Category Archives: Rockport

ROCKPORT’S BEAUTIFUL LA PROVENCE (AND WE LOVE SANTA’S NORTH POLE OUTPOST POST OFFICE!)

Rockport looks wonderfully festive for a covid-safe stroll through the town’s main streets. Charlotte and I made a special trip to deliver her letter to Santa at the most charming of post boxes, a North Pole special delivery pint-sized mail box.

Next stop was magical La Provence. Dawn’s shop is chock full of beautiful, beautiful linens, gifts, and treats. La Provence is open at 10am in the morning, which is great if you are concerned about shopping around crowds. We went on a weekday morning, early, and felt very welcome and very comfortable shopping.

Wishing all our local shops a safe and successful holiday season.

CHECK OUT THIS SUPER VIDEO FEATURING GREENBELT’S 2020 ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND OVERVIEW OF BEAUTIFUL PROPERTIES WITH PRESIDENT KATE BODITCH

We in Essex County are so incredibly blessed to have Greenbelt working so hard to conserve beautiful green space throughout the region. Check out this super video to get an overview of just some of the good work that has taken place this past year.

From Greenbelt, “Join Greenbelt President, Kate Bowditch, as she reviews Greenbelt’s challenges and accomplishments this past year. Thank you for your continued support of our organization!”

If you’d like to make a donation in support of Greenbelt, please visit ecga.org/annualfundBluebird nesting box Greenbelt Ipswich

Piping Plover Dad and Marshmallow Good Harbor Beach

Seine Field Gloucester

AWESOME GLOUCESTER AND AWESOME ROCKPORT ARE LOOKING FOR YOUR GEAT IDEAS!

Sal Zerilli shares –
Awesome Gloucester and Awesome Rockport are currently accepting proposals from people doing things to make local life even more awesome.
Both chapters of the Awesome Foundation award $1000 cash micro-grants with no strings attached. Submitting a proposal takes just a few minutes and can be done here:

CAROL LEE’S COTTAGE IS NOW OPEN FOR ONLINE SHOPPING!

My friend JoAnn Sousa wrote this lovely note about her friend Carol Lee and her shop, Carol Lee’s Cottage. I thought it so sweet and that is why I am sharing the note in its entirety –

JoAnn writes,

“I am so glad you have your own blog – wonderful.

I’ve have been mesmerized by your incredible wildlife photos for years and you have heightened my interest in birds.

I realize you may be primarily focused on Gloucester and totally understand and I trust you have a long lists of subjects to cover. I wanted to mention a shop in Rockport , Carol Lee’s Cottage. Carol Lee Kelliher owns it (she has no idea I’m writing to you) and I am always taken by the variety and quality of goods she has. For instance she has a collection of kids tee shirts and long sleeve that have heros on them such as Jane Goodall, Madam Curie etc – I think she’s the only one in NE with the line. She was also one of the first to carry masks. Great jewelry at reasonable prices, cute dresses, it goes on and on. Personally I think she’s the nicest shop on the neck.

If you have any interest you can check out the store and her background story on FB or carolleescottage.com. Her personality matches her colorful goods and she has a nice following.

Anyway, they opened up Bearskin Neck today, curbside pick ups at the restaurants and stores and I thought I’d pass along some info on this little jewel of a store. She’s doing curbside/mailing etc.

Stay well and congrats!”

Thank you JoAnn for sharing! And thank you for your kind comments. I am interested in posting about any small business with their coronavirus endeavors. It’s such a tough time and I admire the resourcefulness and resiliency of so many trying so hard to stay afloat during this most challenging of time.

The children’s tees do look especially wonderful and I Love her selection Turkish beach towels – you are so spot on, her products are wonderfully colorful and fun! Here are some images from Carol’s website, where you can do your online shopping HERE

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.

Please Note – If you would like to follow or subscribe to my blog, click the Follow button in the lower right hand corner. Thank you so much if you do!

