for our native songbirds.

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Wiki Commons Media photos

BRILLIANT GOLDEN ORANGE ORIOLES IN OUR GARDEN !


Right on cue, the Orioles arrived to our garden this week. Each spring we are graced with a small flock, but not until the pear and crabapple trees come into flower. The Orioles have a sweetly distinct melodious call that draws you to them. When I looked out the back door, the brilliantly feathered friends were hanging every which way as they dangled from branches while drinking nectar from the pear blossoms, and they were also enjoying bowls of fresh orange juice.

Back in the day when there were many more orchards, and orchards trees planted in people’s gardens, New England would see many more Orioles. Perhaps with the growing local farm to table movement, the Oriole population will increase. Wouldn’t that be wonderful 🙂

The Orioles weren’t the only frugivores dining on the orange halves. We often leave berries out for our resident Catbird family, and they too were loving the juicy oranges.

Don’t you love this idea- Thanks to my friend Robin for posting on Facebook. It took all of two minutes to set up. Three bamboo stake and an elastic. The squirrels have been making a mess of the orange halves in bowls. They haven’t quite figured out how to abscond with the oranges in the bamboo stakes.

Frugivorous Bird Species

Frugivorous is pronounced similarly to “deliver us.”

Many birds such as Cedar Waxwings eat fruit. Other species such Orioles show a strong preference for fruit but also eat significant quantities of other foods.

Other birds that sample fruit consistently, even if they aren’t entirely frugivorous, include:

Blackbirds, grackles, and magpies

Chickadees, tits, and titmice
Grosbeaks and tanagers
Kingbirds and vireos
Thrushes, mockingbirds, and thrashers
Quail, grouse, and pheasants
Wild turkeys
Woodpeckers
Wrens

Plant flowering and fruiting trees, and they will come

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SYMMETRICALLY ALIGNED TWIN LIGHTHOUSE SUNRISE

 

Sunrise between Twin Lights, Thacher Island

BALD EAGLE VS OSPREY SKY DRAMA

On a weekly basis I have been noticing a morning battle taking place between two large raptors. The shrill calls alert me to look up at the sky however, the fights generally take place so far off shore I was never entirely sure what was happening.

This morning the two briefly flew overhead. The larger of the pair was a juvenile Bald Eagle and it was in hot pursuit of an Osprey with a fish clutched tightly in its talons. Back over the water they flew, far, far off, too far to take any more good photos, but not so far that I could not see the fish still in the Ospreys clutches. A few moments later the Eagle returned empty-taloned.

Score- Osprey 1, Bald Eagle 0. Will keep you updated if I am again fortunate enough to see the pair flying overhead.

WE LOVE AND MISSED YOU FRANKLIN CAPE ANN!

Last night we tried Franklin Cape Ann’s online ordering and curbside pick up. Ordering was a breeze  no funky disconnect as we have experienced at other restaurants, and pick up was a snap.

Our fantastic dinner last night –

Tom had the baked haddock with green beans and garlicky mashed potatoes, which he raved about.

I had the Franklin’s fabulous grilled calamari (the best in town, truly), which is served with white beans and lightly dressed fresh greens.

We shared a delightfully delicious crispy eggplant, tomato, and mozzarella salad.

I inquired, and in a few weeks, they may bring back their world famous orange creme caramel. YUMM!! Everything was perfectly cooked and warm when it arrived home, too. Ten Stars!!

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CALL TO ACTION: GLOUCESTER PLOVERS NEED OUR HELP

Despite the fact that our Good Harbor Beach Piping Plovers arrived 3 days earlier this year (March 22), they are struggling to become established. While the weather has been cold and windy (I think they like wind even less than freezing temperatures), the problem is largely due to dog and human disturbance in the nesting area. This is not the fault of beachgoers. The difficulty stems from a complete and utter lack of signage at Good Harbor Beach. There are no signs at any entrance, but more importantly, there are no signs on the fence posts around the nesting area.

