Red Ten

Gloucester Harbor foggy morning.

RATS!

Gloucester’s Animal Advisory Committee recently sponsored an informative presentation by Gary Menin, director of the Massachusetts chapter of the organization R.A.T.S. (Raptors Are The Solution). Gary presented a talk with accompanying slides on the catastrophic effects of rodenticides on owls, hawks, falcons, eagles, and other birds of prey.

Gloucester is a waterfront community and as such, we will most assuredly always have a rat population.  As has been pointed out dozens of times at the AAC meetings, improper handling of garbage is one of our number one problems. Garbage bags not contained in cans that are placed on city streets the night before trash collection attracts and provides food for coyotes, gulls, crows, and rats. Dumpsters not properly closed and maintained also support rats, gulls, crows, and coyotes, as do overflowing beach barrels.

Although second generation rodenticides are banned, exterminators are still allowed to use them. Gary reminded us however that YOU are the client. If all else fails and an exterminator must be hired, tell them not to use rodenticide under any circumstance.

Firstly, if we better manage our trash, we can greatly shrink the nuisance critter population. Additionally, Gary provided an excellent list of alternatives to rodenticides.

1). Snap traps

2). Ultrasonic waves

3). Electrocuting traps

4). Live trap and relocate

5). Dry ice pellets placed at hole entryways

6). Moth balls and peppermint oil as a repellent

7). Goodnature A24 Rat Trap

Under no circumstances are glue traps recommended as they are an unusually cruel method of extermination.

As we have talked about many times on Good Morning Gloucester, the White-footed Mouse and the Chipmunk are the greatest vectors of Lyme disease. Raptors play a vital rope in controlling mice, chipmunks, and other small rodent populations and have proven to be an important link in the fight against Lyme disease.

Gary also mentioned that the city of Revere recently purchased rat-proof garbage cans that every member of the community is mandated to use. The local governing body was fed up with the proliferation of rats because of flimsy trash bags, overflowing barrels, and careless disposal of garbage. You can read more about Revere’s new barrels here: Revere Looks to Put Lid on Rat Problem.

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We can also purchase or build our own owl nest box. With a quick google search you can find tons of DIY videos, plans, and directions online such as this one for a Screech Owl house.

Screech Owl House Plans

Every year we hear Screech Owls in our neighborhood, close-by, and I’m inspired to build an owl house after hearing Gary’s presentation!

Last winter Hedwig was seen with almost clock-work regularity departing nightly for her evening hunt. An adult Snowy Owl feeds on average three to five times per day.

The food web graphics provided by R.A.T.S. are terrific and are free and downloadable for anyone’s use.

A Whale of a Tail

“Dive Deep Within” – Goetemann artist Deborah Redwood’s sculpture at the Paint Factory

Don’t you love the scale of Deborah’s piece? Much like Gloucester’s most beloved statues, the “Fishermen’s Wives Memorial,” “Man at the Wheel,” and “Joan of Arc,” “Dive Deep Within” is built to a very human scale and blends beautifully with the environment. “Dive Deep Within” is a statement, but does not try to compete with or dominate the surrounding landscape. Read more about Deborah’s piece here:

Deborah Redwood

and visit her website here: https://www.deborahredwood.com/

When I look at the subtle artistry of “Dive Deep Within,” I am reminded of the humungous abrasive metal sculpture that our community has been highly pressurized to accept, to not only find a suitable location for its installation, but to pay for its fabrication as well. One suggested site was the tiny narrow strip of green grass on the Rocky Neck causeway. When that location was wholeheartedly rejected, the next attempt was to locate the sculpture at the beautiful, but again very small, Solomon Jacob’s Park. This suggestion was especially nonsensical because the Solomon Jacob Park was specifically designed to be an open window to the working waterfront.

Monumentally large sculptures like that perhaps look best when sited in vast open spaces, a midwestern prairie or on a farm field; at a similar place where from the artist has made his home for most of his life, rather than Gloucester’s stunning waterfront.

Greatly appreciating the scale and intention of Deborah Redwood’s “Dive Deep Within”

Home Stretch

Hello Friends,

If I have been slow to respond to emails, comments, facebook messages, photo requests, I sincerely apologize. It is because I am in the home stretch of getting all my clients decorated for the holidays and their gardens ready for winter. Beginning this coming Monday, knock wood, I can turn all my attention to films, friends, photos, programs, and book projects. See you soon 🙂

A few more snapshots from November’s full Frost Moon rising over Niles Pond 

If you click on the photo to embiggen, you can see craters in the moon’s surface, especially on the left side .

Beautiful birch tree at Niles Pond

November Frost Moon over Niles Pond

GREAT BLUE HERON TAKING FLIGHT

Contemplating taking flight, the perching juvenile Great Blue Heron moved its feet slowly, while turning to face the shore, then gracefully lifted its wings and departed, with a very loud and un-elegant QWOCK. 

No signs of any Great Blue Herons since the big Thanksgiving Day freeze. Two days into the frigid temperatures, the last one observed appeared very unhappy. The unfrozen bits of water were too cold to forage. He seemed so cold, wasn’t fishing at all, and was only standing on the shore, in the glummest manner. I urged him onward, worried his frozen self might look tempting to a coyote, and hope perhaps he departed under the brilliant light of the full November Frost Moon.

Golden Sea Smoke

Friday morning after the moon descended over the city skyline I then caught the sun rising at Brace Cove. Frozen fingers kept me from staying out and photographing for very long, but it was all so magical to see.

“MOM, I’M TURNING INTO A BUTTERFLY!”

Nicole Duckworth shares a moment from her wonderfully fun household–never a dull moment with four kids– two teenagers and two toddlers!

Nicole’s son Jude this morning, “Mom, I’m turning into a butterfly.”  

Jude this summer when he and his brother George stopped by to visit and see the caterpillars and butterflies from our garden.