Wiki Commons Media photos

SYMMETRICALLY ALIGNED TWIN LIGHTHOUSE SUNRISE

 

Sunrise between Twin Lights, Thacher Island

GARDENING FRIENDS – ITS TOO EARLY TO PLANT YOUR WARM WEATHER SEEDLINGS OUT DOORS

Each year customers ask nursery growers for plants earlier and earlier in the season. Yes, purchase if you are worried about stock, but do not plant outdoors until after May 31st. Keep in a protected location and gradually acclimate to outdoor temps (hardening off*).  In the old days, after Memorial Day was the standard rule of thumb for New Englanders. We’ve gotten away from that. It’s risky business to plant your annual flowers, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and herbs such as basil oregano outdoors too early, especially this year when we may have a snowfall this coming Mother’s Day weekend.

The following is a handy chart specifically for Cape Ann from the Farmer’s Almanac, although I would modify, ignore the frost date, and plant my warm weather seedlings closer to the June1st – June 5th Moon dates. The first date in each box is based on frost dates, the second line is based on Moon dates. Follow the Moon dates, especially this year when we are having an unusually cool spring.

*What does hardening off your seedlings mean? Think of it this way – seedlings are weaklings. They have delicate slender stalks that are easily blown over and their tiny tender leaves will freeze in a heart beat or shrivel in the penetrating sun of May. Seedlings need time to toughen up before planting out in the garden.

Hardening off is the practice of gradually exposing the seedlings to outdoor conditions. Place plants in a protected area for a few hours a day, out of the way of wind and direct sun. On cold nights bring indoors to a garage, shed, or back inside. Gradually increase the plant’s time spent outdoors. Keep moist and don’t let the soil dry out. In a week or so you will see the stalk and leaves have visibly thickened. House plants and herbs that have been grown indoors all winter (essentially babied) will also benefit from hardening off if you are planning to move outdoors.

Crop Based on Frost Dates   Based on Moon Dates
Start Seeds Indoors Plant Seedlings

or Transplants

Start Seeds Outdoors
Basil Mar 13-27
Mar 24-27
May 8-29
May 22-29
N/A
Beets N/A N/A Apr 24-May 15
May 8-15
Bell Peppers Feb 27-Mar 13
Feb 27-Mar 9
May 22-Jun 12
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
Broccoli Mar 27-Apr 10
Mar 27-Apr 7
Apr 17-May 8
Apr 22-May 7
N/A
Brussels Sprouts Mar 27-Apr 10
Mar 27-Apr 7
Apr 10-May 1
Apr 22-May 1
N/A
Cabbage Mar 13-27
Mar 24-27
Apr 10-24
Apr 22-24
N/A
Cantaloupes Apr 10-17 May 22-Jun 12
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
Carrots N/A N/A Apr 3-17
Apr 8-17
Cauliflower Mar 27-Apr 10
Mar 27-Apr 7
Apr 10-24
Apr 22-24
N/A
Celery Feb 27-Mar 13
Feb 27-Mar 9
May 15-29
May 22-29
N/A
Chives N/A N/A Apr 10-17
Cilantro (Coriander) N/A N/A May 8-22
May 22
Corn N/A N/A May 8-22
May 22
Cucumbers Apr 10-17 May 22-Jun 12
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
Dill N/A N/A Apr 3-17
Apr 3- 7
Eggplants Feb 27-Mar 13
Feb 27-Mar 9
May 22-Jun 12
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
Green Beans N/A N/A May 15-Jun 5
May 22-Jun 5
Kale Mar 27-Apr 10
Mar 27-Apr 7
Apr 10-May 1
Apr 22-May 1
N/A
Lettuce Mar 27-Apr 10
Mar 27-Apr 7
Apr 24-May 22
Apr 24-May 7, May 22
N/A
Okra N/A N/A May 22-Jun 5
May 22-Jun 5
Onions N/A N/A Apr 10-May 1
Apr 10-21
Oregano Feb 27-Mar 27
Feb 27-Mar 9, Mar 24-27
May 8-29
May 22-29
N/A
Parsley N/A N/A Apr 10-24
Apr 22-24
Parsnips N/A N/A Apr 17-May 8
Apr 17-21, May 8
Peas N/A N/A Mar 27-Apr 17
Mar 27-Apr 7
Potatoes N/A N/A May 1-22
May 8-21
Pumpkins Apr 10-24
Apr 22-24
May 22-Jun 12
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
Radishes N/A N/A Mar 13-Apr 3
Mar 13-23
Rosemary Feb 27-Mar 13
Feb 27-Mar 9
May 15-Jun 5
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
Sage Mar 13-27
Mar 24-27
May 8-22
May 22
N/A
Spinach N/A N/A Mar 27-Apr 17
Mar 27-Apr 7
Squash (Zucchini) Apr 10-24
Apr 22-24
May 22-Jun 12
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
Sweet Potatoes Apr 10-17
Apr 10-17
May 22-Jun 12
Jun 6-12
N/A
Swiss Chard Mar 27-Apr 10
Mar 27-Apr 7
Apr 17-24
Apr 22-24
N/A
Thyme Feb 27-Mar 27
Feb 27-Mar 9, Mar 24-27
May 8-29
May 22-29
N/A
Tomatoes Mar 13-27
Mar 24-27
May 15-Jun 5
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
Turnips N/A N/A Apr 10-May 1
Apr 10-21
Watermelons Apr 10-17 May 22-Jun 12
May 22-Jun 5
N/A

