Category Archives: Rockport

Cape Ann Winged Creature Update

Featuring: Brant Geese, Black-capped Chickadees, Black-crowned Night Heron, Blue Jays, Cardinals, American Robins, Mockingbirds, Savannah Sparrows, House Finches, Red-breasted Mergansers, and Common Grackle.  

Beautiful iridescent feathers of the Common Grackle.

Spring is a fantastic time of year in Massachusetts to see wildlife, whether that be whale or winged creature. Marine species are migrating to the abundant feeding grounds of the North Atlantic as avian species are traveling along the Atlantic Flyway to summer breeding regions in the boreal forests and Arctic tundra. And, too, the bare limbs of tree branches and naked shrubs make for easy viewing of species that breed and nest in our region. Verdant foliage that will soon spring open, although much longed for, also obscures nesting activity. Get out today and you’ll be richly rewarded by what you see along shoreline and pond bank.

Male Red-winged Blackbird singing to his lady love

Once the trees leaf, we’ll still hear the songsters but see them less.

Nests will be hidden from view.

Five migrating Brant Geese were foraging on seaweed at Loblolly Cove this morning.

Red-breasted Merganser Bath Time

Of Rock and Reed, and Sun and Sand – Morning Scenes from Cape Ann’s Beautiful Backshore

Beautiful, beautiful Cape Ann spring awakening. Photos from Monday’s fine April morning.

Sing, sing sing Red-winged Blackbird! 

Almost daybreak at Good Harbor Beach

Backshore Sunrise. The sun was rising on the way to Brace Cove

Niles Pond

Painted Turtles and a female Red-breasted Merganser were basking on the warm rocks while a flock of Quarky Pants were roosting in the trees. Happy Spring!

I’ve never seen so many Black-crowned Night Herons–TEN all together in the trees and at the water’s edge.

Salt Island and Thacher Island Daybreak

THANK YOU @ESSEXHERITAGE!

Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and Secretary Kerry

Together with the Essex National Heritage’s 20th anniversary celebration, 131 Trailblazing organizations where honored at last night’s grand gala, held at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. Over 300 Essex Heritage supporters were in attendance.

Very special guest Secretary John Kerry, who helped craft the legislation in 1996 that designated the area (and worked with Senator Kennedy over many years to secure funding), gave an inspiring speech highlighting the fact that the past twenty years of this unique public-private partnership has created the tremendous success that is the Essex National Heritage area.

Congratulations to Essex National Heritage and all the Trailblazers!

The best fun seeing these four at the gala!! Captain Stefan Edick of the Schooner Adventure, Captain Tom Ellis of the Schooner Lannon, Mayor Sefatia, and Tom Balf, Director of Maritime Gloucester.

A special toast was given to the following Trailblazers:

Preserving this Special Region: Essex County Greenbelt Association; Connecting People to Place: The Trustees of Reservations; Building & Growing Our Future: Peabody Essex Museum; Advancing Our Educational Mission (tied for first place): Lowell’s Boat Shop and The House of Seven Gables. Of special note to Cape Ann residents, Maritime Gloucester came in second place and Essex Shipbuilding Museum came in third place in the category Advancing Our Educational Mission.

American Wigeon Joins the Scene!

A small duck with a big personality, the little male American Wigeon flew on the scene, disgruntling all the Mallards. He darted in and out of their feeding territory, foraging along the shoreline, while the Mallards let him know with no uncertainty, by nipping and chasing, that they did not want him there. American Wigeon was not deterred and just kept right on feeding.

Smaller than a Mallard but larger than a Bufflehead, the pretty male flashes a brilliant green swath across the eye and has a beautiful baby blue bill. They are also colloquially called “Baldplate” because the white patch atop his head resembles a bald man’s head.

Male American Wigeon and Male Mallard

According to naturalist and avian illustrator Barry van Dusen in “Bird Observer, “In Massachusetts, they are considered rare and local breeders, uncommon spring migrants, and locally common migrants in fall. They are also fairly common winter residents in a few localities. Spring migration occurs in April and fall migrants arrive in September with many remaining until their preferred ponds freeze over.”

After looking at the range map below, I wonder if our little American Wigeon has been here all winter or if he is a spring migrant. If you have seen an American Wigeon, please write and let us know. Thank you!

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Female American Wigeon (above) image courtesy Google image search

Happy Autumn

whale-cove-copyright-kim-smithRebnogged from Good Morning Gloucester, Columbus Day

I’ve had the exciting task of cleaning closets ALL afternoon and haven’t had a chance to put together a proper post. Here are some snapshots from an early morning walk Saturday taken before heading to work and before it clouded over. I hope everyone is having a terrific long weekend. Happy Autumn, Happy Columbus Day!whale-cove-2-copyright-kim-smithwhale-cove-3-copyright-kim-smith