The above are the informational signs we have had the previous four years, from 2016-2019, which were installed by Essex County Greenbelt. Last year, the Piping Plovers arrived at Good Harbor on March 25th. Two days later, on March 27th, Greenbelt had installed protective symbolic roping and signs. The PiPls early arrival and early assistance from Greenbelt helped the Plovers to establish a nest early in the season.

Why don’t we have signs? No one knows; it is an utter mystery. Greenbelt has time and again offered their assistance to the City and volunteered to install signs, so it is not a question of coronavirus, available man power, or time.

Why is it so important to help the PiPls as soon as they arrive? Because the earlier in the season they are able to nest, the older the chicks will be when the beach becomes busy, the earlier the chicks will fledge, and the sooner they will be off the beach, which will give them the greatest chance of survival. It was thanks to Greenbelt’s assistance last year and because of our fantastic corps of volunteer Piping Plover monitors that we were able to successfully fledge three chicks last summer.

How can you help? It’s a great deal to ask of people during coronavirus to care for, and write letters about, tiny little shorebirds, but people do care. For over forty years, partners have been working to protect these threatened creatures and it is a shame to put them at risk like this needlessly.  We have been working with Ward One City Councilor Scott Memhard and he has been beyond terrific in helping us sort through the problems this year; however, I think if we wrote emails or letters to all our City Councilors and asked them to help us get signs installed it would be super helpful. Please keep letters kind and friendly, or just simply copy paste the following:

Subject Line: Piping Plovers Need Our Help

Dear City Councilors,

Gloucester Plovers need our help. Please ask the Conservation Commission to install the threatened species signs at the symbolically cordoned off nesting areas and at the entrances at Good Harbor Beach.

Thank you for helping these birds raise their next generation.

Your Name

Link to all the City Councilors, but I believe that if you send one letter and also cc to Joanne Senos, a copy will be sent to all the City Councilors. Her address is: JSenos@gloucester-ma.gov

Here is a timeline compiled based on film footage, photos, and notes. As you can see, because of the timely assistance provided by Greenbelt, at this time last year, our chicks were a third of the way to hatching. We don’t even have eggs yet this year!

2019 Piping Plover Timeline Good Harbor Beach 

March 25  Piping Plover pair arrive GHB.

March 27  Symbolic fencing and signage installed by Greenbelt at areas #3 and #1

April 28  First egg laid (estimated date).

May 3  Greenbelt installs wire exclosure.

May 4  Adults begin brooding all four eggs.

May 31  Four chicks hatch.

2020 Piping Plover Timeline Good Harbor Beach

March 22 Piping Plover pair arrive at GHB

March 27  11.5 foot deep narrow strip of symbolic roping is installed along the length of the entire beach. No one has responded from the conservation office re. Is this meant to protect the dunes? It is much, much narrower than the area delineated the previous four years by Greenbelt.  No signs installed at this time.

April 17  Symbolically roped off area widened by boardwalk #3, the area where the PiPls have nested and courted the previous four years. No signs installed at this time.

May 11  A second pair of PiPls is trying to become established at GHB.

May 13  Still no signs, continued dog disturbance, kite flying next to nesting area, human and dog footprints in roped off  #3 area.

Again, the disturbances are not the fault of beachgoers; you can’t blame people if there are no informational signs.

Our Good Harbor beach Mom and Dad courting: Dad digging a nest scrape (1) and bowing (2). Mom coming over to inspect his handiwork (3) and Dad all puffed out and doing the mating dance (4).

Aren’t these PiPl eggs beautiful!? This photo was taken yesterday at another beach I am following. The Plovers at this beach arrived on the very same day to their beach as our Gloucester Plovers arrived to Good Harbor Beach.

 

 

GOOD NEWS CAPE ANN – THINKING ABUT CHANGING THE NAME “TO BEAUTY BY THE SEA”- EPISODE 6

 

This is what snow in May looks like! 

