You Didn’t Actually Think I’d Want to Live in That Dump Did You?

Dad Piping Plover spends considerable time showing Mom how good he is at nest-building.

Mom nonchalantly makes her way over to the nest scrape.

She thoroughly inspects the potential nest.

Dad again rearranges the sand. Mom pipes in, “Honey, i think I’d prefer that mound of dried seaweed over there, nearer the blades of seagrass. And can you please add a few seashells to the next one, rather than bits of old kelp.”

Rejected!

Here we go again!

Five Piping Plovers have been observed at Good Harbor Beach. They are battling over territory and beginning to pair up. The male builds perhaps a dozen nests scrapes in a single day–all in hopes of impressing the female. Hopefully, within the next week, they will establish a nest; the earlier in the season Plovers begin nesting, the greater the chance of survival for the chicks.

Dave Rimmer from Essex County Greenbelt reports that although many nest scrapes have been seen, no nests with any egg on any of Gloucester’s beaches have yet been discovered. He suggests that perhaps the cooler than usual spring temperatures are slowing progress.

An active Piping Plover nest scrape, with lots of PiPl tracks 🕊

A post shared by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Not one, but two, potential nesting sites have been roped off for the Piping Plovers. The second site is near the Good Harbor Beach Inn.

 

 

 

 

Open House for the Beautiful C. B. Fisk Pipe Organs Opus 148 and Opus 150

Today’s grand open house for two new C. B. Fisk pipe organs was a joyful event, crowded with well-wishers, fans, friends, and musicians. Opus 148 will be installed at Christ Church, Cincinnati, and Opus 150 at Benjamin Franklin’s Christ Church in Philadelphia.

Listen to the music!

Morgan Faulds Pike and David Pike, C. B. Fisk Senior Vice President and Tonal Director

A wonderful treat to hear Opus 148 played by Nami and violinist Harold Byers.

Morgan Faulds Pike and David Pike, C. B. Fisk Senior Vice President and Tonal Director.

Nami Hamada, organist and organ builder, and Harold Byers, former violinist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Chair of the Music Committee at Christ Church.

Greg Bover speaking about Opus 148

Thibaut Lenfant and Rick Isaacs

Sarah Tuvim helped restore the exterior case of Opus 150

Morgan’s brother, Tom Faulds, and friend Carole Crowther

Scale model of Opus 148. Morgan Faulds Pike, sculptress of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Memorial, carved the oak angels and panels for Opus 148. See more here.

Angel detail for Opus 148

Opus 150 and scale model

 

GOOD HARBOR GOOD MORNING! Featuring Twin Lights, Two Lovers, a Photographer, and Sunrise

Gorgeous good morning, from GHB.

Butterfly Blue

One of the teeniest butterflies you’ll see at this time of year is the Spring Azure, with a wing to wing span of less than one inch. Found in meadows, fields, gardens, and along the forest edge, the celestial blue flakes pause to drink nectar from clover, Quaker Ladies, crabapples, dandelions, and whatever tiny floret strikes her fancy.

You can find the Azures flitting about Crabapple blossoms.

Native wildflowers Quaker Ladies, also called Bluets, are an early season source of nectar for Azures.

If you’d like to attract these spring beauties to your garden, plant native flowering dogwood * (Cornus florida), blueberries, and viburnums; all three are caterpillar food plants of the beautiful Spring Azure Butterfly.

The female butterfly curls her abdomen around in a C-shape and deposits eggs amongst the yellow florets of the flowering dogwood. Pink or white, both are equally attractive to the Spring Azure.

Cornus florida ‘rubra’

*Only our native flowering dogwood, Cornus florida, is a caterpillar food plant for Azure butterflies. Don’t bother substituting the non-native Korean Dogwood, it won’t help the pollinators.

Native Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) at Willowdale Estate Butterfly Garden

Winsome Willets

A Plain Jane, resting on a tuft of grass at the marsh edge, backlit, I at first thought she was a stone. A slight turn of the head and upon closer look, not a stone but a very large shorebird, with feathers worn in a subdued arrangement of brown and white—still, nothing special. Then she began to unfold her long elegant wings. Boldly barred in chocolate brown, this Plain Jane was swiftly transformed to Beauty Queen.

Willets are one of the few shorebirds that nest not in the Arctic tundra, but prairie and salt marshes of America and Canada. For over one hundred years Willets were hunted to non-existence in Massachusetts. Biologists have a name for this tragic occurrence, when a species is not extinct, but is no longer present in an area, and the term is extirpated. Because of the Migratory Bird Act of 1918, the Willet population is increasing and the Massachusetts coastline has once again become a safe home for these beautiful members of the sandpiper family.