MOST RECENTLY UPDATED: Cape Ann Take Out, Delivery, and Curbside Pick-Up List

CLICK HERE TO FIND CAPE ANN’S MOST UP TO DATE LIST OF TAKE OUT DELIVERY, AND CURBSIDE PICK UP

Click to access Cape-Ann-Take-Out-Delivery-List-4.23.20-1.pdf

PROJECT SNOWSTORM HAS SOME NICE THINGS TO SAY ABOUT “A SNOWY OWL COMES TO CAPE ANN” FILM SERIES!

Thank you so very much to Scott Weidensaul from Project SNOWStorm for his thoughtful suggestions and kind assistance while writing the script for the film A Snowy Owl Comes to Cape Ann. Not only that, but he has shared the project with the Project SNOWStorm  community and people are making very kind comments. Means much coming from knowledgeable owl-lovers <3

Scott writes,

Wherever you are during this pandemic lockdown, here’s a special treat to ease the passing of time.

Kim Smith, a naturalist and filmmaker on the North Shore of Massachusetts, spent the winter of 2018 shadowing a young female snowy owl on windy, stormy Cape Ann. The result was five short films about the owl, which Kim was kind enough to share with our team during production, and is generous enough to share with the whole Project SNOWstorm community now that they’re finished. They’re simply beautiful.

You can find all five of Kim’s films here — enjoy!

I started following Project SNOWStorm several years ago and love their posts.. You can sign up here: Subscribe by email, on the right side of the page, or on any of the blog post pages. I promise, you will enjoy reading the fascinating information provided and will look forward to their arrival in your inbox. You can also make a donation here, too, if so inclined 🙂

EARTH DAY 1970 – 2020: FREE DOG POOP

One of the most haunting images is dog poop in plastic, found haphazardly discarded in every corner of the City, but nowhere more prominently than at our beaches.

What are we leaving for our children to uncover in fifty years?

These photos were taken on the weekend of March 28th, 2020. For two and a half days, the pile grew larger and larger, greeting everyone as they came on and off the beach. The pile was removed by the DPW on Monday morning.

NEW YOU TUBE SHOW – GOOD NEWS CAPE ANN EPISODE #3

 

Good News Cape Ann! – Episode #3

The opening clip is a beautiful scene overlooking Good Harbor Beach. The sun was beginning to appear through a snow squall – April snow squalls bring May flowers.

Good Harbor Beach was jam packed with surfers this morning and Brant Geese were bobbing around at Brace Cove.

Quick glimpse of pretty mystery bird? Palm Warbler?

Fisherman’s Wharf Gloucester fresh fish curbside pickup. Each week they have gotten better and better. It was dream of ease and coronavirus protocols. Tuesday through Saturday and here is the number to call 978-281-7707

Rockport Exchange Virtual Farmer’s Market https://kimsmithdesigns.com/2020/04/19/rockport-exchange-virtual-farmers-market-is-open-heres-how-it-works/

Brother’s Brew, Seaview Farm, Breakwater Roasters, Sandy Bay Soaps, and many more.