1816:The Year Without a Summer

Happy Mom’s Day! Sending love to all our beautiful and hard working Mums, Aunts, Friends, Grandmothers, Great Grannies, Great Aunties, and all our loved ones

 Sea Salps at Good Harbor Beach

Cedar Rock Gardens Opening May 15th for Warm Weather Seedlings. See complete list here.

Gardening Tip – when to plant warm weather seedlings outdoors

The Franklin 

Fisherman’s Wharf Gloucester

Castaways Vintage Café

Short and Main FRIED CHICKEN!

Cedar Waxwings Courting

Piping Plover Chronicles – new series – currently following three different PiPl families at three different locations. This is great for comparing and contrasting. Our PiPls are behind, by several weeks. Not because they arrived any later, but because of dog and human disturbance in the nesting area, which is due to a lack of signage. We are working to correct this oversight.

A behavior shared by all Plovers is called “foot-trembling.” Also called “foot-tapping” and “foot-pattering,” the vibration caused by the PiPl shaking its foot brings worms and other prey closer to the surface of the sand.

Please send in your wildlife stories, restaurants and businesses you think we ought to know more about and help support, fun recipes, and anything else you would like to share about.

Thank you for watching! Happy Mom’s Day

WARM WEATHER SEEDLINGS AT CEDAR ROCK GARDENS!

Warm Weather Seedlings!
Starting May 15, our website will feature all the warm weather vegetable, flower and herb seedlings that we’ll be releasing from the green house later that week. This will be your first chance to scroll through the bounty and fill your online shopping cart!

We’ll be assembling everyone’s order during the week, then opening for pre-scheduled pick-ups beginning May 22.

You can schedule your preferred pick-up day when you checkout online. Call us from your mobile when you arrive at the farm on your selected pick-up day, then pop the trunk and we’ll gently place your garden treasure right in for you to take home and plant, no in-person transaction or contact required!

If you have some favorites in mind that you just can’t live without, May 15 will be your opportunity to be first in line to lay claim to that heirloom tomato or special nasturtium that you’ve been dreaming about all winter! So mark your calendar for May 15 to visit our site and get your garden started!

Vegetables
Artichoke Imperial Star
Beets Chiogga
Beets Red Ace
Beets Touchstone Gold
Broccoli Imperial
Broccoli Dicicco
Brussels Sprouts Dagan
Cabbage Faro
Cabbage Omera
Cauliflower Mix
Celery Conquistador
Collards
Corn lucious
Cucumber Corinto
Cucumber Diva
Cucumber Lemon
Cucumber Marketmore 76
Cucumber Northern pickling
Cucumber Tasty Jade
Eggplant Beatrice
Eggplant Clara
Eggplant fairytale
Eggplant Nadia
Eggplant Orient Charm
Eggplant Orient express
Eggplant Patio Baby
Escarole Natacha
Greens
Kale Red Russian
Kale Toscano
Kale Winterbor
Kale mix Continue reading

HELLO! FANTASTIC NEWS FOR WE FRANKLIN FANS – THE FRANKLIN IS OPEN FOR TAKE OUT BEGINNING MAY 14TH! AND HERE IS THE MENU

The FranklIn writes,

Exciting News 🍾

Curbside takeout starts next Thursday the 14th at 4pm!  We will be open Thursday through Sunday from 4pm to 8:30pm.

We missed you all, can’t wait to see you!

Check out our takeout only menu on our Facebook page or head over to our website! 🤤

👉🏻www.franklincapeann.com

The Franklin is located at 118 Main Street Gloucester.

CEDAR WAXWINGS IN THE HOOD!

Running to the window to see from where the high pitched bird songs were coming from, we were more than delighted to see a flock of Cedar Waxwings had descended upon our neighborhood. They were feeding from the buds of our neighbor’s deciduous trees.