Belonging to the same genus as yellowlegs, they do look similar to Greater Yellowlegs, but are comparatively larger, their beaks are thicker, and their legs are not yellow but gray. Look for Willets on beaches, marshes, mudflats, and rocky coasts. They forage on crabs and other small crustaceans, worms, mollusks, fish, and grass. The call of the Willet is unmistakable, piercing and urgent and their name comes from the ringing “pill-will-willet.”

 

PIPING PLOVERS COURTING ON GOOD HARBOR BEACH!!

The Piping Plovers have returned to nest on Good Harbor Beach. Last night I counted five plovers, and today four!

Above the wrack line, males are creating nest scrapes for females to approve (or disapprove, as is often the case). The gents use their back legs to vigorously dig a slight depression. They then sit in the scrape and beckon to the ladies with a continuous piping call to come inspect the potential nesting site.

Dave Rimmer, Essex County Greenbelt director of land stewardship, this morning installed fencing around a possible nesting area. We are all hoping that the Piping Plovers will quickly establish a nest and the chicks will have hatched before the July 4th crowds descend upon the beach. Dave’s message to everyone enjoying GHB is that if the Plovers are left undisturbed, the chicks will have a far better chance of survival the earlier in the season they hatch. If the nest site is continually disturbed and egg laying is delayed again and again, the Plovers will be here all that much longer.

It’s not easy being a Piping Plover. Rest time between foraging and courting.

The Plovers have traveled many thousands of miles to reach our shores and are both weary from traveling and eager to establish nesting sites.

What can you do to help the Piping Plovers? Here are four simple things we can all do to protect the Plovers.

1) Don’t leave behind or bury trash or food on the beach. All garbage attracts predators such as crows, seagulls, foxes, and coyotes, and all four of these creatures EAT plover eggs and chicks.

2) Do not linger near the Piping Plovers or their nests. Activity around the Plovers also attracts gulls and crows.

3) Respect the fenced off areas that are created to protect the Plovers.

4) If pets are permitted, keep dogs leashed.

The last is the most difficult for folks to understand. Dogs threaten Piping Plovers in many ways and at every stage of their life cycle during breeding season, even the most adorable and well-behaved of pooches.

Dogs love to chase Piping Plovers (and other shorebirds) at the water’s edge. After traveling all those thousand of miles, the birds need sustenance. They are at the shoreline to feed to regain their strength.

Dogs love to chase piping Plovers at the wrack line. Here the birds are establishing where to nest. Plovers are skittish at this stage of breeding and will depart the area when disturbed.

Dogs love to chase Piping Plover chicks, which not only terrifies the adult Plovers and distracts them from minding the babies, but the chicks are easily squished by a dog on the run.

 

How to Make a Super Fun and Cuddly Baby Bandana Quilt

While looking for bandanas to make Charlotte, our baby granddaughter-on-the-way, a bandana baby quilt, I came across wonderfully whimsical animal inspired navy and white bandanas at J.Crew. The elephant bandana has little elephant heads in the corners and the whale bandana has an overall pattern that includes fishes, anchors, and a compass rose. The bandanas are printed on an ultra soft, almost batiste-like quality cotton fabric. Recalling that newborns can mostly only see black and white for the first three months, and that the J.Crew designs are so charming, I abandoned the pink idea and went for blue and white. And, a portion of the sale from the bandanas goes to support wildlife foundations.

Directions

1) Prewash bandanas, cotton batting, and backing fabric. Press.

2) Stitch together the four bandanas. Bandanas are not a woven design and oftentimes are not printed on the square perfectly. You have to fudge it a little and not be too fussy at this stage.

3) Press the bandana quilt top seams flat. Place the quilt top over cotton quilt batting. Pin or baste the batting in place. Trim batting close to quilt top edge.

4) Place quilt top and batting unit on top of cotton backing. Pin or baste through all three layers to keep in place. Trim to neaten edges.

5) Cut 4 bias strips, in desired width, in backing fabric, the length of each edge, plus two inches. I like to cut my bias strips 2 and 7/8 wide inches for binding a quilt. Fold bias strips in half and press.

6) Stitch one bias strip to the right side of the quilt, along one length. Turn to the wrong side and slip stitch in place. Trim ends of bias binding. Apply same instructions to the opposite length of the quilt.

7) Follow #6 for the two remaining lengths, neatly tucking in the ends.

8) With embroidery floss, knot the quilt through all three layers, approximately every 4.5 inches.

Wrapped and ready for cuddling!