What are some of the favorite dishes you are cooking during Coronavirus?

Tragedies can bring out the best in people, but also the very worst. Cruel people only become crueler and more mean spirited, posting mean thoughtless pranks that they think elevate themselves. I wish this wasn’t happening in our own lives and on social media. We all need to support each other.

Share your local business news.

Last episode of the Snowy Owl Film Project at kimsmithdesigns.com

Wonderful hopeful news for our Good Harbor Beach Piping Plovers. The City has created a safe zone in the spot where they are attempting to nest. Thank you Mayor Sefatia and Gloucester’s DPW for installing the symbolic roping. We need signs and hopefully they will be along very soon.

Thanks so much to everybody for watching 🙂

Possibly a Palm Warbler

 

ROCKPORT EXCHANGE VIRTUAL FARMER’S MARKET IS OPEN – HERE’S HOW IT WORKS

VIRTUAL ROCKPORT FARMERS MARKET — PICK UP SATURDAY, APRIL 25

Welcome to our first Virtual Rockport Farmers Market!
Orders maybe placed starting Sunday, April 19, and the store will close Thursday, April 23, at 4 p.m. (**Orders from Dancing Daisy Bakers will close WEDNESDAY.) Orders will be picked up during a designated time window on Saturday, April 25, at Seaview Farm in Rockport. You will receive your pick-up time window via email on Friday, April 24.
All sales must be prepaid.
Thank you!

Vendor Include:

@seaviewfarmandfarmstand @brothersbrewcoffeeshop @dancingdaisybakers
@breakwaterroasters @sandybaysoaps @banginbutter @halvahheaven

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

WONDERFULLY RARE FOOTAGE – SNOWY OWL TAKES A BATH

Hello Friends on this rainy, windy day. People’s holiday weekend ran the gamut from joyful to tragic and I so hope yours was not too difficult and you were able to find some light. It was such a beautiful day weather-wise yesterday and if there is one thing about the coronavirus is how wonderful it is to see so many families enjoying each other’s company while out in the fresh air.

Part four, Snowy Owl Takes a Bath, was filmed early one morning. I stopped by to check on Snowy Owl (her nickname at the time was Hedwig) and noticed her face was stained red from breakfast. I only planned to take a few snapshots when she hopped over to a rocky tide pool and began to wash her face. I ran back to the car to get my movie camera and am so glad I did! For the next 40 – 45 minutes she bathed, preened, and fluffed.

I am calling this rare footage because I can’t find anything else like it. Unlike most owls, which are nocturnal (active at night) Snowy Owls are active during the day (diurnal), providing a rare glimpse into the world of owls in the wild.

To see all four episodes together, please go to the Snowy Owl Film Project page on my website. These shorts were created for the kids in the Cape Ann community during this at-home schooling time. The last segment, part five, Snowy Owl Returns to the Arctic, is almost completed and will be posted later this week.

Thank you for watching!

Again, thank you to Scott Weidensaul from ProjectSNOWstorm for script advice.

A Snowy Owl Comes to Cape Ann
Part Four: Snowy Owl Takes a Bath

After a snow squall and as the sun was beginning to appear, a Snowy Owl came out to take a bath. She found a watery icy pool tucked out of sight from dive bombing crows and gulls.

Snowy Owls, like most non-aquatic birds, take baths to clean their feathers.

First washing her face, she tip-dipped and then dunked. After bathing, Snowy fluff dried her feathers, pooped, and preened. During preening, oil from the preen gland, which is located at the base of the tail, is distributed through the feathers to help maintain waterproofing.

Washing, fluffing, and preening took about forty-five minutes from head to talon.

 

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING SUNSET and BEST POSITION TO OBSERVE TONIGHT’S METEOR SHOWER

Out shopping with Liv and we stopped top see the beautiful sunset at Cape Hedge.

We mentioned the Ursids during this morning’s podcast and in the meantime I found this handy chart. The best time to see the meteor shower is tonight until dawn.