The most beautiful thing to see was a male and female pair courting. They were feeding each other, hopping through the branches and passing buds back and forth. I captured a few moments of the Waxwings courting on film and will post Sunday on my “Good News Cape Ann” show.

A pair of love Birds

Cedar Waxwings mostly eat berries and they love a wide variety. Their name is actually derived from one of their favorite fruits, the waxy berries of cedar trees. If you would like to attract Cedar Waxwings  to your garden here is a handy list that I compiled –

Acrobatic feeders

Dogwood, Juniper, Chokecherry, Cedar, Honeysuckle, Holy, Crabapple, Hawthorn, Serviceberry, Mulberry, Raspberry, Grapes, and Strawberry. Cedar Waxwings are becoming increasingly more prevalent in backyards because people are planting more ornamental flowering and fruiting trees.

Cedar Waxwings also eat a variety of insects including beetles and dragonflies, which they will pluck mid air.

The flock that visited our garden was of the paler sort. Some Waxwings are feathered in the same pattern, with the striking black mask and soft buffy colored  breast however, with these more brightly hued fellows, their yellow is brilliant and they sport vivid red wing tips.

Cedar Waxwing Range Map

 

 

 

LOVE GLOUCESTER FISHERMAN’S WHARF LATEST INCARNATION – A SEAFOOD MOBILE!

DRIVE UP SEAFOOD MARKET!

This family is just rockin innovative ways to get their product out to Cape Ann residents. Thank you Giacalone Family for helping to feed local citizens super delicious and affordable fresh sole, haddock, lobsters, and scallops!

Curbside Drive Thru Menu. 5/9/20
Hours: 10AM-4PM

DRIVE UP AND ORDER
or Call 978-281-7707 for call ahead (phone lines open at 10am)

Scallops
$15.00 1 lb. (Containers) Dayboat 10/20s dry

🐟Haddock
$15.00 2 lbs. Bags (Only $7.50/lb.)

Cracker Crumbs

$5.00 1 lb. (Containers)

Cash and Credit Card accepted.(We bring the card reader to you)
LOCATED AT 37 ROGERS ST. GLOUCESTER MA 01930
Open Tues-Sat.10-4pm.

SUPER SWEET AND AFFORDABLE MOTHER’S DAY GIFT IDEA FROM CASTAWAYS VINTAGE CAFE!

Castaways Vintage Cafe has a lovely selection of succulents potted up in sweet pots with bits of shell tied in. They sold out their first batch, but will have a brand new selection ready to purchase Saturday morning.

These will sell out quickly at this price, so get them while you can! Plan your stop over to include one their delicious and nutritious acacia bowls and coffees.

Castaways Vintage Cafe is located at 65 Rogers Street, Gloucester. They are open from 8am to 2pm and are offering curbside contactless pick up of acai bowls, lattes, coffee, smoothies and juices.

GUSTER FANS – RYAN MILLER HOSTING OMAGAH TONIGHT ON THE RIVER 92.5!

Guster with the Omaha Symphony on the River

6:00 pm8:00 pm

Tune into 92.5 the River at 6pm on Fri, May 8, for a special commercial-free show, hosted by hilarious, Guster front man, Ryan Miller!

The hour-long special will feature 11 Guster songs that were performed live with the Omaha Symphony. Originally, Guster would have been on stage with the Boston Pops this Friday night. However, since that event is cancelled, the band is releasing this previously recorded live performance.

 

 

GOOD NEWS CAPE ANN! – EPISODE 5

Good News Cape Ann! – Episode #5

 Sounds of Cape Ann, fog horn, songbirds, boats

Red-winged Blackbird singing across the marsh and calling to his mate in the reeds below.

Musing over name of show-  Good News Cape Ann, Finding Hope, my friend Loren suggested Beauty of Cape Ann, and husband Tom suggests Coastal Currents – what do you think?

Loren Doucette beautiful pastels and paintings. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Castaways gift certificate

Fishermans Wharf Gloucester now also selling lobsters in addition to scallops, haddock, and flounder. Our son made a fabulous scallop ceviche this week, so easy and delicious.

Cedar Waxwings, Hummingbird, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Baltimore Orioles, and Palm Warbler

Mini tutorial on how to plant a hummingbird garden

TWO MONARCH CONTORVERSIES! Is it okay to raise Monarchs at home? What is the problem with Butterfly Bushes?

Jesse Cook new release “One World One Voice”

Beautiful Piping Plover courtship footage – Piping Plovers in the field, what are they doing right now?

Charlotte stops by.

Take care and be well ❤

Alex’s Scallop Ceviche Recipe

1 lb. sea scallops completely submerged in fresh lime juice

Dice 1/2 large white onion. Soak in a bowl with ice water to the reduce bitterness.

Dice 1 garden fresh tomato, 1 jalapeño, and cilantro to taste

Strain the onions.

Strain scallops but leave 1/4 of the lime juice.

Gently fold all ingredients. Add cubed avocado just prior to serving.

 

 

YUMMY AND SUPER HEALTHY TREATS FROM CASTAWAYS VINTAGE CAFE CURBSIDE PICKUP!

Castaways Vintage Cafe  offers a fabulous selection of fresh fruit, veggies, acacia bowls, coffee, smoothies, and much more. You name your healthy start- to-the-day and Castaways has it!

Castaways Vintage Cafe is located at 65 Rogers Street, Gloucester. They are open from 8am to 2pm and are offering curbside contactless pick up of acai bowls, lattes, coffee, smoothies and juices.

In addition Castaways is offering delivery or pickup of assorted fresh veggie bags and fruit bags. Deliveries are on Tuesdays and Fridays and must be ordered the day before. Order through FB or call the cafe 978-559-7984 to order. These are an offering to provide for our community while hopefully keeping people out of the grocery stores.

Castaways will soon be opening their complete line of one-of-a-kind vintage clothing online. In the meantime you can peruse their selections of vintage shirts and sayings here: SHOP

BARBARA BOUDREAU’S LATEST NOVEL SUPPORTS GLOUCESTER WRITERS CENTER DURING COVID!

Author Barbara Boudreau writes,
“The sequel to The Frenchman is finally done! A fun read and support for a local institution in one purchase.”
 
Death of the Frenchman
by B. B. Boudreau
Jean LaChance and Lilly Parsons have escaped detective Guy Santino to an idyllic life with the children on a distant tropical island. But a vicious hurricane destroys their home and livelihood, and LaChance resolves to return to the States and collect the cash he has secreted away to rebuild their lives. Though the errand should be a simple one, LaChance is unaware that the retired Santino is still trailing him with fierce determination, preparing a trap to put the thief away for good. While Lilly and the kids wait in agony for his return, LaChance jeopardizes his newfound life with the risky mission.
All proceeds of the sale of Death in both paperback and Kindle format, and all three formats of The Frenchman will go to the Gloucester Writers Center in Gloucester, MA during the extent of the Corona virus epidemic. As a writer, I may not have published a novel, let alone two without the soul of a writer’s center occupied by such a strong creative presence of its former owner and poet laureate Vincent Ferrini. I am deeply indebted to our writer’s group The Finish Line members, together since 2011, who provided encouragement, review, and the sometimes necessary pep talk that all writers need to keep putting words to the page.

With your purchase, you are helping to support a piece of Gloucester history, a haven for artists of all mediums to gather and embrace the distinctly human attribute of artistic creation.

Death of the Frenchman is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle ebook formats at this link:

https://tinyurl.com/Death-of-the-Frenchman

If you have not yet read The Frenchman:

Paperback: https://tinyurl.com/The-Frenchman

Ebook and audiobook: https://tinyurl.com/The-Frenchman-Kindle