Ursids meteor shower for Gloucester (Night between December 22 and December 23)
Time Azimuth/Direction Altitude
Sun 4:00 pm 345°North-northwest 34.8°
Sun 5:00 pm 348°North-northwest 32.2°
Sun 6:00 pm 352°North 30.2°
Sun 7:00 pm 355°North 29.0°
Sun 8:00 pm North 28.5°
Sun 9:00 pm North 28.8°
Sun 10:00 pm North 29.9°
Sun 11:00 pm 11°North-northeast 31.8°
Mon 12:00 midnight 15°North-northeast 34.3°
Mon 1:00 am 17°North-northeast 37.3°
Mon 2:00 am 19°North-northeast 40.8°
Mon 3:00 am 19°North-northeast 44.4°
Mon 4:00 am 19°North-northeast 48.1°
Mon 5:00 am 16°North-northeast 51.5°
Mon 6:00 am 13°North-northeast 54.3°
Mon 7:00 am North 56.2°

 

OUTSTANDING SHOW AND SUPER FUN EVENT AT IARTCOLONY GALLERY

Darin Murphy and Jill

Visionary iartcolony gallerists Bob Armstrong and Jill Whitney Armstrong created an outstanding opening for their new show “be present.” Evocative and thought provoking, the lineup included visual work by artists David Robinson and Jane Hudson (currently exhibiting at iartcolony), Ken Brown video from Psychedelic Cinema,* an oration given by Darin Murphy, and live drawing and painting demonstrations given by Will Pappenheimer and Michael Talbot.

Brian King (What Time is it Mr. Fox) performed his Dionysian piece from his newest playMedusa: Reclaiming the Myth, which premiered this summer at the Museum of Science.

Artist and drummer for the Cars, David Robinson, and cult filmmaker Ken Brown.

David Robinson and photos

be present runs through November 22, 2019. For more information, call 978-764-5495.

*Psychedelic Cinema revives Brown’s Super 8 films, which were shot at the Boston Tea Party, one of Boston’s legendary live rock and blues music venues. The artists he created light shows and films for include Jimi Hendrix, the Velvet Underground, Sly Stone, Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin, Muddy Waters, and many, many more.

EXCITING NEW INSTALLATION AT iartcolony – OPENING SEPTEMBER 7 AT 5PM

My friend Jill Whitney Armstrong writes that “this is one exhibit not to be missed, with tents in the yard, interactive augmented reality, a magical live painter, free reiki and more! Plus David Robinson has work in the show – a communal atmosphere.”

I am looking forward to attending and hope to see you there! 

#supermoon MARCH FULL WORM MOON RISING OVER TWIN LIGHTS ROCKPORT

Hoping to capture the Supermoon, in all its huge glory, rising between the Twin Lights last night, but the sky was pink and hazy around the horizon line. Still, I think it’s good to have a record of a rarely occurring full moon on the first day of spring.

Thacher Island Twin Lights, waiting for the Moon to rise, North Light, left; South Light right.

RARELY SEEN ON CAPE ANN – A BLACK VULTURE!

Over the winter, a Black Vulture has been calling Cape Ann home. My friend Lois first alerted me to this back in December where he has been seen quite often in Rockport. I have been trying to capture some footage of him/her but only ever saw him soaring high above. The Black Vulture in flight is stunning and you can recognize the bird by its distinctive white wing tips.

As luck would have it, East Gloucester resident Larry shared a photo recently and his friend Frank generously allowed me to stop by and take some photos and footage.White wing tips of the Black Vulture

Being found mostly in South America, Central America, and the southern US, the Black Vulture’s range does not historically include Cape Ann (nor anywhere in Massachusetts). The bird’s range has been expanding northward since the early decades of the previous century and it is safe to say there may even be a few pairs breeding in the furthest most western regions of Massachusetts!

Black Vultures feed primarily on carrion. They fly high above on thermal winds looking for dead creatures, and also follow Turkey Vultures, which reportedly have a better sense of smell and can more easily locate carcasses. Black Vultures also kill skunks, possums, Night Herons, turtle hatchlings, chickens, young livestock, and sickly small pets. And, too, they pick through dumps and dumpsters, and even wade into water for small fish and floating carrion. It’s no wonder their range is expanding!

The Black Vulture visiting Frank’s yard appeared to be communicating with Frank. Black Vultures lack a voice box; instead of singing, one of the sounds they make is a low ruff sort of bark. Frank can imitate the bark perfectly, and the bird barks back!

Black Vulture Historic Status in Massachusetts, from Mass Audubon:

The first Black Vulture identified in Massachusetts was shot in Swampscott in November of 1850. The second appeared in Gloucester on September 28, 1863, where it, too, was killed (Howe & Allen 1901). Throughout the next century, the bird was considered an accidental straggler in Massachusetts; and, by the middle of the nineteenth century, the species was on the move from its deep Southern roots, breeding in southern Maryland for the first time in 1922 (Court 1924) and in Pennsylvania by 1952 (Brauning 1992).

If you see Cape Ann’s Black Vulture hanging around your property, please let me know at kimsmithdesigns@hotmail.com. Thank you so much!

Comparing Black Vulture to Turkey Vulture

Black Vulture Range Map

TUBYLETTES BASKING

As was everyone else, the Harbor Seals were enjoying Tuesday’s 50 degree weather. Much jockeying, grunting, and gnarling over prime rock-real estate was taking place. Paintings of nudes by Renoir and Botero, along with the made-up word tubylette, come to mind whenever I see these bathing beauties basking on the rocks at Brace Cove.By the time I left after sunset, there were no less than fourteen Harbor Seals hauled out on the rocks.

Spectacular Twin Lights Thacher Island Waves

The photos were taken after the storm on Tuesday morning, at dead low tide, standing almost to Salt Island and looking toward Thacher Island. I don’t recall ever seeing such enormous waves at low tide and will stay tuned in the future. Look for the surfer’s head in the waves 🙂

Brant Battle Royale

King of the Mountain

Brants are monogamous and juvenile Brants typically stay with the parents until their first spring, most likely to learn migrations routes. Whether this was a battle between family members or between competing families I am not sure. From previous observations, Brants mostly feed together amicably, so it was surprising to see this extended battle for the best feeding platform.

Enjoy the Brants while they are here on our shores, most leave during the moth of April.

GLOUCESTER MARCH NOR’EASTERS STORM COVERAGE 2018

Covering storms back to back, I didn’t have time to post on both Good Morning Gloucester and on my blog. The following are links to storm posts from the region’s three March nor’easters, beginning on March 2nd.

LIVE FROM ATLANTIC ROAD WITH HUGE WAVES THREE HOURS BEFORE HIGH TIDE

LITTLE RED SHED NO MORE

BANGERS, CRASHERS, COASTAL FLOODING, BEACON MARINE BASIN, PIRATE’S LANE, AND THE GOOD HARBOR BEACH FOOTBRIDGE BOMBOGENESIS RILEY NOR’EASTER #GLOUCESTERMA

#GLOUCESTERMA RILEY STORM DAMAGE ATLANTIC ROAD PASS AT OWN RISK, GOOD HARBOR BEACH FOOTBRIDGE DAMAGE, PHOTOGRAPHERS WITH DEATH WISH, CHURNING SEAS, YOU WANTED TO BUILD A HOUSE WHERE?, AND THE THIRD SUPER HIGH TIDE ON THE WAY

#GLOUCESTERMA RILEY STORM DAMAGE MORNING AFTER, EASTERN POINT ROAD IMPASSABLE DUE TO STROM SURGE, CLEAN-UP BEGINS, HUGE SHOUT OUT TO GLOUCESTER’S DPW AND POLICE OFFICERS, GOOD HARBOR BEACH FOOTBRIDGE IN THE EMBANKMENT

DOWNED PHONE POLE AT THE ELKS BASS ROCKS #GLOUCESTERMA RILEY NOR’EASTER

BREAKING: BRACE COVE-NILES POND CAUSEWAY ANNIHILATED, NILES POND FLOODING #GLOUCESTERMA NOR’EASTER RILEY

BREAKING: EASTERN POINT LIGHTHOUSE ROAD WASHED AWAY AND PARKING LOT LITTERED WITH STORM SURGE DEBRIS; DO NOT DRIVE DOWN, NOWHERE TO TURN AROUND! #GLOUCESTERMA NOR’EASTER RILEY

DISASTER AT PEBBLE BEACH #ROCKPORTMA MARCH STORM NOR’EASTER RILEY

BEFORE AND AFTER ATLANTIC ROAD ESTATE MARCH NOR’EASTER STORM RILEY 

ATLANTIC OCEAN WAVE WATCHING -EXPLODERS, BANGERS, ROLLERS, CRASHERS, AND SONIC BOOMERS – #GLOUCESTEMA #ROCKPORTMA MARCH NOR’ESTER STORM RILEY 

CLEAR EVIDENCE OF THE DESTRUCTIVE FORCE OF GLOBAL WARMING ON THE MASSACHUSETTS COASTLINE AND HOW THIS NEGATIVELY IMPACTS LOCAL WILDLIFE 

NILES POND BRACE COVE RESTORATION UNDERWAY 2018 #GLOUCESTERMA NOR’EASTER STORM RILEY

SHORING UP THE NILES POND-BRACE COVE CAUSEWAY BEFORE THE NEXT NOR’EASTER (ARRIVING TONIGHT)

MARCH NOR’EASTER #GLOUCESTER MA ATLANTIC OCEAN EXPLODING WAVES, SPINDRIFTS, AND THE PRICE TO PAY

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bf7CK96lzfT/

BEAUTIFUL BRANTS, SCAUPS, AND RING-NECKED DUCKS MIGRATING RIGHT NOW ON OUR SHORES!

The northward avian migration is heating up! The following are just three of the fascinating species of wild birds readily seen at this time of year, found all around Cape Ann. Look for Brants, Scaups, and Ring-necked Ducks at coves, bays, ponds, quarries, and marshes.

Currently migrating along Cape Ann’s shoreline is a beautiful brigade of Brant Geese. They usually turn up at about this time of year, late winter through early spring, and I have been looking for them in all the usual places. Brants thrive in Cape Ann coves, devouring sea lettuce while riding the incoming and outgoing waves. I see them eating and pecking for food atop barnacle-crusted rocks and am not sure if they are eating seaweed caught on the rocks or tiny crustaceans.

Brants eating bright green sea lettuce.

In the 1930s a terrible disease devastated eel grass and the Brant population plummeted. Surviving Brants adapted to sea lettuce and as the eel grass recovered, so too is the population of Brants recovering.

Brants are wonderfully vocal, making a funny “cronk” sound. I was walking past a flock of geese off in the distance and wasn’t paying much attention. Thinking they were Canada Geese, I ignored them until hearing their vigorous cronking.

They fight with each too, over rocks and food. Tomorrow if I can find the time I will try to post photos that I took of a Brant scuffle.

Brants feeding on the rocks are knocked off by the incoming tide, but then quickly get right back up again.

Brants migrate the furthest north of any species of goose, as far north as Hedwig territory.

Two Males and a Female Greater Scaup

The Greater Scaup breeds as far north as Snowy Owls and Brant Geese, and Ring-necked Ducks are also passing through, not traveling quite as far, but on their way to the Alaskan and Canadian boreal forests. Greater Scaups travel in flocks, sometimes forming rafts of thousands. You can see why in the photos Greater Scaups are colloquially called Bluebills.

Three male Greater Scaups and a Red-breasted Merganser

The most significant threat to Greater Scaups is habitat loss, oil, and sewage pollution. Nearly eighty percent winter over in the Atlantic Flyway where they are subjected to heavy metals in foods and habitat.

So many suitors! Lone female Ring-necked Duck with potential mates.

The two species are closely related (Aythya collaris and Atythya marila); both are small diving ducks and both are vulnerable to becoming poisoned by lead from diving for food and incidentally eating the lead shot and lures that continues to cause problems in our wetlands.

READ MORE HERE Continue reading

A Glorious Good Morning To You!

Twin Lights Thacher Island Sunrise